HC Deb 28 January 1954 vol 522 cc1956-7
41. Mr. Wyatt

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will now make a statement on the booking of films for the Gaumont and Odeon cinema circuits through the single agency of the Circuits Management Association Limited, although this is contrary to the provisions of the Cinematograph Films Act, 1948

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

The booking of films by a single agency does not contravene the Act, and was expressly accepted by the right hon. Member' for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson), as President of the Board of Trade, in 1948, subject to an undertaking that the effective booking strength of the two circuits would not be altered. I am satisfied from assurances that I have received from the J. Arthur Rank Organisation that that undertaking has been honoured, and that the arrangements provide no justification for the Board of Trade to refuse, under Section 5 (5, b) of the Cinematograph Films Act, 1948, to license those theatres.

Mr. Wyatt

How can the President say that the undertaking has been honoured when an independent producer has to see the same man whether he wishes to book with Gaumont or the Odeon circuit, and all bookings are done through the same person in this single agency?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The principle that the bookings should be under a single management was accepted by the right hon. Member for Huyton in the clearest possible terms.

Mr. Swingler

Would the Minister not get an independent person to investigate this situation instead of always taking his information from the very people against whom the accusations are made?