HC Deb 09 March 1937 vol 321 cc962-4
64. Mr. Day

asked the President of the Board of Trade what changes have taken place during the previous three years in the composition of the advisory committee appointed under the Cinematograph Films Act, 1927; and when the appointments of the present members terminate?

Mr. Runciman

During the period named two changes have occurred among the independent members of the committee, and one among the representatives of film exhibitors. Existing appointments have been made until January, 1938.

Mr. Day

Were the trade representatives consulted before these appointments were made?

Mr. Runciman

No, Sir. We choose the best persons we can obtain.

65. Mr. Day

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will announce the intentions of the Government in regard to the establishment in Great Britain of the multi-lingual film industry; and whether it is proposed to introduce legislation to give effect to the same?

Mr. Runciman

I am not clear what industry the hon. Member has in mind, nor why it is necessary for the Government to pass legislation for it to make a start.

Mr. Day

Will the right hon. Gentleman have this question considered before the Cinematograph Films Act, 1927, is amended?

69. Sir Arnold Wilson

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that an agreement has been made between Gaumont-British, Limited, the leading film company in the country, and General Film Distributors, Limited, which involves the closing down of important British studios, the extinction of the productive and distributive organisations of Gaumont-British, Limited, and consequent widespread unemployment of trained British technicians, and that the decision to take these steps was strongly opposed by four out of nine members of the board of Gaumont-British, Limited; and what action, if any, he proposes to take?

Mr. Runciman

My attention has been called 'to Press reports of the agreement to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers. I have no power to interfere in the internal affairs of these companies.

70. Sir A. Wilson

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the management of Gaumont-British, Limited, is in the hands of three persons, one of whom is an unnaturalised alien, and that their holding of 5,000, nominal, of voting shares in the Metropolis and Bradford Trust enables them to control share and loan capital in Gaumont-British, Limited, totalling nearly £12,000,000; and whether, in these circumstances, he will consider the advisability of taking power to dissolve the Metropolis and Bradford Trust in order to restore control of Gaumont-British, Limited, to the British shareholders who are anxious to co-operate with American producers in making the film industry in this country efficient?

Mr. Runciman

According to the most recent documents filed with the Registrar of Companies, the directorate of Gaumont-British Picture Corporation, Limited, consists of 12 persons, of whom 10 are of British and two of United States nationality. Three of these persons (all British subjects) hold a controlling interest in Metropolis and Bradford Trust Company, Limited. As regards the last part of the question, I am not prepared to initiate the special legislation suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend.

Sir A. Wilson

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that British interests as apart from those of the shareholders are being watched by his Department?

Mr. Denville

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any reason why the offer made by Ostrer Brothers was turned down by the President of the Board of Trade?

Mr. Runciman

I could not answer that question without notice.