§ 26. Mr. K. Robinson
asked the President of the Board of Trade when the new company taking over the distribution functions of the British Lion Film Corporation was set up; and the names of the chairman and directors.
§ Mr. Robinson
Will the Minister say whether, in view of the fact that the announcement was made four months ago, the Government have changed their minds about the British Lion Film Corporation; and, if they have altered their plans, are they still able to give an assurance to the workers in this industry?
§ Mr. Strauss
There has been no change of plans at all. The matter is under consideration by the National Film Finance Corporation. I cannot give a date by which this will be accomplished but the answers previously given on this subject remain true.
Mr. H. Wilson
Will the hon. and learned Gentleman tell the House what single thing has been achieved by the appointment of a receiver which could not have been done by the National Film Finance Corporation exercising its ordinary powers?
§ Mr. Strauss
Yes, the stopping of the losses of the British Lion Film Corporation on the scale on which it was previously losing money.
31. Mr. H. Wilson
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on action taken by him in relation to the film industry since the appointment of a receiver in the British Lion Film Corporation on 1st June, 1954, and, in particular, on the Government's intentions about the future of the British Lion Film Corporation.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
I cannot yet add to the answers which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd) on 1st June and 27th July last.
As we on this side of the House were afraid that this was the first step in a sell-out to the big circuit interests, is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that these circuit interests are using their position in the British Film Producers' Association to propose the winding up of British Lion in order to get films more cheaply than the independent producers, and will he watch the situation carefully to see that this does not happen?
§ Mr. Strauss
The position in regard to the British Lion Corporation is under 1030 discussion between the National Film Finance Corporation and the Board of Trade. Meanwhile no injury has been done to the interests of British film production.
But will the hon. and learned Gentleman give a clear assurance to the House that there is no question in the Government's mind of winding up British Lion or winding up this publicly controlled distribution company, which is so essential to the independent producer?
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock
Can my hon. and learned Friend say anything about the state of employment in the Shepperton studios? Are they fully employed and likely to remain so for some time?