HC Deb 22 March 1948 vol 448 cc2729-30

Lords Amendment: In page 2, in line 22, leave out Subsection (2).

11.42 p.m.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Harold Wilson)

I beg to move, "That this House does agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The effect of the Amendment is to strike out from the Bill the provision about circuit theatres and pre-release cinemas, under which they were to be assigned higher quotas than the general run of exhibitors. The reason for this is that independent exhibitors, operating in a situation where they have to face heavy competition, are specially protected, and it is not essential to discriminate between them and the special quota theatres. In a highly competitive situation a better protection can be got under Clause 4. Since we can give them this protection there is no reason why all exhibitors should not be brought up to the same rate as the special quota theatres. I want to make it plain that this does not mean in any sense a weakening of our ideas about quotas as previously stated in this House.

It does not mean we intend to bring special quota theatres down to the level of the general run of exhibitors. Having provided the machinery for relief in cases of hardship or strong competition, we want to bring the others up to the level of the special quota level. We intend to use this to get the highest practicable quota. The recent film agreement made no difference in that connection.

Mr. Oliver Lyttelton (Aldershot)

I would draw attention to an occasion not dealt with under Clause 4. I think we can agree with this Amendment if the right hon. Gentleman will say that relief will be freely given to those who may not get special release cover by Clause 4.

Mr. Wilson

It is our intention to give this relief where it is needed.