HC Deb 27 May 1952 vol 501 cc1145-6
37. Mr. Swingler

asked the President of the Board of Trade to state his estimates of the numbers of first-feature and supporting British films which must be produced in the current year for the fulfilment of the present quota; and of the actual productive capacity of the British film industry at present.

Mr. H. Strauss

Since the answer is lengthy, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Swingler

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman satisfied that a sufficient number of films are being produced to fulfil the quota, and, if he is satisfied, why is he taking no action to enforce the quota, and what action is he taking to encourage the maximum production of films at the present time?

Mr. Strauss

The question of the quota is the subject of some later Questions on the Order Paper today. Perhaps the hon. Member will study the answer to his Question which will be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

Films produced in the current year will generally be available for the next exhibitors' quota year beginning on 1st October, 1952, when the statutory quotas will again be 30 per cent. for first features and 25 per cent. for supporting programmes.

The number of films required for these quotas varies in different cinemas. The lowest estimates are generally based on the weekly releases by the three major circuits which require for a 30 per cent. quota between 48 and 57 British first feature films a year (the number depend- ing on the allowance for Sunday showings). The supporting programme varies considerably in its composition and the quota is calculated in terms of the length of the films shown and not of the number of films. The annual requirement for a 25 per cent. quota is roughly 250,000 feet.

The productive capacity of the British film industry cannot be stated precisely since it depends not only on studio space but on finance and on the resources of technical and artistic talent capable of making successful films.