HC Deb 15 June 1954 vol 528 cc1720-1
28. Sir W. Smithers

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the loss to date of £2,600,000 on the activities of the National Film Finance Corporation, if he will give an assurance that Her Majesty's Government will now refrain from entering into business activities.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Henry Strauss)

No, Sir. The activities of the National Film Finance Corporation will continue to be governed by the Cinematograph Film Production (Special Loans) Acts, 1949 to 1954.

Sir W. Smithers

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that the nationalised industries have caused heavy losses to the taxpayer and to the consumer? Would he, as soon as possible, return all business to businessmen?

Mr. Strauss

My hon. Friend will realise that his Question is not about nationalised industries.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is it not the case that a large part of the loss was sustained originally by British Lion before the Corporation really began operations, and that the activities of the Corporation have enabled some extremely successful British films to be produced?

Mr. Strauss

The answer to the last part of the right hon. Gentleman's question is "Yes." It is quite true that a large part of the loss on British Lion was made at the very beginning, or before the beginning, of the operation of the Corporation.

30. Mr. Swingler

asked the President of the Board of Trade what consultations he has had with the unions representing cinematograph workers about maintaining the level of British film production since the announcement of the decision to liquidate the British Lion Film Corporation.

Mr. H. Strauss

None, Sir, since the decision of the National Film Finance Corporation to appoint a receiver and manager, to which I assume that the hon. Member is referring.

Mr. Swingler

In view of the concern in the industry about a possible decline in production after August, can the hon. and learned Gentleman give a firm assurance that action is being taken to maintain the level of film production when the present production schedules come to an end?

Mr. Strauss

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement that I made in answer to a Question and supplementary questions on 1st June. The National Film Finance Corporation does not see any reason for thinking that there will necessarily be any loss of production.