§ 9.45 p.m.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Glenvil Hall)
I beg to move,That the Additional Import Duties (No. 2) Order, 1947 (S.R. & O., 1947, No. 1690), dated 6th August, 1947, made by the Treasury under the Import Duties Act, 1932, a copy of which Order was presented on 8th August, be approved.There are two other Motions on the Order Paper in the name of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They are,That the Additional Import Duties (No. 3) Order, 1947 (S.R. & O., 1947, No. 1694), dated 7th August, 1947, made by the Treasury under the Import Duties Act, 1932, a copy of which Order was presented on 13th August, be approved.That the Additional Import Duties (No. 4) Order, 1947 (S.R. & O., 1947, No. 2291), dated 28th October, 1947, made by the Treasury under the Import Duties Act, 1932, a copy of which Order was presented on 30th October, be approved.These three orders, taken together, impose a Customs Duty of 75 per cent. on the value of all non-United Kingdom films registered under the Cinematograph Films Act, 1938, imported into this country after 7th August last. The definition of what is a United Kingdom film will be found in paragraph 4 of the main order which I am moving tonight. It will there be seen that a United Kingdom film can be made abroad and still be rated as a United Kingdom film. Only what are called feature films will be liable to the duty of 75 per cent., and then only if they are registered. This new duty, therefore, will not affect newsreels, a certain number of educational films, and commercial advertising films. The three orders were foreshadowed by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in a Debate on the Adjournment which dealt with the present economic situation, held shortly before we rose for the Summer Recess. He then indicated that it would be necessary, in view of the present shortage of dollars, to impose a Customs Duty of 75 per cent. upon the import of films, in particular American films.
§ Mr. Osbert Peake (Leeds, North)
I do not want to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but paragraph 3 of the main order, as I understand it, imposes a duty of 300 per cent. ad valorem.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I will, if I may, deal with that presently. It is true that the order would appear to place an ad valorem duty of 300 per cent. on the value of imported films, but that is, phraseology which the Customs use and which, as I hope to show presently, is the correct way of putting it; but it does mean that only 75 per cent. of the value of a film imported from overseas will, in fact, be taken under this particular order. The House will remember that as a result of what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced, a new Clause (now Section 7) was moved to the Finance Act of this year. We then had a Debate on this matter, and it is my hope that that Debate will be fresh in the minds of Members in all quarters of the House, and that, as a result, we shall be able to shorten our Debate tonight.
I would, however, remind the House of the reason why this imposition has been laid. It is, as is freely admitted, a very high and heavy duty. I want to make it clear that neither is it intended to obtain additional revenue, nor is it an aggressive act against Hollywood in the interests of our own British film industry. The step has been taken simply and solely because the country cannot afford to allocate the dollars necessary to pay for the exhibition of American films in this country at the present time. This duty applies not only to films coming in from America and other overseas countries. It applies also to the Commonwealth countries and the countries within the sterling area. The existing Empire preference of 5d. per foot, which the Dominions at present enjoy, will continue to be enjoyed by them, but nothing more; apart from that they will suffer in so far as they send films here, the same duty of 75 per cent. as Hollywood.
The dollar cost of films has gone up since before war. In the last three prewar years, the amount spent by this country in dollars in payment for films coming in from Hollywood was in the region of £7 million. In 1946–47 it had gone up to something between £17 and £18 million. As the House is aware, we have made a number of cuts in imports from hard currency countries because of the shortage of dollars. Those cuts have had to be imposed in the light of the existing situation, and we have had to make a cut of at least £12 million per 1465 month in imports of food from hard currency countries. That being so, if in this drastic fashion we are cutting food, which is an essential to the life of the country, it is impossible to continue importing films and allowing a drain upon our dollar resources to the extent of £17 or £18 million per year.
Contrary to the view held in some quarters, Duties have been imposed on films for over 30 years. They began with what were known as the McKenna duties, and they have continued from that time until now. The new Duty, of course, is very much heavier, and is based on a rather different conception. Under the original Duties, which existed up to 7th August, the Duty was levied on the footage of a film coming in. Here, we are levying the new Duty on the actual value of the film.
§ Mr. Beverley Baxter (Wood Green)
How do the Government arrive at the value of a film before it is shown here?
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I do not want to speak for too long. I am making this statement partly because I understood there was some desire to have this order explained, albeit briefly. If the hon. Member will allow me to continue, presently I will explain how we arrive at the value of a film.
The general basis of the valuation of goods for duty in this country is the price which those goods would fetch in the open market at the time of importation, subject, of course, to various conditions which are prescribed, such as the duties to be paid, and so on. Up to now, the difficulty with films has been to know the value of a film coming in, at that particular moment in its journey, because, as the House knows, it is not normal for films to be sold outright. As the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Baxter) knows only too well, they come here, are rented and shown, and the proceeds of rental, after deduction of expenses, are remitted to the United States 01 to the particular country of origin. Therefore, here we have somehow to appraise the value of a film coming in, which we can only do by making in the first instance a guess as to what that film will fetch upon its showing in this country. The order, therefore, provides for a valuation of that kind. We believe that we shall be able to meet the importers of films by 1466 making a fairly shrewd guess as to what the value of that film will be.
The machinery set up will be that we shall accept a deposit on its estimated value, and then later on, when the full facts are known and the run of the film here is finished, we shall be able to see whether our estimate has been a correct one, and it can be adjusted up or down as the case may be.
I was asked to explain why, if the duty is only 75 per cent it is expressed in paragraph 3 as being 300 per cent. of the value. Perhaps I can best explain this—and if is not easy to explain, because the Customs have had some difficulty in explaining it even to the trade—by giving a concrete example. Let me assume that a film would gross £10,000 in this country. Certain allowances are granted to the importer up to a maximum of 30 per cent. to cover the costs, charges and profits that will fall upon that film relating to its showing in this country. Thirty per cent. of £10,000 is £3,000, which leaves a net revenue for the particular film of £7,000. The notional importer of this particular film will say that on this £7,000 net he will have to pay 75 per cent. duty; that is, £5,250. Therefore, he will say to the person from whom he buys the film, "I can offer only £1,750, because to me that is its import value." The House will see how we arrive at this figure. Three hundred per cent. of the import value of £1,750 is £5,250, and £5,250 and £1,750 added together make up the £7,000 net which will be estimated to accrue from the showing of this picture.
I wish to emphasise that this duty is based upon a reasonable method of valuing a picture, and is not, as some members of the American industry have sought to show, a tax on royalties or remittances and, therefore, contrary to the double-taxation agreement with the United States, which hon. Members will remember we put through a year or 18 months ago. As to its enforcement, provisions are made in the order for the Customs first of all to accept a deposit, and once a deposit has been paid, to register the film for public exhibition in the United Kingdom. Paragraph 9 deals with this, and with the steps which are open to the Customs if any importer or other individual connected with the film should seek to try and evade payments. One suggestion which has been 1467 made is that it would be possible for this tax to be passed on to the renter or exhibitor, and eventually to the public. There is nothing in any of these orders which in itself would prevent that, but the Board of Trade have ample powers, under their price-fixing regulations, to step in if any attempt of that kind were made, and to see that the existing prices are not raised. I should like to say, on behalf of the Government, that the Board of Trade will not hesitate, if they find prices are going up and there is an attempt to pass this tax on to the public, to stabilise rentals at their present levels.
I will not go through the main order, because I and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade will be ready to try to answer any questions which may arise on an individual paragraph. I should perhaps indicate why it has been found necessary to introduce two other short orders. The second order, No. 1694, is to correct an omission in the original order by the insertion of the words:and has not been wholly or partly refundedafter the words:On which Customs duty has been paid thereunder at a rate higher than the rate for the film if still unexposed.in the proviso to Article 4.
The object here is to prevent the importer of Empire films from avoiding payment of the higher duty by importing a film, paying an advance on it, exporting it again, and then re-importing it as a duplicate which would come in at the nominal rate of a penny a foot. Therefore, as an Empire importer, he would get away with a film at a third of a penny per foot instead of 300 per cent. ad valorem duty less five pence per foot Imperial preference.
The third order, No. 2291, is also to stop up a loophole. The main order continues, with modifications, the 1939 provisions under which a single copy of a film would come in at the rate of a penny per foot. This provision, as hon. Members will remember, was put in largely to enable French films to come in. Foreign language films coming in are undoubtedly at a disadvantage against films coming in in English, and it was found that 5d. per foot charged under the 1939 duty was too much for the 1468 French industry to bear. We all welcome French films when they come, and whenever we can go to see them. Provisions to allow films of that kind to come in are included under this order, and it would appear that unless we passed the third of these orders it would be possible for an American film to come in, in the same way, by single copy, pay only a penny per foot for it to be shown in the West End and, perhaps, in the provinces, and, when completely worn out, for a second copy to come in under the same terms. That, of course, would make a complete farce of this order and' this duty, and we desire, as I am sure the House desires, to stop up that loophole.
Finally, what is likely to be the effect of this duty on the Revenue and on British cinemas generally? First as to the Revenue. I know that the hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) is interested in this, and I believe that he has a Question down to the Chancellor of the Exchequer tomorrow. Perhaps what I am about to say now may cause him to take his Question off the Order Paper, and I hope that I can satisfy him, so far as it is possible ever to satisfy the hon. Gentleman. It is impossible to forecast what effect this new duty will have on the Revenue. It could have an effect on the Entertainments Duty which at present, from the cinemas, runs to something like £42 million a year. It could possibly reduce that Revenue, and it may also have some effect on the profits of individual exhibitors and renters and they will pay less Income Tax and Profits Tax in the immediate years that lie ahead; but it is quite impossible for us to know whether that will be so, and I am sure the House will not expect me tonight to make an estimate as to what that will be.
§ Mr. Brendan Bracken (Bournemouth)
For the sake of accuracy, as the lawyers say, would it not be right for the right hon. Gentleman to explain that there is a very large stock of American films in this country on which none of these duties is going to be paid?
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
It is amazing how great minds think alike. I was about to go on and make the very point which the right hon. Gentleman has now made with such clarity. There is a fairly large stock of American films still in this country, and so far as it can be estimated it is presumed 1469 that they will last for at least six months. Many think they will last for nine, and others more optimistically think that they will go on for 12 months. Therefore, with British films now about to be shown—I believe there are five premieres occurring in this present month—and with the American films in this country which can be re-issued, it would appear that the cinemas in this country will find pictures for their screens for anything up to 12 months.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
My hon. Friend the Member for West Nottingham (Mr. O'Brien) says "nonsense." No doubt he is an expert in these matters and when he comes to speak he will be able to explain why and where I am wrong. British films are second to none in the world. There was a time when they were nothing like so good as the best Hollywood films, but now they are technically equal to anything that comes out of Hollywood, and as for their contents, they are streets and streets ahead of Hollywood. There is no doubt about that.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
The best British films are certainly more satisfying from most points of view than are the ones we get from America. What this country lacks at the present moment is numbers. While these are good films, we have not got the numbers necessary if the cinemas are to have a change of programme week by week; certainly not if the cinemas are to have a change, as some of them try to do, twice a week. Therefore, I am glad that more and more are being made this year than were made last year. If this work of producing new British films can be speeded up—and what is equally important, their costs reduced—the industry may weather the present difficulties, and the difficulties that may fall upon it in the next 12 months will do little damage. In fact, the industry may emerge stronger than it was before.
I am told that the present temper of the American film industry is not to attempt to import films into this country so long as the new duty exists. We would all regret that because, as I said earlier in my speech, this imposition is not one which we would put on lightly. It has 1470 not been introduced with any penal purpose; but because of the dire need of this country to save dollars. It may be that, if Hollywood persists in this view, the time will come when the British cinemagoer will have forgotten all the favourite American stars that he now knows, and Hollywood will find it has to start rebuilding its prestige and popularity in this country anew. The British cinemagoer has not, so far as I know, made any great outcry at the possible risk of losing American films under this duty. That lesson will not, I hope, be lost on the American producers.
It is possible for the people of this country to lose their taste for American films, which is the last thing that the Hollywood producers want; nor do we desire it. All of us have enjoyed American films and we all hope to enjoy them in the days to come. For that reason we would welcome a settlement of the difficulty, which has undoubtedly arisen between this country and the American film industry. But to be acceptable—and I should make this quite clear—any settlement which is negotiated must give a dollar-saving equivalent to the eventual saving expected from the duty. Whether this can be achieved by a greater showing in the United States of British films—and up to now a proper showing has been denied to our best films, although we have not squealed about it—to compensate, by a flow of revenue the other way, for the expenditure of dollars by this country, or whether there can be some form of barter, if I may use that word, whereby an exchange of pictures can take place, is not for me to say now. But I will say, in conclusion, that I welcome the fact that the American moving picture industry is sending a deputation to this country to discuss with the Treasury the possibilities of a solution acceptable to both sides. I can assure the House, and the country, that the Treasury will go into these negotiations with the utmost sympathy, with a great desire to be reasonable, and that within the limits I have mentioned, namely, that we must save dollars, we are willing to meet the American film industry more than half way.
§ Mr. Benn Levy (Eton and Slough)
When re-adjustment takes place, when the life of the film is finished, can my right hon. Friend say how it will be decided that the life of the film has finished?
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
That will depend on the two sides to the transaction. The Customs will keep an eye on these things, and when it is found that revenue no longer flows from a film—in other words when it has gone round the circuit—
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
If the film is already in this country, and has paid its 300 per cent. ad valorem duty, it can be reissued. Money flowing from it is bound to go out some time to the American owner of the film rights, and at that stage any additional duty which comes in will be collected.
§ 10.13 p.m.
§ Sir Waldron Smithers (Orpington)
The Financial Secretary always presents his case so nicely, in contrast to many other of his colleagues on the Front Bench, that it is not easy to "have a go at him"; but I am sure he will not mind my saying that the introduction of this order is, as he said, a question of dire need. Its introduction has been caused by the dire necessity of the dreadful situation in which we find ourselves today, caused mainly by the policy and incompetence of the present Government during the last two years.
I have one or two points to make, and one or two questions to ask, and I hope the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade will take note of them. I am advised that the introduction of the order will affect a very large number of people in what is now a very big industry. Paragraph 3 of the order speaks of 300 per cent. of the value of the films. The Financial Secretary has explained why 300 is the same as 75 per cent. I wish that the Treasury and the Parliamentary draftsmen would put the proposals of the Government into intelligible English so that the ordinary man in the street could understand them. I will stick to the terms of the order and say "300 per cent." I am afraid that because of this 300 per cent. duty America has suspended shipments of films to this country. Will the Financial Secretary be good enough to give me answers to several questions? Will he also take a note of them?
What steps are being taken to keep British cinemas open and to help the British film industry? I am told that the bottleneck to the production of sufficient 1472 films to keep cinemas open is studio space. Is it a fact that the Government are prepared to grant licences up to a value of £9 millions until 1950 for the erection and extension of film studios? It is right and fair to the industry to give direct replies to these questions, so that the industry may know where they are, and decide what plans they should make for their future. Is it a fact that the Board of Trade propose to use some of the cinemas, which I am afraid will be put out of business, as store-houses for films awaiting export? I was sorry to hear that more power is to be given to the economic dictator of the country, the Minister for Economic Affairs, to decide what should be done if anyone should try to pass the charges on to the public. That is, again, interfering with the free play of supply and demand. If the public will not come and pay for these films, then the film companies have to close down.
I had a Question down, which the Financial Secretary has partly answered. I want the Government to make it clear, if they consider the films are a luxury trade, whether they mean to suppress, or partly to suppress, the British cinema industry. If so, let them say so frankly and let them give us the best estimate they can of the extent to which the industry will close. I have very little confidence in this Government, but may I ask them to give a definite assurance upon another point? Do they intend by the introduction of this order to reduce the film industry of Britain to a state of bankruptcy, to buy it up cheap and then to nationalise the film industry of Britain? Will they also tell me if, in the event of nationalisation, it is proposed to appoint a gentleman called Mr. Giudice—[Interruption]—these are very serious questions, and the industry would like to know where it is—as the film commissar of Britain, and, if so, what are his qualifications and what is his nationality or country of origin? If it is the intention of the Government to nationalise the industry, will they give an assurance that they will not begin controlling the industry as they were going to control the Press by unnecessary restrictions on the issue of paper, and will they give an assurance that they will not have a controlled British film industry which will be the organ for Socialist and Communist propaganda?
§ 10.21 p.m.
§ Mr. O'Brien (Nottingham, West)
Much has been said about the film industry in this matter that has been very ill-informed. I recognise that hon. and right hon. Members on both sides of the House look upon the film industry from their own personal point of view rather from the point of view of their constituents It is a great temptation. We are apt to look on films, plays, concerts, music and so on according to our personal tastes, and if we do not like a show, a play or a picture, we say so. In this House we are not in that privileged capacity. We have to think not only of our own private and personal tastes but also of the people we represent. We may not like a picture, we may find fault with its technical and artistic production, but thousands of our constituents may think otherwise. As I have indicated elsewhere, the Government have not had full regard to that matter. In the order under discussion they propose certain things which, in my view and in the view of most of the informed people in the industry, will be a great disservice to the British film industry as a whole. The Financial Secretary has, rightly, taken a very suave line. He knows the facts. He knows more than he has said tonight, much more.
This is the complaint of the industry—when I say "the industry" I mean the industry substantially as a whole, including labour and the employing and management sides. When this Measure was first introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer he promised that there would be consultations with the appropriate interests, but that promise was broken. No consultations were sought or had. If the Government, the Chancellor of the Board of Trade had convened a meeting of the appropriate interests, American, British and so on, including the trade unions, we would have been able to find a solution for the Government which would bring to the Government the ends they had in view without the bitterness which has been occasioned. I know of no other industry in this country on which the Government have taken such a highhanded attitude. If they introduced such a Measure concerning cotton, steel, leather or foodstuffs, it would not be tolerated. Why should they experiment totalitarian methods with films? The film industry of this country employs 150,000 people, ranging from people earning £2 and £3 1474 a week to people earning £5,000 and £6,000 a year. It is very elastic. On no occasion did the Government consult the trade unions; they did not consult the employers, and they did not consult any section concerned with this Measure. None of us in the British film industry—and I speak for the British film industry on all sides—feels that we can send 70 million dollars a year to America for American films in these times. There is no individual in this country who can subscribe to that idea.
We realise that the country must come first and our sectional and partisan interests second, but there is a way of doing things. There is a right way of doing bad things and there is a wrong way of doing good things. The Government have been responsible for doing the right thing in a very wrong way, and our charge against the Government is that they have done the right thing in a very bad way. That goes not only for films but for many other things too If the British film industry had been taken into consultation and the American interests as well, I am confident from my knowledge of the industry that we would have been able to give the Government a complete answer to its dollar problem, but the Government have thrown a spanner into the works and created a terrific problem for our industry, probably a problem that is now above solution. I am not a playwright, I am a trade union official and a member of Parliament dealing with a certain industry. No doubt my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Harrow—[Laughter.] I beg pardon, the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Levy) is a greater expert in these matters than some of us. However, the Financial Secretary has told us that a conference will soon be held, and I am prevented from saying many things that I would otherwise say in the responsible knowledge that there is a conference soon to be held between the British and American film interests and the Treasury.
I would urge the Financial Secretary and the Board of Trade to remember that the British film industry in the years before the war was the Cinderella of industry in this country. [An HON. MEMBER: "Agriculture."] Agriculture ought to be our greatest industry, and if hon. Members on both sides of the House had had 1475 regard to that fact many years ago we might not be in the difficulty we are in today. Looking at the problem objectively, the British film industry today can earn dollars. It can earn millions of dollars. For years it has been our ambition and aim to get into the world market. It is all very well for my hon. Friends to talk about French films. There are 33 million people every week who seek their entertainment in this country from films. It is no use talking to 33 million people in terms of French films. It is no use hon. Members here forgetting that they are Members' of Parliament and thinking in terms of themselves and not of their constituents. The mass of the people of this country wish to be entertained. At the present time there is hardly any industry other than the films from which they can seek relaxation from the gloom and dreariness and drabness of life. There are selected groups of people, admittedly; there are many art societies, musical societies, play societies, but in the mass they seek relief from a particular form of entertainment which is the only solace they have.
British films, therefore, have provided that market and have been on the eve of getting into the American market. British films are the best in the world. British technicians, British actresses, British actors, British employees have all subscribed to this great adventure, they have stock in this great movement. On the very eve of this great movement, on the threshold of our getting into the great American market and the South American market, the Government have arbitrarily cut all that out by their attitude. The Financial Secretary, the Treasury, and the Board of Trade pay lip service, but why do they not encourage British films? Having decided on their policy as set out in the order and in other orders, they have not lifted one finger to assist the British film industry, either on the production or the exhibition side. They have left the British film industry to feather is own nest in its own way. [Interruption.] I say that advisedly. They have left the British film industry to seek in the nest eggs which are not there. They have left the industry to find its own studio space. Throughout this controversy neither the Board of Trade nor the Treasury has done one thing to enable British film producers, independent and circuit, 1476 technicians and labour, to do anything at all to develop the programme which is necessary. We wish to produce British films for our own market, the Dominion and the Colonial markets, and also for the American market, including the United States of America.
My grievance, and that of the British film industry, is that the Government, having decided to create an economic problem of the first magnitude, have done nothing at all to provide the remedies whereby we can survive. My prophecy is this: unless the Government do something positive as well as negative, unless they do something not only to save dollars through the medium of the British film industry, this industry which we had hoped would be an example to the world of good culture, art, entertainment and laughter, tragedy and so on, will be destroyed by the action of this Labour Government. I appeal to my right hon. Friends on the Front Bench to have regard to the positive as well as the negative side of this problem. In saving dollars we are doing the right thing, but I ask them to consult the industry, both the British and the American sides, and see whether some solution to the dollar problem cannot be found which will also secure the future prosperity of the British film industry.
§ 10.34 p.m.
§ Mr. E. P. Smith (Ashford)
I hope the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. O'Brien) will forgive me if I do not precisely follow him in his argument. I think it will be agreed in all quarters of the House that we cannot, in our present financial situation, permit the continued favourable import of Hollywood films for which we have to pay in gold dollars, also, incidentally, tax free, and that we must cut our coat according to our cloth. To that extent I am in complete agreement with what the Financial Secretary has said, but I echo what the hon. Member for West Nottingham said, namely, that there has been no proper consultation with the industry by the Government or by the Treasury. That is not in the least surprising to me, because it was about six months ago that the Chancellor of the Exchequer undertook to form a working party for the theatre out of Members of this House who are interested in the theatre. Nothing has happened. The right hon. Gentleman 1477 put that forward as, in my judgment, a deliberate pledge. I do not want to say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a stranger to truth; but I wish they were better acquainted. My hon. Friend the Member for West Nottingham said that he thought that the Government had laid some eggs which were not there. We on this side of the House do not regard that as in any way an extraordinary phenomenon.
I want to put a series of questions to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade and to ask him, first of all, this: how can the Treasury appraise the money value of a film shown in the United Kingdom? How can they? It is bound to be a notional value, but on what principle does it work? How can he have any idea as to what the money value of a film shown in the United Kingdom will prove to be? I want to ask him whether I was right when I was listening to the right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury in supposing that European films, the French and Italian, which many of us regard as by' far the best films ever produced—better than Hollywood films, better than British films—are to be subject to the same duty as American films? The Financial Secretary shakes his head and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade nods his head. Which hon. Gentleman is right?
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
This is a Treasury matter. My hon. Friend will reply for the Board of Trade. I would answer that foreign language films are provided for in, I think, paragraph 6–I will not be sure, but one of the paragraphs—and single copies will come in under the old rate as foreign language films. But provision is made to prevent foreign language films coming in and then being translated into English. Then, of course, a different state of affairs will arise.
§ Mr. Smith
It appears that the shaking of the head prevails over the nodding of the head. But does the right hon. Gentleman mean that when sub-titles are in English that rule applies? No, it does not? Well, I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for that statement of fact. The next thing I want to ask is this: does the Treasury realise that this order may mean the closing down of a number, perhaps a large number, of British cinemas 1478 unless the Government intensify the production of British films, for that is extremely important. I want to know, too, what the Government are doing towards helping onward that production of British films because, at the present time, if my information is correct—and if it is not I am quite sure I shall be corrected by the hon. Member for West Nottingham—my information is that British films are slowing down production when they should be making the utmost drive to produce. [Interruption.] I am sorry, I did not hear—
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I am sorry, I should not have interrupted the hon. Gentleman, but I did interject that he should read today's "Times." There is a very useful letter from Sir Alexander Korda on that point.
§ Mr. Smith
I am much more interested in hearing the statement of the right hon. Gentleman than I am in reading any letter from Sir Alexander Korda. I want to know what the Government are doing positively towards helping an increase in the production of British films. I want to ask this: is the money cost of production, as under the current Cinematograph Act, operating against production of more British films, because I am disposed to believe it is. I believe that achievement in films can be arrived at without fantastic expenditure. Over and over again in French films there has been a wonderful result for little expenditure, but over here, as a result of our quota Act, one has to spend a great deal of money before one can produce a film at all. I have met film directors who have been tearing their hair because they find that they have to spend £120,000 on a subject which could be made into a film perfectly for £40,000. Their one idea has been, "How can I contrive a sufficiently large moment in this film which I can justify as deserving of the expenditure I have to make?" That is a question which should be borne in mind. The Cinematograph Act does take cost as a touchstone, and I implore the Government, in the situation in which we are, with a great shortage of films from abroad and particularly from Hollywood, to remember that we are hampered by our own Cinematograph Act. Cannot they do something to eliminate that particular item of extravagant cost, and do all they can to encourage British films, whether 1479 costly or not, provided that they are artistically produced?
§ 10.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Benn Levy (Eton and Slough)
I was rash enough to shake my head diffidently while the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. O'Brien) was speaking, with the result that he promptly overwhelmed me by disclosing to the House the nature of my profession, and then by contrasting it ruthlessly with his own. Nevertheless, I am constrained to venture an opinion, and even to disagree with him when he says that "the Government have done a right thing in a very bad way." I do not think the Government have done it in the best possible way. I should myself prefer a footage tax to an ad valorem tax, and have gone on record in this House and elsewhere with the arguments in favour of it. I will not weary the House with them again. But the hon. Member for West Nottingham and indeed all other hon. Members who have spoken have emphasised the dangers which this tax is likely to present to the British film industry. The hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers), whose party the right hon. Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) has recently rejoined, was, I thought, particularly pessimistic. But all this is on the assumption that the American film trade proposes to persist in its attempts to boycott British cinemas. All I can say is that I am frankly sceptical about that. It seems in the highest degree unlikely that business men—and the American film industry is manned with very astute business men—will say, "As we cannot get £100,000 profit and can only get £25,000, we prefer to do without even that." Sooner or later there will be imported American films.
It may be that there will be a stringency and British cinemas will have some difficulty in filling their screen time. Although there is this danger, as a result of the tax, I want to emphasise that there is also a very great opportunity. That is the important point. It is the first really big opportunity that the film industry has had, and when my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. E. P. Smith) asks what are the Government doing, I suggest that this is one thing that they are doing, and a very important thing it is.
The question therefore arises, how is the 1480 film industry taking advantage of this opportunity? Obviously, if the screen time is to be filled, a number of expedients will have to be developed, and with some urgency. There will have to be maximum use of the re-issues of old British films. There will have to be recourse to the single-feature programme eked out with vaudeville turns and "shorts." It may be that the popular taste prefers the double-feature programme, but we are in a tough spot and if we cannot afford double-feature programmes, that is an end to it. Then there is the system of longer runs, instead of the weekly or bi-weekly change of programme. Many British films could be kept in the cinemas very much longer than heretofore.
Finally, there is the most obvious and the most important expedient of all, namely, a vastly increased production of British films. One might have thought that, as soon as this tax was announced, all these expedients would immediately have been brought into play. Unfortunately, the very reverse seems to have happened. Not one has been started yet. As for increasing production, on the contrary, production appears to have fallen. May I quote from the "Kinematograph Weekly"? An article which was brought to my notice, this afternoon and which was written only three days ago, says:—This is the British production industry's Black Autumn. During the current period, there are six studios out of action, with 14 idle sound stages.What are the reasons for this? Is it because there is a general feeling of uncertainty? I do not know what this uncertainty is about. It was announced quite clearly that the tax would be levied, and uncertainty could only arise from the hope that a policy of soft-pedalling and delaying might induce the Government to change their mind. But they are not going to change their mind; at least I hope sincerely they will not do so.
I might mention in parenthesis that Sir Alexander Korda's letter to "The Times," which the Financial Secretary mentioned, did not dispose of the point. Although he mentioned that there were a number of film studios occupied, he did not mention that there were a number unoccupied. Thirty per cent. of the studio space is unoccupied, and this is a very big percentage.
§ Mr. Levy
I understand there are 14. There is one other important point. It is sometimes argued that the basic reason for the emptying of studios and the non-utilisation of space is that there are no productions forthcoming, and there are no productions forthcoming because there is less likely to be an adequate market or return, the reason being that we expect retaliation in America and that we shall therefore be deprived of the American market, and have to rely exclusively on the British market which cannot be expected to return more than £200,000 on a film, although most films already cost more than that. Where then is the loss to be made good? But if it is true that the loss can be made good in America, why cannot we have the figures? Again and again, I have asked for the figures. Before the House rose, I pressed the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Financial Secretary with a fusillade of Questions to try to extract these figures, but they were not forthcoming. Yet I believe that to withhold those figures is a mistake on the part of the Treasury and of the Rank organisation. It is nothing to be ashamed of that we are not making a profit out of America. Everybody knows what we are up against—the hardest and tightest trade monopoly over there, and the efforts that Mr. Rank and other British producers have made to crash the American market, howsoever heroic, have not been successful for the obvious business reason that the exhibitors there would rather show their own products and get all the profits than show Mr. Rank's products and get only part of the profits. There is nothing mysterious about that, nor even surprising. That is the situation we are up against.
But if we admit it, then it is a very good reason for pressing the Government to try to do what has already been hinted at, and that is, as soon as possible, to make provision for some reciprocal arrangement whereby there is a comparable remission of tax payable by foreign film exporters to Britain in the ratio in which they are prepared to import and show British films in their own country. If we could establish some kind of system like that, we would be giving our industry a lever for breaking into the American market infinitely far more powerful than anything they could pos- 1482 sibly secure on their own. For the first time they would have a really good chance of establishing British films in America. The quality is good enough, but quality will not get them there on its own. Here is the means, and I urge the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and the President of the Board of Trade to consider very carefully the possibilities of a reciprocal arrangement without at all reducing the net dollar-saving for which they have budgeted.
§ 10.54 p.m.
§ Mr. Beverley Baxter (Wood Green)
At this time of the night I want only to say one or two words, but I think some of the hon. Members who are taking part in this Debate are making a mistake in enthusing at the mere fact that, by the fortuitous circumstance of the Government having to put a ban on American films, an opportunity for expansion is given to British films. Broadly speaking, it is not a good thing that American pictures should stop coming into this country. We no longer can go abroad to foreign countries. We cannot in our newspapers carry all the news of what is happening abroad because we have very little space in our newspapers. So the people have to turn to the film for their escape to the outer world, and that is now going to be cut down. So the insularity grows and grows. I think this is a very unfortunate thing, because we live on an island and we need contact with the outside world, or we shall develop insular qualities, as islanders always do.
I think the abruptness with which this ad valorem tax was put on—and I might say that perhaps there was a little justice in it—was almost equal in violence and abruptness to the dropping of Lend-Lease by America, so perhaps they understand that move. I should like to put on record the fact that we in this country owe a great deal to the American film. Hollywood made some of the best British films in America that were ever made. There was "Mrs. Miniver" which gave the story of Dunkirk, and "David Copperfield," which they did beautifully over there. Another was "Cavalcade." If we think that the advantage has always been on the American side, we should remember that we could not have got the equivalent British propaganda which we 1483 got in those films if we had spent tens of millions of pounds. We may criticise some of Hollywood's methods, but in the balance we ought to remember how much they did to serve the interests of this country in the spirit of the films which they made.
There is one other danger. This does not really concern the Treasury so much as, perhaps, the Board of Trade. We must watch out lest, instead of popularising British films because there is nothing else to see, we do not begin to create a resistance movement against British films. After the 1914–1918 war, we tried to popularise opera in England at Covent Garden. We said that opera should be sung in the English language by English singers. What happened? The moment we "took the lid off" and the German opera singers came over from Berlin and opened, as I remember, with "Tristan," London simply went crazy for the German voices and the German language. Opera in English was "off the menu" for a very long time. I say to those hon. Members who think that because more screen space is being made available there is more opportunity—watch out, because you are not reasoning very logically. If we are to make British films as great as they can be—and they have improved immensely in the last three or four years—the way is for them to be in competition with American films, and not to take advantage of American films not being allowed to compete.
I give the Government this warning. I hope they will try to come to some arrangement with Hollywood when these men come over. The Government are entirely right in stopping the drain of dollars. They should have done it before and they might have graduated the process then, but I think the whole House will support the Government in this, though I warn the Treasury and the Financial Secretary, who has already spoken of British films being better than American films, not to dabble in saying what are good plays and what are not good plays. Keep off dramatic and theatre criticism and keep to the financial side, and do not let the Chancellor or the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade imagine that, because they 1484 managed to stop the flow of American films, they are born to be film makers and that they understand the whole thing. The very fact that the Financial Secretary has paid such a tribute to French films shows that he himself has lost touch with the common people altogether. Most of the Government have, too.
§ Mr. Baxter
But we are not allowed to travel now and I should explain to the hon. Gentleman that they speak French in these films, and not English. These pictures from France are for the connoisseur and hardly for the ordinary people. I think that is all I have to say. In spite of that flippant ending, I hope soon that a reasonable flow of American films will start again—if only for the sake of the public, to take them away from the hardships and drabness of existence. In parts of Lancashire, where life is very grim, one sees the local cinema palace and its perhaps slight vulgarity; but there it is, a magic door at which people can leave the hardships of reality and, for two or three hours, be carried away on wings of song or phantasy.
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Mallalieu (Huddersfield)
I think the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Levy) has disposed of one of the fears about this order, that it will cause a shortage of films in our cinemas. He suggested we could avoid this not only by increased production at home but also by reversion to single-feature programmes and to longer runs. After listening to the hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers), I would put forward another suggestion and that is that if Mr. Del Guidice as dictator of the nationalised film industry finds difficulty in filling up his programmes he should direct the hon. Member for Orpington to play for long periods on the mighty Wurlitzer.
1485 A great difficulty which the Financial Secretary has recognised is that of the basis of valuation. Under this order there are going to be two cuts at that particular job—the first valuation when the film comes in, and the second when the film has finished showing. Another objection is that this particular order, and the tax it imposes, do not discriminate between good and bad films, however, we judge that—and I do not set myself up as a film critic. It would be desirable to get a standard of taste and test with which to discriminate against the bad, if possible. That is not done by this particular tax.
The third point—and I think this was made effectively by the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Baxter) and the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. O'Brien) was the negative aspect: that it was an attempt to save dollars rather than to gain dollars. I think it is of enormous importance that we should get out of that state of mind. I agree that it would be a good thing if we could get American films coming in to provide competition for British films, and we can only do that if, by some means, we can get British films to earn dollars in the United States.
I suggest that a better method would be the proposal to which the hon. Member for Slough alluded—a footage tax. I do not apologise for bringing this matter forward in view of the announcement by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that he is going into a conference with the American industry. I would ask him, before that conference begins, seriously to consider whether a footage tax would not be a better proposal than the one before the House. With a footage tax there would be only one cut: there is no question of a second estimate later, and the actual job of levying the tax is much easier. Secondly, it does tend to discourage "tripe." I think it is probably fair to say that, generally speaking, the better the film the more money it costs, and that it is the films cheaply-made that are badly made. The cheaper films automatically are tremendously penalised by a footage tax, and many of the better films benefited.
The third very right reason for a footage tax is that it makes it easy to have just that sort of reciprocal arrangement with the United States by which we could say, "If you will take a British film of so 1486 many feet duty free into the United States and give it a specified, guaranteed showing, we will in our turn take the same quantity of film tax free from you for showing in our cinemas."
§ Mr. Bracken
Will the hon. Gentleman allow me? This is a point of some importance. Who is to do this? The British Government cannot guarantee that American films will be sold here. Least of all can the American Government guarantee that Hollywood circuits will distribute British films.
§ Mr. Mallalieu
I think education is proceeding apace on both sides of the Atlantic in view of this crisis, and there is now an organisation which does speak for Hollywood to a considerable extent. I have not the slightest doubt that its representatives who come to this country would be able to speak for the American film industry, and we could put this point to them. Moreover, the Government are capable of speaking, if they want to, for any industry in this country.
That sort of arrangement would not only make it possible to ensure the showing of British films in the United States, but would also permit us still to go on earning dollars, and would permit of a little competition in this country, and would allow us to see those French films to which the hon. Member for Wood Green does not go, but' to which most common people, like me, go whenever we can. In conclusion, I would ask the Financial Secretary to put that point seriously to his right hon. Friend, and, if they can see any merit in it, to discuss it at the conference which is to take place.
§ 11.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Walter Fletcher (Bury)
I should like to mention a point raised in the most interesting speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Levy). He pointed to the uncertainty which, he said, seems to exist among those responsible for producing films in this country. It rather surprised me. I think there is a real and reasonable explanation for uncertainty. It is not only the financial risk that is involved. This afternoon the Minister of Labour, in classifying what were to be regarded as the more important efforts of productive labour in this country, rather pointed the finger of warn- 1487 ing at amusements. If someone is to produce films in this country, he has to be certain he is going to get labour and material. He needs timber and other things required for the production of films. It is so easy to assume that the uncertainty is simply that of the financial gentlemen who are unwilling to take the risk that it is considered they should take, and I do believe a certain injustice is done, by that easy assumption, to the very enterprising people in that form of work, that of producing films, in not giving sufficient weight to the real uncertainties, outside financial ones.
For instance, I am very much in favour of the ideas the hon. Gentleman the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Mallalieu) put forward for reciprocal arrangements, but I would point out that the possibility of bringing American films into this country is not enhanced if, before we enter into talks with the Americans on this subject, we have taken every opportunity to point out that the films they produce are not on the same moral plane as our own or the French. Nothing is so wounding to people going into business talks as saying at the beginning to the other parties, "You are not quite in the same class as we are." I have had a considerable interest in pictures—not only these, but others as well—and in the showing of pictures, because I was at one time the owner of a small chain of cinemas. I believe that there is a good deal of cant talked about films. I belong to the school which enjoyed the robust vulgarity of the old music hall, and I still believe that a certain amount of vulgarity is good for the soul.
§ Mr. Fletcher
And I believe that the talk about the highbrows who go to see French films—and do not understand 50 per cent. of them when they get there—needs a little bit of debunking. I believe that the generality of people have good taste, and they like British and American films. To try to draw a moral distinction between them is a feeble error at the present moment. The American film makers have been pioneers in many directions—in making instructional films, for instance, such as the "March of Time"; and some of the geographical and ethnolo- 1488 gical films they have produced have been excellent in their way. We have had other varieties, too; but for us to behave as though we always wore white kid gloves and trembled at the films of gangsters—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hubert Beaumont)
The hon. Member's remarks are very wide of the subject under discussion. He should return to the Motion.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I will try to tread more narrowly. There is one very important thing we must have regard for, and that is exports. The fact that we exclude these films from this country puts out of employment in Hollywood an appreciable number of people—and I am not talking of the "stars," or the producers who make the films, but of small wage earners. I agree that it is a necessity for us at the moment to cut out these imports for the purpose of dollar saving. But this exporting of unemployment, creating unemployment in other countries by actions of this kind, can, in the long run, have bad effects. Therefore, when the meetings are held with the Americans, it will be necessary to explain to them that for a short time dollar scarcity necessitates this Order. We should make it clear to them that we desire to import their films in future, that we respect their pioneer efforts, that we agree that their films are good, and that we want once again to see their people employed making films which would prove acceptable to us when we are in a position again to import them.
§ 11.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Brendan Bracken (Bournemouth)
The hour is late and we are far from home. My only reason for rising is to congratulate the Financial Secretary to the Treasury on the statement he made with regard to the forthcoming negotiations between His Majesty's Government and representatives of the American cinema industry. I have no personal interest in the American cinema industry, but I have a very warm recollection of some of the delegates who are coming to London. In the dark days of the war some of them were the best friends of Britain in the United States of America. I can hardly over-praise them. We got the utmost service from Hollywood during the war.
1489 I think the Government are right to make up their mind to have an adjustment in the matter of dollars going to Hollywood, or anywhere else, at present; but I am certain that if a compromise could be reached along the lines suggested by the Financial Secretary and others in this Debate, it would be a very great inducement to the gentlemen in control of the American film industry to push British films in the United States of America. It would be a very great incentive in these times when we are calling for incentives; and it is well to point it out at the moment as an incentive to some of the big circuits in the United States to show British films.
I have had a feeling during this Debate that there is a certain amount of patronising praise of British films. I am not a judge of films: I am just an ordinary member of the public who sees both American and British films. I think we can produce as good films as anything America can produce. Sometimes I think we produce better films. But do not let us engage in this distasteful business of comparison between Hollywood and Britain. Both countries produce fine films. We are anxious in England to see more American films, and likewise we believe that many British films could have a wider market in America. When dealing with the United States, or with any other country, let us try to find what measure of agreement there can be between ourselves, and not criticise each other's products, whether they be films or anything else. Out of this controversy there is a real opportunity for a proper arrangement to be made between Britain and the United States. So I greatly welcome the speech of the Financial Secretary, and I hope very much that his persuasive tongue will be used to explain to Hollywood that they can make a constructive contribution to British films by helping at this stage to get a wider market for them in the United States.
§ 11.15 p.m.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Belcher)
I think it will be agreed on all sides that this has been a most useful Debate and I welcome particularly the tone of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bournemouth (Mr. Bracken) and of hon. Members on both sides who preceded him. I think it is perfectly right to reiterate that 1490 there is no intention at all under this tax to put an embargo against American films, either because we do not like Hollywood or because we want to create a protective barrier behind which British films can be sheltered. I feel myself that we should be likely to do far more harm than good to British films if we were so disposed. I repeat what the Financial Secretary said, that this is not a discriminatory tax in that sense. It is imposed merely to restrict the outflow of dollars.
The hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Baxter) suggested that neither the Financial Secretary nor I should set ourselves up as judges of taste in this matter. I certainly would not attempt to do that. I am quite prepared to leave the judging of taste to professional critics, who, I gather from reading the weekly magazines, are themselves not always regarded as the best judges in the matter. I have not the slightest intention of setting myself up as a judge of taste; and that leads me to the point made by the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Mallalieu), that this tax does not discriminate between good and bad films. Frankly, I do not think Customs officials are the right persons to discriminate between good and bad films. Discrimination would normally be made by the box office public, and I agree with the right hon. Member for Bournemouth that the public in most cases do not go far wrong.
There has been some talk about unwillingness and lack of desire on the part of the ordinary man in the street to go to see and listen to films made in France and other countries on the Continent where the language is different. But I do remember before the war that there were some films such as "Sous les Toits de Paris" and the German film "Mädchen in Uniform" which attracted very considerable audiences, not in the esoteric West End of London, but all over the country, and in suburban cinemas in London. There is a public for such films, wherever made; and I agree wholeheartedly with those who have said that it is not to our or to anyone else's advantage to make invidious comparisons between films made here or elsewhere. As in life, there is good and bad in all sorts of films. I have seen some very good British films and some pretty bad ones, and the same can be said of Hollywood.
1491 The hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) put a number of questions to which he demanded a reply. As he would expect, the answer to most of them is "No, Sir." In other words, it is not true that a figure of £9 million has been fixed as the amount to which we will license improvements and extensions to sites. We do not propose to use empty cinemas for storage for exports. Perhaps if they were empty it would be a very good idea to take them over for" some such purpose; but I hope that they will not be empty, as I want people to enjoy their leisure. I do not think that I am called upon to answer the question about the bankruptcy of the film industry and taking it over under nationalisation. There are no such evil intentions in our minds. With regard to the steps being taken to encourage British films—
§ Sir W. Smithers
In self-defence, may I say that I did not demand an answer of the hon. Gentleman. I asked politely for an answer.
§ Mr. Belcher
The hon. Member, whatever he may do when other hon. Members are speaking at this Despatch Box, is always extremely courteous to me, and I am most grateful to him. There has been from almost every hon. Member who has spoken questions about what is to be done to assist the British film industry to get on with the job of producing more films. What needs to be done is to expand as rapidly as possible the production of good films in this country. There are difficulties in the way of Government assistance in this matter, and I cannot say that the major responsibility for improving the quantity or the quality of British films is that of the Government. It is the responsibility of the film industry itself.
§ Mr. O'Brien
We had no chance. If one decides on one's dollar problem, and the remedy for that problem, is it not a responsibility of the Government to make up the gap caused by the absence of American films?
§ Mr. Belcher
Yes, within the limitations of our present shortages, but there is need for studio space, and one has to remember that the materials required for extensions of a film studio use just those things which are in short supply; things which are 1492 needed for housing and industrial building. But, bearing that in mind, we are still prepared to do as much as we can to assist the British film industry to bring these studios up to date, in so far as we can do so without interference with other parts of our economy.
With reference to the remark by my hon. Friend that there was not, prior to the introduction of this tax, consultation with the industry in the sense that consultation is often had with what is known as "both sides of industry"—and personally, I do not care for the phrase—when there is something being proposed in connection with that industry, that is true. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer did say that, if any hon. Member had suggestions to make about this tax, or alternative proposals to offer, he, and the Government, would be pleased to hear them. So far as I know, nobody has come forward with any alternative suggestions, but I would say now that it is not too late. It has been stated by my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary that we hope to have consultations with representatives of the American film industry, and I would echo the sentiments which have been expressed that, between ourselves and the American representatives we may be able to find accommodation on both sides of the Atlantic. I hope there will be some reciprocal arrangement whereby, rather than diminishing the net dollar loss by cutting off the dollars from this country to the United States, it would be possible to secure this diminution by increasing the number of dollars earned in the United States by British films. That is the kind of useful suggestion which has been made, and I would assure hon. Members who have supported that" idea that we are prepared to consider all such suggestions.
I do not believe that there are any other points of major importance with which I ought to deal except, perhaps, the suggestion put by my hon. Friends the Members for Huddersfield (Mr. Mallalieu) and Eton and Slough (Mr. Levy) that a footage tax would have been a more desirable thing. The difference between this proposed method of taxation and the footage tax is this: the proposed method enables us to subtract the number of dollars we need from the total amount earned in this country, but with the footage tax, there is no guarantee that we 1493 should get the result which we want That, is one reason why we rejected the footage tax.
§ Mr. Levy
May I interrupt my hon. Friend? What he says is true in respect of a certain given film, but in respect of the totality of the films, one can regulate the income one wants, and adjust the rate accordingly. In the case of a particular film, it may earn less, or more, but the totality can be adjusted.
§ Mr. Belcher
My hon. Friend knows that we have considered this before. I have discussed it with him on previous occasions; but, having considered all the arguments we have finally come to the conclusion that this is the right and proper way. May I, in conclusion, say how grateful I am for the co-operative manner in which this Debate has been conducted, and assure the House that we shall have regard to the many things which have been said, and also assure the House that our desire is merely to restrict the flow of dollars out of the country? We have no wish to prevent the flow from one country to another, whether from this country to another or from another country to this, of objects of entertainments or education. This is forced on us by the difficult situation, and I hope that day is not far distant when we shall again see the flow of art and entertainment between this and other countries.
§ Mr. Baxter
In connection with films like "Gone With The Wind," which are now being reissued and will earn a lot of money, will the dollars be remitted or will they be frozen?
§ Mr. Belcher
That was a film which was in this country before the tax came in. Subsequent films reissued would qualify under these orders. The value would include money earned on re-issue.
That the Additional Import Duties (No. 2) Order, 1947 (S.R. & O. 1947, No. 1690), dated 6th August, 1947, made by the Treasury under the Import Duties Act, 1932, a copy of which Order was presented on 8th August, be approved.
That the Additional Import Duties (No 3) Order, 1947 (S.R. & O., 1947, No. 1694), dated 7th August, 1947, made by the Treasury
under the Import Duties Act, 1932, a copy of which Order was presented on 13th August, be approved."—[Mr. Glenvil Hall.]
That the Additional Import Duties (No. 4) Order, 1947 (S.R. & O., 1947, No. 2291), dated 28th October, 1947, made by the Treasury under the Import Duties Act, 1932, a copy of which Order was presented on 30th October, be approved."—[Mr. Glenvil Hall.]