HC Deb 05 December 1963 vol 685 cc1343-4
14. Mr. Edelman

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development what action he is taking to assist independent film producers in Britain, in View of the restrictions on trading to which the Film Cinematograph Council has drawn attention.

Mr. Heath

I expect shortly to receive the advice of the Cinematograph Films Council on this matter. I have, in the meantime, agreed to meet the independent film producers and hear their views.

Mr. Edelman

In the meantime, and pending these meetings, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that what is urgently required to save the independent producers, who are being slowly throttled by the monopolising activities of Rank and A.B.C., is to increase the film quota by 50 per cent.? Is he aware that independent producers now have a backlog of 10 major films which cannot be shown because of the restrictive practices of the circuits which I have mentioned, that redundancy is increasing, and that the weight of bank charges is such as to make bankruptcy for. independent producers likely? Is he aware that if he wants to save the indigenous film industry, he will have to take the most urgent action?

Mr. Heath

I cannot comment on the hon. Member's proposal without anticipating the advice which I shall be given by the Cinematograph Films Council and in anticipation of the views which I shall hear.

Mrs. White

If the crisis in the British film industry has intensified much more rapidly than was expected by the Films Council, will we not need more urgent action?

Mr. Heath

I am quite prepared to take urgent action should it be justified, but as I am to meet those concerned on Monday and to receive their advice shortly, I prefer to wait.