§ 18 and 19. Mr. Swingler
asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) how far it is his policy to ensure the 1022 availability of film studios to independent producers; and what action he is taking to implement it;
(2) if he is aware that film studio space is being bought and leased by companies interested in the production of films for commercial television; and if he will take steps to ensure the maintenance of adequate studio space for the production of films for the first-feature and supporting programme quotas.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
My right hon. Friend understands that some studios have been bought or leased by companies interested in the production of films for television, but he is not aware of any present shortage of studio space or of any need for Government action.
§ Mr. Swingler
Will the hon. and learned Gentleman investigate this situation again, because one of the trade unions in the industry has made official representations to his Department about the shortage of studio space? Is he not aware that the Riverside studios have been sold to the B.B.C., that the Nettle-fold and Southall studios are now being sold to commercial television and that it is rumoured that Vickers Aircraft intend to buy Shepperton? Does not this constitute a great threat to the studio space in the whole industry?
§ Mr. Strauss
I am sorry that the hon. Member should give currency to these rumours. There is no reason to think that the transaction concerning the Nettlefold Studios will lead to any contraction of the facilities available there for the production of films for the cinema. I understand that there are no current negotiations for the sale of Shepperton. If the hon. Member has information to the contrary, I should be glad if he would let us have it and give us the grounds for his belief.