3. Mr. E. P. Smith
asked the President of the Board of Trade how many film studios are idle at the present time; how many sound stages are idle; and what he estimates to be the footage of stage space unused.
§ The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Harold Wilson)
Excluding stages which were damaged or disused during the war and have not yet been recommissioned, the only sound stages now idle at studios which regularly make feature films are two temporarily vacant stages at M.G.M. (British) Studios at Elstree, two at Hammersmith, and one at Southall. The approximate floor space of these stages is 40,000 square feet.
Is it not a fact that there are 148,000 square feet of floor space not being used a present, and can the right hon. Gentleman explain how it comes about that when the British film industry is protected virtually 100 per cent. there 1306 should be this appalling amount of unused space?
§ Mr. Wilson
A number of stages are not being used, because they are not fit to be used. I have been giving careful consideration to the question of whether the British film industry is being fully used at present, and I am having a meeting in a few days with both sides of the industry, to make certain that they make full use of their productive capacity.
§ Mr. Gallacher
In view of the importance of this industry, would the right hon. Gentleman consider setting up a working party and getting something done?