HC Deb 26 March 1953 vol 513 cc829-30
42. Mr. Swingler

asked the President of the Board of Trade to state for 1951–52 the numbers of first-feature and supporting programme film quota defaults; the average quotas fulfilled by, and the number of certificates of exemption granted to, exhibitors; the numbers of British films available for showing on each quota; and if he is satisfied with the present standard of quota observance.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Since the answer to the hon. Member's Question is necessarily lengthy and contains a number of figures, I will, with his permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Swingler

Can the Minister say whether the default has increased or decreased, and whether, on the basis of last year's experience, he is fully assured that the production of films is sufficient and good enough to maintain the quota and a better standard of quota observance during the coming year?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will look at the answer, which contains a number of figures, and put down any Questions on it which he may think necessary.

The answer is as follows: One thousand and forty-three theatres failed to achieve their prescribed quota for first-features. In 642 of these cases the extent of the failure was very small. One thousand nine hundred and one theatres failed to achieve the prescribed quota for the supporting programme. The average performance of exhibitors was 27 per cent. for first-features, compared with an average prescribed quota of 25.5 per cent. The average performance for the supporting programme was 24 per cent., compared with the prescribed quota of 25 per cent. The number of directions exempting theatres from quota obligations was 190. Without making detailed inquiries, which do not appear to be justified, I cannot tell how many films were available in the quota year 1st October, 1951–30th September, 1952, nor how many of the longer films were generally used as first-features. In the calendar year 1951, 67 films of over 6,500 feet were registered as British, and 79 in the calendar year 1952. Two hundred and nineteen shorter films were registered in 1951, and 313 in 1952. Although some individual theatres could no doubt make still further efforts to achieve their quotas, I am not dissatisfied with the showing which British films have secured throughout the period.