§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins (Putney)
I beg to move Amendment No. 121, in page 12, line 22, after 'films', insert: 1498'other than co-production films in which the United Kingdom is not a partner'.
Amendment No. 124 in line 38, at end insert:
'but no such film shall be registered as a quota film if it is substantially financed by capital from a non-community country'.
Amendment No. 125 in line 38, at end insert:
'but no such film shall be regarded as a quota film if it is dubbed into English'.
Amendment No. 126 in line 38, at end insert:
'but no such film shall be regarded as a quota film unless it conforms to the requirements of the Films Acts 1960 and 1970'.
New Clause 5: Co-production films:
Co-production films shall not qualify for British quota unless one of the partners in the co-production is a United Kingdom based company and the film complies with the Films Act, 1960.
§ Mr. Jenkins
In an earlier debate the Lord Advocate, who was replying to it, pointed out that the Amendment then under discussion sought to protect the British film industry from the provisions of the EEC relating to the free movement of labour. He said that that was an absolutely cardinal principle of the EEC and that for that reason the Amendment could not be accepted.
These Amendments do not penetrate any such cardinal principle. Indeed, in order to table Amendments which we hoped the Government would find acceptable we have not sought to put forward proposals which would affect that cardinal principle of the free movement of labour, although may I say in passing that it is very painful to have to relinquish an attempt to protect the British film industry from the consequences of the free movement of labour, because our industry has developed on entirely different lines from the industry on the Continent.
The development of film industries throughout the world was not enormously dissimilar until the invention of the "talkie". From that point the development of the industries on the Continent and in this country moved apart, for the simple reason that we share a common language with the United States and, therefore, it became necessary for us to protect ourselves against the consequences 1500 of being in association with the huge American industry to a much greater degree than was necessary in the countries of the Six, which were automatically protected by the fact that they did not use the same language. Although dubbing and sub-titles played a rôle, their industries were not open, as our industry was and still is, to the consequences of being affected by the very much larger industry, as it then was, across the Atlantic.
Therefore, although the consequences of the free movement of labour will be very serious for the British film industry, we are not raising that matter tonight, partially because it would probably be difficult to get an Amendment to Clause 8 in order for that purpose. Also, we are producing a series of Amendments which, although important and vital for the protection of the British industry, are not of such a character as anyone who is keen on this country going into the Common Market could say would prevent this country from entering the Market. We are seeking to make reasonable improvements to the Bill which will, we believe, give the British film industry a better chance of competing with that on the Continent and which are not objectionable in principle to the EEC or to any of the film directives which the EEC has issued.
§ [Miss HARVIE ANDERSONin the Chair]
§ The Government have agreed that the object of Clause 8 is primarily to change the Films Act, 1960, so as to put films made in any Community country on the same level as films made in this country. That is a neutral statement of the object of the exercise. There are other subsidiary objects, but that is the primary object of the Clause. Therefore, in order to describe what that does, it is necessary to remind the Committee that the registration of a film as "British" gives it British quota status, and exhibitors are required to show a percentage—about 30 per cent.—of British films of the total. Inclusion in the quota of British films immeasurably improves a film's chances of being distributed. It is, therefore, an advantage for a film to be included in 1501 the quota, and inclusion brings in its train other benefits.
§ Films within the quota enjoy the benefit of the Eady levy, which is a form of redistribution. Some people think of it as a subsidy, but I think of it as a redistribution of the proceeds of the box office back to the producer. Films in the quota can also benefit from assistance from the National Film Finance Corporation. These are substantial benefits which British films enjoy. Under Clause 8 Community films will acquire these benefits. That is the object of the exercise.
§ At first glance there would seem to be no great problem. After all, who will show foreign films on the British circuit even if the quota is open to them? That is the first obvious thought that one would have. But we have co-production agreements with other countries—France and Italy. These agreements have been ironed out with great difficulty between this country and the two other countries. Under these agreements, a film made in two languages—British and French, or as the case may be—counts for quota purposes. The British film gets the benefits of any protective legislation of the other country, and the other country's film gets the benefits of any legislation in this country.
§ So already the film industry has made a move in the direction of co-operative action with two of the countries of the Six—Italy and France. Two versions of the film are produced simultaneously, a British version and an Italian version or a French version. Great care has been taken in these agreements to protect the interests of producers and workers in both countries, so that the country with the lower wage rates and inferior conditions is not allowed to exploit that situation to the disadvantage of the producers and workers in the other country.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Here is the rub. The effect of Clause 8 as at present worded is to render co-production throughout the Community possible without any of the protections which have caused such difficulty in these discussions. Here we have the British film industry exposed to competition which would be regarded, I think, as unfair competition, unless we take some action to rectify the situation. The action we propose will not be regarded by anyone as 1502 being unreasonable. Unless we make the changes advocated in the Amendments, a film made with American capital in Italy could qualify for British quota provided it conformed with the requirements of the quota.
§ Therefore, we have this problem. The British film industry has benefited substantially from American capital, but the possibility of that capital continuing to come here if it can go elsewhere and find cheaper conditions of employment, and, perhaps, better weather, is one which must concern all who feel that the British film industry still has a considerable contribution to make to the cinema.
§ That brings me to Amendment No. 121. That simply provides that in order to qualify for Community quota in this country—we shall have to stop thinking about the British quota if the Bill becomes an Act; we shall have to start thinking about the Community quota—a Community co-production must have the United Kingdom as one of the partners. The Amendment does not attempt to alter anything else.
§ Such legislation is complicated, but I believe that such legislation exists in the countries of the Six already. I am merely asking the Government to do here what I believe is the case in France and Italy already.
§ The Amendment is simple and necessary. It cannot be rejected on its merits or on some imagined demerits. It has no demerits. It is merely a protective Amendment. It does not go to the heart of the Community or anything like that.
§ The previous Minister in charge of these matters, the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley), is on record as agreeing that unless we take some action of this sort we could completely lose control of the quota designed to protect our industry. At a gathering in the National Film Theatre on 15th December, 1971—I do not know whether this was why he was sacked—the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury, who was the Government's spokesman at that time, said that it would be possible, therefore, that the whole of the quota would be European films and no British films would be shown at all. That goes too far. I do not envisage that as likely, but theoretically it is possible. It is precisely to prevent that 1503 occurring, or any possibility of that occurring to any considerable degree, that the Amendment has been moved.
§ Mr. Deakins
If this new quota system comes into effect, is it not a possibility that for films in the future there could be a new Gresham's law, that bad films would drive out good, and that we should have the same type of films, whether made in this country or in the Community, competing with each other in the way one can see in some television programmes—for example, competing with those of the BBC for the maximum audiences? Ts that not something to be deplored?
§ Mr. Jenkins
I am grateful to my hon. Friend. That is indeed one of the possibilities which we seek to guard against by this series of Amendments. Although in the future—we do not seek to argue this at this stage—we shall get a Community quota rather than a British quota, the quota will continue to be British if the Amendment is carried to the extent that any co-production films included in it will be at least part British. That is all that the Amendment seeks to achieve.
This is a simple thing, a modest proposal. If it is rejected there could be only one reason for that, and that is that debate, argument and reason are beating their heads in vain against an undemocratic decision by the Government to listen to nothing. I hope that that will not be so tonight. We have had something of that already. Amendments which have seemed to me to be reasonable in themselves have been thrown out for what appear to be inadequate reasons. I hope that the Government will show tonight that they are not in the position of refusing anything and everything that is put to them in principle in order to avoid, as has been suggested, a Report stage.
§ Mr. Phillip Whitehead (Derby, North)
To reinforce what my hon. Friend has said, would he accept that many of us who accept the principle of entry into the Community think that his Amendments are reasonable and that they go to the point for the film industry and not to the point of principle on entry to the Community? If the Bill is not 1504 to be steamrollered through Parliament, we feel that the Government ought to listen to my hon. Friend's arguments.
§ Mr. Jenkins
I could not be more grateful to my hon. Friend for his remarks. He and I differ strongly about the principle of entry. He knows that I am not in favour, Equally, I know that he is in favour in principle. That he should give his wholehearted support to these Amendments will be an encouragement to hon. Members on the Government benches to treat this issue on its merits and not on the basis of prepared positions.
If the Government are not prepared to make any change and are ready to sacrifice anything, even the viability of this British industry, which has a great deal of credit and has been a very good industry from our point of view, especially in its dollar earning capacity—which is not at its peak at present, although the industry has earned vast amounts of dollars in the past and may do so again—that undoubtedly would seriously damage the industry. Not to permit the opportunity of minor amendment to mitigate the damage would be an action about which the Government would be unable to hold up their heads easily. If the Government decided to do that in order to avoid further discussion and to keep the Bill unchanged, however badly it may need changing, in the cause of a blind determination to get into the Community, that would make a mockery of Parliament. I sincerely hope that the Government will not do that.
Amendment No. 203 simply seeks to ensure that no Community film gets quota status where a British film might not. It underlines the position. It merely says "Let us have a real equality here." That is all that it seeks to do. It seeks no privileges but would merely make sure that competition is fair. It places the British film on a level with—but not superior to—the Community film.
This Amendment should be entirely acceptable to the Government. It is no use saying that it is unnecessary. A possible answer from the Government would be either that the Amendment cannot be accepted because it goes to the root of the EEC principles or that the Amendment is unnecessary. But that simply will not wash, because the record shows that many holes have been driven 1505 through legislation in the past merely because someone thought that it was unnecessary to spell it out. The Amendment spells it out, and that is necessary if the British film industry is to be protected from being undermined by Community films in an unfair fashion.
Amendment No. 124 goes a little further. It seeks to prevent an American-financed Community film from acquiring British quota status. American-financed films could be made in Italy or, perhaps, Spain. There is nothing to prevent co-productions of this kind which are made in third countries from obtaining British quota status and the benefits that that entails provided that they conform to British quota requirements. Surely a film which has no claim to be British in any other sense of the word should not acquire British quota status. The Amendment seeks to block unfair competition which would be created because of the peculiar nature of the British industry and its history, which is so different from that of the Continental industry.
Amendment No. 125 excludes from the quota any film dubbed into English. This means that to get quota status a film must be genuinely British, although it may be made abroad, or it must be a genuine foreign film with sub-titles. It cannot be a phoney. Amendment No. 126 seeks to ensure that films made in any of the ten countries of the enlarged Community which qualify under the new Community quota must in other respects conform to British film legislation. Surely this is not unreasonable. Surely it is not too much to ask.
New Clause 5 summarises what we are trying to achieve. It perhaps says the same thing as the other Amendments but in another way. If the Government agree with the principle and offer to bring forward a Clause of their own on Report I would ask my hon. Friends not to press the new Clause, the wording of which may not be technically as good as is desirable.
The group of Amendments seek to protect the British film industry and they offer the Government a choice. At one end are Amendments so mild that they might be thought to be hardly necessary. But they are very necessary. If the Government will accept any one of these Amendments—and I can see no reason 1506 why they should not accept them all, although they might want to reword the new Clause—I would advise my hon. Friends not to press all the other Amendments to a Division.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ The Amendments have been moved on behalf of the industry as a whole, and not only on behalf of the performers, although I have a close and personal interest in the performing union.
§ If the Government refuse to accept the Amendments I hope that hon. Members on both sides will say that there are limits beyond which they cannot be dragooned. Even if they favour entry into the EEC as quickly as possible, I hope they will say that they do not want to be delivered bound, gagged and trussed into the Community but that they want to go in under reasonable circumstances with reasonable protection and not have to go in willy-nilly. I hope the Government will not say that the Bill as drafted is perfect in every way and that they cannot accept these most reasonable Amendments, which are supported even by people who are passionate Europeans.
§ This may be the last chance for hon. Members to say that there are some prices which are too high to pay and that they are not prepared to let the power and standing of the House be eroded even for a cause which is as dear to their hearts as I know entry into the EEC must be. Nothing should demand a sacrifice of that magnitude; no end can justify such a means. I put forward the Amendments in the sincere hope that the Government will say that they recognise that they constitute a reasonable and proper proposal and that they are prepared to accept them.
§ Mr. J. Selwyn Gummer (Lewisham, West)
The hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) has proposed his Amendments in a clear and restrained manner, especially when we consider the strong feelings on the main issue before us. But he has proposed that they are of a very limited nature and he says that it is reasonable, therefore, for hon. Members to consider whether they might properly support them apart from the main question.
I believe the hon. Member is wrong. The very nature of the Amendments strikes perhaps not at the basis of the Bill but at the basis and feeling behind the 1507 EEC. The Amendments propose that the film industry, apart from all other industries, should be put into a permanent position of receiving superior treatment to that afforded to the film industries in the other Community countries. It would be worth considering what that means and what the Amendments therefore seek to achieve.
The Amendments seek to cut down the basic principle of total equality of trading within the European Economic Community. The suggestion is that certain safeguards shall be provided in the British market for the British film. Is there something inherent in the nature of film-making in general and in Britain in particular which demands that it, of all industries, should be given this specific protection? I believe that there is not.
For many years we have had a form of protection for the British film industry, which has primarily been to protect it from American products. As the hon. Gentleman said, we share a common language, to some degree anyway. It has been suggested that it would be right for us to see to it that in continuing this policy the British film—manufactured in Britain with American capital, perhaps, but the British film as it would be denned today under the film quota arrangements—is protected from films manufactured in other countries of the enlarged Community. I believe that that is objectionable in principle and wholly wrong, because it is to suggest that we are so afraid that our film industry cannot stand up to reasonable and fair competition that we must provide it with a special protection.
The hon. Gentleman said that he is not afraid of fair competition but does not want unfair competition. But that is precisely what he is proposing to give the British film industry. He wants to give it an unfair position within the enlarged Community. He wants to say that a film produced in Britain shall have certain positive advantages in Britain which are not available to the other members of the EEC. But our intention and purpose in entering the EEC is to enable us to have a market with 10 nations, where there will be increasingly free trade among the partners. I am sure that those of my hon. Friends who are opposed to 1508 our entry into the EEC on the grounds that there is not enough free trade, that it is not a big enough grouping, would not want a situation in which the British film industry alone among film industries was given that protection.
§ Mr. Whitehead
The hon. Gentleman suggests that there would be unfair discrimination against the Europeans in this respect if we were to protect the film industry. By the same token, why are we not including in the Bill an Amendment to, for example, the Television Acts, 1954 and 1964, which protect us against undue American influence and competition and the inflow of American products into the television industry, an analagous industry if ever there was one?
§ Mr. Gummer
The Bill contains all those things that must be included for our accession into the EEC. The argument is that it may well be necessary to change the laws in respect of protection of the film industry. But the hon. Member for Putney suggested that the changes we wish to make are not the right ones but that other changes should be made. I believe the changes the hon. Gentleman wishes to make are thoroughly bad in regard to both our relationship with the EEC and the film industry.
§ Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)
When the hon. Gentleman says "must", will he define the word a little more closely? Does he means that there have been negotiations or discussions with the countries in Europe and that we have put up proposals along the lines my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) suggests, and that they have been rejected? Does he mean that we must do it legally or morally, or as a necessity for entering Europe? Does he really think that this is one of the sticking points?
§ Mr. Gummer
I suspect that we have discussed this with the hon. Gentleman in almost every debate we have had. The use of the word "must" is the reasonable one of saying that there is a whole series of areas where we must legislate if we are to carry out what are clearly the obligations both of the treaties we have signed and of the original treaties and the amendments to them. Clearly, we cannot have a situation in which the British reserve to themselves in their own market 1509 30 per cent. of the films, because we are to be part of a Community in which we treat each other equally. That is what we are setting out to do. We cannot say that there is something about the film industry which is so special as to mean that we must do precisely what the hon. Gentleman is implying that we must have a special negotiation about the film industry which does not apply to the publishing industry or any other communications industry. My suggestion is, therefore, that the film industry of all industries least needs this protection.
The hon. Member for Putney said that there have been many arrangements made with other countries within the Common Market and outside to make sure that their films, in a separate production, can be accepted within our quota. I know that to be true. But let us ask ourselves why it has been done. It has been done in order to protect not the film industry but the present arrangements of the industry. The hon. Gentleman says that it is to protect the industry against lower wage rates and inferior conditions. In our previous debate he pointed out that many American spectaculars were made in this country because we made them cheaper, and it is evidently reasonable to have lower wage rates in this country to make films cheaper than the Americans. But when people start asking whether it is reasonable to have the enormous overloading of labour in the British film industry, with its increasing costs because of the restrictive practices which are paramount in the industry, the hon. Gentleman has to admit that the industry is not at its finest flowering at present. He had to use as his examples past occasions when we earned dollars in such profusion. Why should he have had to do that? It is precisely because the British film industry has priced itself out of the market. It is asking for the kind of protection which would enable it at least for some time to continue in that thoroughly unhealthy state.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
The hon. Gentleman has perhaps not realised exactly what he is saying. It is the case that at one time we were undercutting the American levels, so much so that the situation in Hollywood was very serious, and people used to talk about runaway production. Now the production money is finding cheaper and cheaper areas. The Ameri- 1510 can film industry was undoubtedly done great damage in the period to which I have referred, and our own will be done great damage if we allow it to travel into other countries. The hon. Gentleman cannot be enunciating the proposition that it is wrong for any country to protect its national film industry in any way.
§ Mr. Gummer
I am enunciating two principles. The first is that we should not so arrange matters as to protect an industry which has increasingly priced itself out of the market by totally artificial restrictive practices. Let us take a single example. If someone wishes to make a British film on location in Spain and he needs a door which has to be painted yellow instead of blue, he has to take a British painter there and keep him there not for the time it takes him to paint the door but for the whole period for which the filming will go on. That kind of restrictive practice is surely not something we are to write into the law of the land again? We have already done it by our present system, and many of us are very unhappy about that system. We feel that it is operated by the film industry as a means of retaining restrictive practices which are quite unsuitable. The argument is that American capital can come in and be used in France to make a film which can then be sold as part of the quota in Britain. That is to cover up the fact that at present American capital can come into Britain and a film can be made here which will become part of the quota in Britain. Therefore, what the hon. Gentleman is saying is that for this industry alone there shall be an arrangement whereby Britain shall be treated separately from all the other countries of the EEC.
§ [Sir ROBKRT GRANT-FERRIS in the Chair]
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ That is a perfectly reasonable argument to advance; it can be said, but it cannot then be suggested that it does not strike at the heart of the reason for our entry into the Community. We are entering the Community because we believe that by removing the trade barriers, by ensuring that people can compete fairly and equally within the enlarged Community, we shall create wealth which we would not otherwise create. If we believe that, it is wrong to suggest that the film industry 1511 should be specially treated without expressing that there is something innately different about the film industry from, for example, the publishing industry. It is for this reason that I suggest that the publishing industry is the exactly equal parallel. There is a scope for British co-productions in the publishing industry.
§ One of our problems is that many people in other countries are more efficient at producing co-productions than we are. We are not suggesting that a whole new Clause should be produced to secure that the British publishing industry shall have a special protection against the publishing industries of the rest of the Community. The hon. Gentleman will no doubt say that there was never an agreement about that for the publishing industry but that there was for the film industry and that, as there was such an agreement for the film industry, we should continue with the arrangement.
§ I suggest that this is not an argument which should stand up. For many of us the present situation is unsatisfactory. Many of us are asking why this protection should continue unless it can be shown to have created a virile and lively British film industry which can stand up to anything but unfair competition and needs this protection merely against unfair competition.
§ The hon. Gentleman, in proposing these changes, has not suggested that it is unfair competition. He has merely suggested that it is competition, and that it is competition which he would prefer not to have to face. That is a very odd argument, particularly from someone who I have heard argue before that one of the great disadvantages of the Community is that it is too small and far too limited an area. It is not an argument that will appeal to those hon. Members on this side who believe that the Common Market is to be opposed because it is too narrow a grouping.
§ The hon. Gentleman went on to argue that the reason for Amendment No. 121 was also to protect a dangerously placed British film industry against films coming in which would price out good films. I believe that the phrase he accepted from one of his hon. Friends was that bad films would drive out good ones. This is a hark back to the debate we had earlier on the film industry, when the hon. 1512 Gentleman suggested that one of the troubles about having a European film industry would be that we should drop to the lowest denominator, that somehow the countries which had produced Antonioni and Fellini would drop much lower than we would. The hon. Gentleman made quotations about Engelbert Humperdinck, who, he thought, would be the staple diet of all films produced in this country by a European film industry. This is not true. Further, it is not affected by the Amendment that he suggests will affect it.
§ The idea that all bad films are made on the Continent and all good films are made in Britain is not only just not true, but, unfortunately, it is very nearly the reverse of the truth. Anyone who went to any of the European capitals today and looked at the British films on show would be hard put to it to argue that they—whether "Up the Chastity Belt" or "Double Deckers"—are of a higher intellectual and cultural level than the films which are produced in France and Germany.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
The hon. Gentleman is erecting a series of Aunt Sallys and knocking them down. He is not addressing his arguments to the Amendments. Nobody has suggested that all British films are good and all foreign films are bad. Why not treat the argument seriously? The hon. Gentleman is not dealing with a serious proposition. He is talking wind. Why not talk about the Amendments?
§ Mr. Gummer
The hon. Gentleman, if he feels that the arguments he put forward are such that they cannot be treated seriously, is of course right. The fact is that hon. Gentlemen will have heard him say that one of the reasons for Amendment No. 121 was that it would stop bad films from driving out good films. I am trying to answer that statement. If the hon. Gentleman thinks that it was such a silly argument that it is not worth answering, I will move from that and go on to his argument on the other Amendments.
The hon. Gentleman suggested that it is important to ensure that no film which fails in any respect to comply with the Films Act, 1960, shall qualify as a quota film. The hon. Gentleman suggested that this may be said to be 1513 unnecessary and, therefore, we on this side should accept the Amendment because it would at least underline the situation—in other words, that it would be unfair to say that the Amendment is unnecessary and he wants to ensure that no foreign film will have an advantage over a British one.
The only reason for this Amendment being tabled is the spirit of the other Amendments which the hon. Gentleman has tabled. Without those other Amendments, everybody accepts as reasonable that within the EEC all films produced within the Community shall be treated equally. Everybody realises that that is the basis of our entry into the Community; that is why we are doing it.
Immediately that the hon. Gentleman proposes that there should, by tariff restrictions, be a special position for British films, people start asking whether there should not be an arrangement to ensure that some films be treated more equally than others. The hon. Gentleman must accept that his Amendment is unnecessary. It is an odd argument that an Amendment which is unnecessary should be allowed to go through on the basis that, because it is unnecessary, it should be added to the Bill.
§ Mr. Gummer
The hon. Gentleman must accept that if we were to proceed on the basis he has advocated we should have added a very large number of unnecessary Clauses to the Bill just to ensure that everybody realised that this or that industry was covered or was not covered by something by which it clearly is or is not covered.
It would be wrong to accept the Amendment, partially because it is unnecessary and partially because it pronounces within itself a truism which the hon. Gentleman should have accepted from the beginning; namely, that either we join the Community upon the basis that we treat all its members equally or we do not joint the Community. If we do not want to join the Community, 1514 that is perfectly reasonable and it can be argued through.
It must not be suggested that a derogation from that basic principle is of no import, that it does not matter that it is being done only to ensure that everybody is clear what it is all about, that it is being done for this industry only because there is a specific case for it.
I turn lastly to the proposal that there should be some restriction on capital financing from a non-Community country. The hon. Gentleman has suggested that within the Community there shall be two classes of film—that a film made in Britain financed by an American company could go into the quota, but a film made in France financed by an American company would be excluded from the quota.
That stark statement makes it clear why the Amendments are not acceptable, because there it is being said that, instead of joining the Community which is to have free trade, we are to join the Community which will have some free trade except for the film industry, which will have a different arrangement.
If the hon. Gentleman had suggested, as I believe he hinted the last time we discussed the matter, that the various authorities in the European film industry were getting together to see whether there was not a better way jointly to protect the European film industry from unfair competition from outside, I would have been with him all the way along the line. Indeed, perhaps the remarks of those in opposition to him might be reported in his Equity newspaper, as well as his own remarks this time if we were able to agree on something. But that is not what he is suggesting. He has not suggested that that is what we should do.
The reason why the hon. Gentleman has not suggested that, the reason for these Amendments, the reason why the hon. Gentleman has not suggested that that is the Community's answer, which I myself would hope the Minister in reply would support, is simply that he does not actually want to join the Common Market at all. It is all very well for him to say, as he has said, that his is an entirely neutral position, although he agrees that he is opposed to our entering the Common Market. But many of the troubles in the British film industry at 1515 the moment have been created by those who have been using this issue, as others have used Commonwealth sugar, and others have used other issues, in order to be, so to say, more Catholic than the Pope. Commonwealth islands can agree that the arrangements for sugar are O K, but the British Labour Party has to go one better and say they are not good enough; New Zealanders can say that the arrangements for New Zealand are O K, but the British Labour Party must go one better and say they are not.
The British film industry widely disputes the argument put forward by the hon. Gentleman. There are many people in the British film industry, including many senior directors, who want to see a British film industry which can stand on its own feet and compete and not be run out of the market by the kind of arrangement which the hon. Gentleman would perpetuate to eternity. There are many people in the British film industry who believe that our entry into the Community would give our industry enormous chances to show our films throughout the Community.
These Amendments, if we were to pass them, would mean, even if they were compatible with our obligations were we to enter the Community, that the French, German, Italian, and Benelux film industries would be able to demand a similar situation. What would that mean? It would mean that our great advantage in being able to export, very often unchanged, English films in English, and show them much more widely on the Continent than, for instance, German films can be shown in this country—the great advantages which would eventually accrue to our industry within the Community—would be quickly undermined.
It is for that reason that I believe it was wrong for the hon. Gentleman to suggest in his first words that these Amendments are really very limited in their nature, that they do not strike at the heart of the issue. They do strike at the heart of the issue, not only of the issue of the Common Market but of the free trade issue. Those hon. Members who believe in free trade cannot support these Amendments because they are in restraint of trade, and they are meant to be in restraint of trade; and they are meant 1516 to be in restraint of trade without any argument to say that the British film industry is not so well run, not so efficiently organised, that it is reasonable, rational and acceptable to protect it. Indeed, the hon. Gentleman at no point was able to adduce an argument against the widely held view—as I know it to be from my own experience in producing films—and very true statement about the British film industry that if only it would put its own house in order it would be able to win new markets throughout the world. But it is afraid to do so, and because it is afraid to do so it demands of the House a protection which the House refuses to extend to any other industry.
§ Mr. Wilfred Proudfoot (Brighouse and Spenborough)
I rise to oppose the Amendments because I do not think they are in the true interest of competition. The first time I came across the quota on films was in my first job when one of my tasks was to add up the footage and make sure that enough British films were displayed. Then I learned that there was some evil legislation created in this Chamber which stopped me from seeing the films I most enjoyed, while a lot of rubbish came from British studios at that time. There has been quite a change since then.
The hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) tried to conceal his anti-Common Market views, but what he said was pure protectionism, and all these Amendments are, I believe, wrecking. That kind of protectionism marks the hon. Member as being a Little Englander rather than a mini-British Lion.
Quite frankly, I am surprised that we have to have this Clause about the film industry. The figures for the last year for which I have them show that the value of film exhibition—I am not talking about the production side—was £59 million in this country. That £59 million is about half the size of the cat and dog food trade, and the cat and dog food trade has never been subsidised. The whole effect of this Clause 8 is so minor that I cannot see why the hon. Member wants to propose any Amendment to it. Well, I can see why he wants to: he wants to wreck the Bill, or he wants to lose a couple of weeks in August.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ I have read through the EEC directives on the film industry quota. There is none of these directives coming out of Brussels with which I cannot agree. They are purely to create competition, and fair competition within the European context. Their rules will help to make a better European film industry.
§ We cannot discuss this matter without looking at the effect of television on the film trade. It is intriguing to me that I should find myself speaking on this matter tonight because last Saturday night another cinema in my constituency closed, and next Saturday the last cinema in my constituency closes. I have now a constituency without a cinema. That cannot be too unusual. It is a sign of the times. This second wave of television experience, with the effect of colour television, which is now going into more and more people's homes, will have effects on the film industry and the film market. The exhibition of films must be shrinking all the time.
§ I have checked on the television figures in Europe. The latest figures show that France has nearly 11 million television sets; Germany nearly 18 million; Luxembourg 62,000; Belgium nearly 3 million; Italy nearly 10 million; the Netherlands 3 million; and we here now have about 17million—61 million television sets in the whole of the Community plus ourselves. This must have some effect on the Community's attitude and our attitude towards the film industry in this country.
§ Surely the future of the film industry is not so much in exhibiting films in conventional cinemas as in producing—and "production" is the operative word here—films and getting them on to TV cassettes and even cable television. At some day in the near future the Common Market will obviously legislate for what happens about cable television and cassette TV, as America is doing right now. There will have to be feed-back from houses as well as feed-in. I can see the day when the British film industry will be part of the European film industry, and production will go up, and the production will all be put on the cassette, and I believe that there will be a central library within each nation, and that viewers will not go out to the cinema 1518 but will be able to dial their programmes. This is in the future. Presumably we shall be involved after 1st January in the setting up of the kind of legislation which will make sure that the creative people are able to get their payment from the people viewing their products.
§ I believe that the rules in the Common Market are for free competition, and I am convinced that this means great creativity. The creative people should not hide themselves behind a network of restrictive practices. That is totally at variance with their being the kind of people I believe they should be. I am quite sure that talent is prepared to move throughout the whole of Europe. Indeed, it is easier to move throughout Europe. When I think about the matter that way, and remember how easy it is to move around Europe today, I am convinced that the film industry will look forward to moving around Europe and sending its products around Europe.
§ In my view, Amendment No. 121 is a wrecking Amendment, and it is in direct contravention of the EEC directives. Amendment No. 126 is also a wrecking Amendment which will nullify the eligibility of Community films to be counted towards the United Kingdom quota. Each one of the Amendments is designed to give a specific form of protection to the United Kingdom industry which the rest of Europe will not enjoy. The Amendments are absolutely at variance with the whole ethic of going into Europe and I cannot possibly support them. I support the Government on the Clause.
§ Mr. Michael Foot
I wish to make only a brief contribution to reply to one or two remarks made by the hon. Members for Lewisham, West (Mr. Selwyn Gummer) and Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Proudfoot), and to give the reasons why we on this side of the Committee support the Amendments, especially in view of the attitude expressed by the hon. Gentlemen, which shows a misunderstanding of the view we seek to present.
I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough when he says that it is odd that there should be a Clause of this monumental size dealing with the film industry in a Bill of this character. Of course the 1519 Bill is extremely lopsided. It is extraordinary that the Clause dealing with the film industry should be four times longer than the essential Clause dealing with most of the other industries in the land. It is a sign that the Government decided to deal with the film industry in a different way from the way in which they dealt with many other industries which have been protected.
I intervene to ask for an explanation of the negotiations with European countries on these matters. There have been no reports to the House of Commons about such negotiations, although I presume that a Clause of this character would have been introduced only after such discussions. I should like to know exactly what was the nature of those discussions and whether, before the Government negotiated with the European countries concerned, they asked for the views of certain sections of the British film industry. For example, did they ask for the views of the unions?
The hon. Member for Lewisham, West poured scorn on what might be regarded as restrictive practices that might operate in part of the industry. We all know that in the film industry, in the newspaper industry, with which I have been associated, and even in the publishing industry, with which he is associated, one can always pick out examples of restrictive practices and make them sound comic. But if one looks at the origin of many of the restrictive practices in the film industry and other industries one finds the reason why they have arisen and why it is foolish to deride practices which have grown up for reputable reasons.
Scorn has been poured on the quota system, although hon. Gentlemen have praised continental films. I agree that some of the finest films that have ever been produced have come from Italy, Germany and France—and we are eager to see them. But practically all those films have been created in industries which are protected by quota systems.
The hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough spoke derisively of any quota system in the film industry and mentioned other creative industries which do not need protection. We should all like a system in which such protections and shields were not necessary, but it so happens that all the European film indus- 1520 tries that have prospered have had to be protected by a quota system at one time or another. All the industries to which tributes have been paid have prospered because at a certain period in their lives they have had the advantage either of quota systems or of Eady type subsidies.
It is fantasy for hon. Gentlemen opposite to suggest that what has made film industries prosper throughout the world is the pure milk of the gospel of free trade. It is not so. So powerful was the American film industry and so powerful was American finance that the British film industry, along with other continental film industries, had to seek a means of ensuring that they were not drowned altogether by it. That is perfectly reputable and reasonable.
The film union, the ACTT, has always campaigned for a quota to withstand the overpowering force of American competition. The ACTT had many other items in its creed which have never been carried out by Governments of either complexion. Indeed, if they had been, the industry would have been better still. The film industries of Europe had the benefit of similar systems and it is therefore no use talking of free trade as the method by which all these matters should be settled.
In all the debates, whether on sugar, food or other matters, we on this side of the Committee have proved ourselves to be much better free traders than have hon. Gentlemen opposite. But, as in all other matters, we are not dogmatic free traders; we are discriminating free traders, and that has always been our policy. We are not indiscriminate protectionists like the members of the Liberal Party, who are in favour of taxing everything, starting with food. We are discriminating protectionists, discriminating free traders. We are in favour of free trade wherever it can be secured. We want free trade to spread much wider than the narrow limits of Europe. We object to the proposals for establishing new barriers in Europe, particularly when applied to essential commodities such as food.
Because the Government have selected the film industry for a special Clause of monumental, mammoth size in this miniscule Bill, they have directed special attention to it and have said that special 1521 arrangements must be made for it. All right, but we say that if we are to make special arrangements let us take into account what has happened in our industry and in the continental industries over the years and see whether the arrangements are being properly applied.
The Amendments do not strike at the heart of the EEC, as the hon. Member for Lewisham, West suggested, in one of his more euphoric passages. They do nothing of the sort, and he knows perfectly well that they are not striking at the heart of anything. These are minor Amendments on minor aspects of the Bill. If the Amendments were accepted Europe would not be shaken. The Brussels Commission would not summon the negotiators to explain themselves. The Amendments would not produce a ripple on the surface, and nothing in Europe would be altered. They do not alter the main purpose of the Clause but merely make minor modifications in the way in which special provision is to be made for the film industry.
The Amendments have the support of the people who work in the industry, people who have had experience in the industry and people who know what it has meant when the film industry has been left to the mercies of free trade and nothing else. Those hon. Members who remember some of the debates concerning the film industry going back over the years, will remember the arguments which we have had as to why it was necessary for some special provisions to be made in the form not only of quotas but of National Film Finance Corporation money or Eady balances. It was the Labour Government after 1945 who laid down some provisions which prevented the British film industry from being destroyed. In the same way we do not want to rush into measures now which we believe could be injurious to the industry. To secure that we have proposed this modest Amendment.
§ [Mr. JOHN BREWIS in the Chair]
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ I hope that when the Under-Secretary replies he will give us a full account of the negotiations which took place, the representations which the Government made to their partners in Europe, and whether the negotiations followed dis- 1522 cussions with the industry here and particularly with the people who work in the industry, the unions. After we have been given an account of those proceedings, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will tell us what he thinks of these minor Amendments and why he thinks—if he does so think—that they should not be incorporated in the Bill. I hope that in any case we shall not have to have an extensive debate on the fundamentals of the European Economic Community, which is plainly a principle which does not enter into this debate.
§ Mr. Robert Cooke (Bristol, West)
In following the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) I shall not attempt to answer the questions which he has addressed to the Government. I have no doubt that they will treat them with whatever seriousness they deserve. I do not propose to tangle with the hon. Gentleman on any political matters, except to say that he is always most persuasive in Committee. One always feels one is only being asked to do something small and reasonable when the hon. Member is addressing the House in his more reasonable frame of mind, which is most of the time except when he gets excited. But all the minor things which the hon. Gentleman is asking the Committee to do would add up to a lot when put together. We must be wary in falling for what he has suggested. That is all I wish to say about the hon. Gentleman. If he has more urgent matters to attend to elsewhere, he need not stay and listen to me.
My hon. Friend the Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Proudfoot) as usual reduced everything to its lowest terms. I have seldom heard my hon. Friend make a speech on any subject in which I am interested when the dog food, cat food or something else which he has on sale in his excellent supermarket does not somehow get worked in. My hon. Friend is an example of somebody who can move with the times, who is eminently flexible in his approach.
My hon. Friend began by saying that television had had a big influence on the film industry. How right he was. Television is a new art form which is changing all the time. He is quite right about the partnership which should exist, and can become more close, between television and the film industry. It is true 1523 that certain types of film have not been very satisfactory when shown on the sort of television screens which we have had up to now. However, with the more universal enjoyment of colour, and means of projection far different from when television first came on the scene, such films can be enjoyed in the home not only through transmission but by cassette and cable, as my hon. Friend rightly said.
The cinema could survive if it were prepared, as some cinemas have been, to move with the times. The public house was thought to be a dying institution until the brewers woke up and improved facilities so that the public house became a place where the family could enjoy themselves. Cinemas could do a certain amount in that direction. I am sorry that my hon. Friend did not become involved in the organisation of the two cinemas in Brighouse and Spenborough. If he had been so involved, with all his methods they would still be open.
§ Mr. Cooke My hon. Friend would no doubt have kept the railway line open as well, but he cannot do everything. He used to represent Cleveland, and I hope that Cleveland is getting on all right without him.
§ The hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) gave us a great history of the film industry. He explained that because of American competition in the same language as ours—some might argue with that, but at any rate a reasonably intelligible language claiming to be the same—protectionism was introduced, with which we are now attempting to deal in the Clause, and which he wants further to bolster by the Amendments.
§ I was glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Selwyn Gummer) made the point about the costs of making films here and why that has resulted in people trying to make films elsewhere. Although based in this country, people try to cut their costs by going elsewhere. I do not know whether one has to take a painter to Spain to paint a door and keep him there all the time, but if my hon. Friend says so it must be so. It is a matter about which one could easily quarrel, but it is typical of the principle which pervades the film industry and television. Nobody could deny 1524 that there are a great many surplus people who have to be employed for one reason or another. One could say that that is a justifiable attitude if it will mean the stable and continued employment of people whose jobs are threatened. However, it has had the opposite effect, and they have priced themselves out of the market.
§ The point of Clause 8 is to place the Community on equal terms with us. I do not quarrel with that at all. What safeguards are removed by Clause 8? We have had a lot of talk about British films made here with American capital and British films made in Italy with British capital, and so on. One surely cannot quarrel with the situation where the film industry is doing its best to cross frontiers. Going into Europe to participate on equal terms must surely be a good thing. I favour anything that is in Clause 8 that that will make it easier for a sharing of resources and a pooling of ideas.
§ The hon. Member for Putney in his Amendments is just a deal too timid. What have we to fear from the competition of films made in Europe? If British films are bad and foreign films are better, then British films had better pull their socks up, try to meet the competition and beat it. It is no use thinking that one can bolster up by protectionism an industry that cannot make its way in the world.
§ The hon. Member talked about protection against unfair competition. One can protect industry—I am not talking about the film industry—against the dumping of cheap goods or goods purchased below the cost of their production because they are surplus, which occurs with commodities like cheap textiles or surplus food products of one kind or another; but it is hardly true to place the film industry and films in the same category. Films are works of art. When people go to the cinema they do not go just for the sake of seeing any film. That might have been the position years ago when the film industry flourished and television had not made its mark. In those days people made a Saturday evening trip to the cinema or, if it was full, they would go on a Friday, regardless of what the film was. That age has passed away. People now go to see the film of their choice. A little more Continental influence in our cinema would 1525 be like a fresh breeze; art would be crossing frontiers.
§ My hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West made the point—I also had it in mind before he spoke—that we have no frontiers regarding books, painting and music. One might reflect what would be the position of Mr. Handel, a German who came to this country and is now regarded as our greatest composer, if the hon. Member for Putney had been on the scene with some of his restrictive legislation before that gentleman came to our shores.
§ Mr. Cooke
The hon. Gentleman says "Rubbish". I am delighted to think that he knows how he would have acted back in the eighteenth century.
Surely the best protection for the film industry—I speak of the European film industry—is that it should have the widest possible audience. The EEC has its market, if one can use such a crude term for an art form—a very costly art form as far as production goes. Obviously, if the money does not come into the box office the films do not pay and no more can be made. But if we have a firm European market, who knows, we may be able to go further. We may also see more European films gaining a place in the American market. Why look only across the Atlantic? Why not to Asia and beyond?
The Japanese are in London this week mopping up some of the best pieces at some of the great auction sales that are taking place. They have suddenly become most interested in our art of all kinds. With a firm European market, no doubt we can spread ourselves all over the world.
I believe that our film industry could eventually die in isolation if those like the hon. Member for Putney had their way, but that it can flourish in a healthy partnership in Europe. We owe a great artistic debt to many of our European friends. The way that our European neighbours have left their mark upon our life is here for all to see every day. Why not, for a change, try to repay this debt? Let us use some of our influence in Europe. We can do that all the better if we leave Clause 8 alone by setting aside the restrictive Amendments proposed by the hon. Member for Putney.
§ Mr. Richard Body (Holland with Boston)
When my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Selwyn Gummer) looks hard at me and says no free trader can support the Amendment, I must be chary as to which Lobby I go into tonight. Perhaps my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary could help to guide my steps by answering a few questions.
First, will my hon. Friend tell me something about the Eady Levy and its future? As I understand Regulation 1612 of 1968, that levy will become illegal. If so, may I ask whether my hon. Friend has received any representations from the British film industry about it? What effect will it have on the British film industry? Can any levy or subsidy take its place if we enter the Community?
Next, I should like to ask about the definitions which are to be used if the Bill remains unamended. Going through some of the directives and digesting them as best I can, which is not very well, the definitions seem linguistic rather than national. If so, what is to happen about the American film in our market? Will my hon. Friend answer that very important question, because it would certainly influence me as to which Lobby I go into?
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Peter Emery)
The debate has given us another opportunity to discuss the film industry. I will deal with the points which have been raised in the debate and then spend a little time dealing individually with the specific Amendments, as did the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins). We had a detailed debate on some of these Amendments, which has not always been possible, in some of our discussions on earlier Amendments.
I welcome the desire of the hon. Member for Putney—it is also a desire of the Government—to see a strong film industry in this country. Certain of the statements made by the hon. Gentleman could be taken to imply that the Government were not interested in this matter. It is therefore important to make it clear that that is far from the truth. We wish to see a strong, progressive and, indeed, high quality film industry able to stand, for preference, on its own feet.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ The Government's desire to achieve this, by giving aid to the film industry, ought not to be challenged. Advances of £7½ million within a total of £11 million authorised by the films legislation have so far been made to the National Film Finance Corporation. On 8th May—Hansard, c. 253—my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State announced the advance of another £1 million, bringing the figure up to £2½ million out of the further £5 million which was allowed under that legislation. That is £2½ million out of £5 million which is available up to 1980. On pure assistance grounds, nobody could suggest that the Government were not doing what is necessary—indeed, some of my hon. Friends might think the Government were doing too much with public funds—to assist the film industry.
§ We ought to differentiate between the two terms, the "British film" and the "British quota film". This is important because a British film is not necessarily a British quota film and does not always qualify for benefit from what is now known as the Eady Levy.
§ I should like to answer quickly and directly the two questions posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Holland with Boston (Mr. Body). The Eady Levy will not be illegal. It will continue in its present form, being affected only by the two points dealt with in the Clause.
§ My hon. Friend asked about the position of the American film. The relevant definitions will be: the British film, the British quota film, the Community film and the foreign film. The American film will, as now, be in the foreign film category. I understand the problems in the interpretation of some of the directives. Therefore, I thought it might help to spell out these definitions for my hon. Friend in response to his two direct questions. I hope that that might help to guide his feet in the right direction.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
Will the hon. Gentleman clarify one point about the 1528 Eady Levy? Will he tell us—because there is genuine doubt about it, certainly in my mind—whether a co-production film of the type described by his hon. Friend would qualify for the Eady Levy if the other conditions were satisfied? Could a film which is not essentially British in that sense expect to qualify quota-wise for Eady Levy participation?
§ Mr. Emery
I shall be coming to that matter, which is slightly more involved.
I was seeking to differentiate between the British film and the British quota film. The British film touches a number of areas. It includes films made by the British Government and by various Government Departments which involve a high degree of presentation of newsreel or old films, and others. It also relates to the reprocessing and presentation of films—for example, the presentation of films like "Gone with the Wind" for the seventh time or any other film which is re-presented after the five-year period.
My hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Selwyn Gummer) asked about special protection for the film industry and mentioned the problem of free competition. I fully understand the situation and it is an argument which it is right and proper should be raised on this Clause.
My hon. Friend the Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Proudfoot) was again seeking to make absolutely certain that there was as little protectionism as possible in all aspects of trade. His simile involving cat food, although perhaps not having much appeal for the film industry, will be remembered by many hon. Members who heard it.
My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) was concerned about ensuring a proper sharing of resources and pooling of artistic ideas. Personally, I would wish to do everything I could to encourage anything which will help to align us artistically with the great heritage of European culture. Obviously there is a need to encourage any activity which will help to continue that cultural heritage.
I turn to the points raised by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot). He asked about the various negotiations on these provisions. The Community's film legislation was discussed with an EEC Committee during the 1529 negotiations and the changes made in Clause 8 are the only changes thought to be necessary arising out of our discussions with the EEC.
The hon. Gentleman then asked what consultations had taken place on trading matters. I can tell him that in the negotiations the Department of Trade and Industry gave the fullest explanation of the effect of the Community rules on the industry. When I speak of "the industry" I refer to producers, renters, exhibitors and the Federation of Film Unions. I am referring to the industry right across the board rather than to specific individuals. I am glad to say that the industry has not made any representations for the terms of directives to be changed. This is a matter which should be noted when considering these Amendments.
Amendment No. 121 seeks to prevent a film made under a co-production agreement between a member State country and another country registered as a Community film being counted towards the quota. There are some instances where arrangements are necessary to meet the directives and these have been accepted by the industry. There are others which we feel will be beneficial to the industry. I think that it will be found that what the Amendment seeks to achieve will prove to be unnecessary.
The Clause, as drafted, provides for Community films—that is to say films taking the nationality of a member State, which by definition include films which are either co-productions or joint productions—to be registered in this country as Community films; those will count towards the quota of our films. This will apply to our cinemas in this country, with minor exceptions.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) said at the end of last year that it would be possible for the entire British quota to be filled by Community films. I would point out that conversely the entire French or Italian quota could be filled by British films. The interesting point to be remembered is that in most cinemas the projection of British films exceeds the quota—it is about 12 to 15 per cent. greater than the quota. However, the power to alter the level of quota still remains in our hands. If it were seen that the quota 1530 was being swelled by too many other films, the quota level could be raised. This will not be affected by any of the legislation here or by the directives.
The object of imposing obligations on cinemas is to encourage the production of films in the home country by ensuring that such films have at least a percentage of the total showing time. After our entry into the EEC, any national film of any member State would be accepted towards these quotas.
There is no ground for any suggestion that this is a back-door method by which United States-financed films made in English in some other European country will be counted as part of the quota films made here. The original version of such films must be recorded in the language, or in one of the languages, of the member State concerned. It would be possible to make a second or subsequent version in English. We must bear in mind that film producers in Europe have long welcomed United States investment in European film production. For reasons connected with our joining the EEC, United States investment has been much reduced, but there is likely to be much more investment coming into this country, with a cross-fertilisation of ideas between Great Britain and Europe.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Probert (Aberdare)
The hon. Gentleman has referred to "a Community language". Does he include in "a Community language" Welsh or. indeed, Gaelic? This is a very important point for Wales.
§ Mr. Shore
While reinforcements are rushed across to the hon. Gentleman, may I make sure that I have understood the point? Let us take, for example, an American or an Italian production, or an American-Italian joint production, using the English language, with the film being made in Italy. Would it count as part of the British quota, now to be the Community quota? Would it be counted, as it were, within whatever is the quota?
§ Mr. Emery
That is so, as long as it met the other quota requirements—such as a 75 to 80 per cent. British worker participation. If it met these requirements, it could obtain the levy, though there would have to be, of course, studio work in the United Kingdom. For the levy, there is a studio requirement. This is the aspect of the levy which is of most importance to the industry as a whole.
I can now answer the question put by the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. Probert). I am sorry to tell him that Welsh is not a Community language as such and that therefore Welsh, and, I suppose Gaelic, if it were termed as Scottish, would be dealt with under the quota arrangements as being within the British quota, as it is at the moment. The new arrangements bring no quota alterations in that respect. I hope that it is some assurance to the hon. Gentleman that there is neither benefit nor loss to the Welsh.
§ Mr. Elystan Morgan (Cardigan)
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that it is a disgraceful situation that the oldest living language in these islands, and a language which is spoken by upwards of 600,000 people in the United Kingdom, is nevertheless regarded as a foreign langauge? Will he and his colleagues undertake to look very carefully at this matter so that the Welsh langauge in this and in other matters shall not suffer the stigma of being a foreign language for Community purposes?
§ Mr. Emery
The film must be in the language or one of the languages of the country of origin. There is no doubt that the answer in the case of Welsh is "No", because Welsh is not a Community language. But it comes within the quota; the position remains as it is. There is no alteration. There is no serious problem as far as the position of the Welsh language is concerned.
§ Mr. Alfred Morris (Manchester, Wythenshawe)
The hon. Gentleman says that unfortunately Welsh is not a Community language. Is it the Government's view that it should be?
§ Mr. Selwyn Gummer
Will my hon. Friend confirm that the amount of money spent on film production in Wales at the moment is extremely small and that it would be very unlikely that its accession as a Community language would increase very much the number of people wishing to watch a film in Welsh?
§ Mr. Morgan
No, indeed. The hon. Gentleman told the Committee that the position of the Welsh language within the Community will be exactly the same as the position of the Welsh language in British law.
§ Mr. Morgan
The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that in British law the Welsh language has a special position under the Welsh Language Act, 1967. Is he saying that a corresponding provision will be written into the provisions of the EEC?
§ Mr. Emery
I am not saying what the hon. Gentleman is attempting to put into my mouth. What I said is that the position of the Welsh language under the Community quotas will be exactly the same as it is now. I do not intend to get drawn any further into this matter because it does not concern the Amendments, and I am certain that I am already out of order—and I do not like to be out of order.
1533 I was asked specifically about a co-production, made in Italy with American capital. I was asked whether this could come into Britain and obtain the levy. I hope that I have made it clear that the levy could be obtained only as long as the film met the other requirements which are quite definite and which exist at the moment. The only requirements we are getting rid of are those which deal specifically with British-based companies, the control and management of which are in the United Kingdom.
It will be seen, therefore, that the Amendments would bring no benefit to the film industry. Indeed, when consulted, the industry did not make any presentation in favour of them. I hope that with the assurances which I have given, the Committee will agree that it is not necessary to accept the Amendments.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
It is necessary to detain the Committee a little longer because the Under-Secretary of State has questioned some of the points I made earlier. It is true that the organisation and financing of the British film industry is repulsively complicated—so much so that I must congratulate the hon. Member for Holland with Boston (Mr. Body) on his valiant attempt to see how some of the Community legislation applies to our industry. I sympathise with him when he says that he found it complicated. It is indeed a very difficult industry. If I may say so without sounding patronising, the Under-Secretary of State seems to me to have grasped the essentials better than anyone else among hon. Members opposite, with the possible exception of the hon. Member for Holland with Boston.
The hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Selwyn Gummer) posed at one stage as a representative of the industry and at another stage as an attacker. He seemed to convey no fears about the Community arrangements. He pretended that the British film industry is in a very bad way. On the contrary, that is not so. Certainly it has passed its peak, as all film industries have passed their peak with the arrival of television. But ours is doing pretty well. It is extraordinary that our industry, with the arrival of television and the decline in the number of cinema showings in our country, is hold- 1534 ing its own. How is it doing so? It is doing so by exporting. It is not an industry to be wiped off.
These Amendments have been sent to the Film Production Association, which was asked whether it thought them unnecessary. We have had no reply from the association. But the unions are in favour of the Amendments, which would not go to the heart of the EEC. There is a misunderstanding in the debate among hon. Members opposite, although I do not think it is shared by the Undersecretary of State. They seem to imagine that the quota destroys nationality. It does no such thing. All the Community countries have quotas and they also have nationality protections. All we are seeking to do with these Amendments is to make sure that the Government do not sell Britain short. We are trying to prevent the Government from placing us in a worse position than any of the Community countries.
§ Mr. Emery indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Jenkins
I can produce to the hon. Gentleman a Board of Trade document on the matter. For example, it shows that, in Germany, in order to acquire German nationality a film must be produced by a resident of Germany; it must be shot in German studios; or, if location shooting is necessary in another country, there must be a maximum of 30 per cent. studio shooting in Germany. It must be produced in the original version in the German language, it must be scripted, adapted and re-dialogued by Germans, directed by Germans and must employ people as principal actors, executive producers, cameramen, sound engineers, editor, director, wardrobe master all of whom must be German. The protections for the industry are there. We are trying to prevent the Government from selling our industry short. It is ludicrous for the hon. Gentleman to pretend that what we are doing is trying to avoid reasonable competition.
The French film industry is more severe in some respects. In Italy there are heavy subsidies by the State to an extent unknown in this country. The Government are trying to take us into Europe with our hands tied behind our back, and that is totally unnecessary. What are 1535 they about? We propose one thing, that co-production films made between two or more States excluding the United Kingdom shall be excluded from Community status. That is the very minimum which could be proposed, and if the Government do not accept this we know that they are not acting from reason but merely acting in this way because they want to get the Bill through and do not want a Report stage.
§ In those circumstances I hope that my hon. Friends and hon. Members opposite, particularly that arch-apostle of competition, the Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Produfoot), will come into our Lobby.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 172, Noes 187.1537
|Division No. 253.]||AYES||[8.12 p.m.|
|Allen, Scholefield||Hardy, Peter||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Moate, Roger|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Hattersley, Roy||Molloy, William|
|Ashton, Joe||Heffer, Eric S.||Molyneaux, James|
|Atkinson, Norman||Hooson, Emlyn||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Horam, John||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Baxter, William||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Murray, Ronald King|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Hunter, Adam||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Hutchison, Michael Clark||O'Malley, Brian|
|Biffen, John||Janner, Greville||Orme, Stanley|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Palmer, Arthur|
|Body, Richard||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Booth, Albert||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||John, Brynmor||Pentland, Norman|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Prescott, John|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Carter, Ray (Birming'm, Northfield)||Kaufman, Gerald||Probert, Arthur|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Kilfedder, James||Rankin, John|
|Cohen, Stanley||Kinnock, Neil||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Concannon, J. D.||Lambie, David||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Lamborn, Harry||Rose, Paul B.|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Lamond, James||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Davidson, Arthur||Latham, Arthur||Rowlands, Ted|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Leadbitter, Ted||Sandelson, Neville|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Deakins, Eric||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Short, Rt.Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Dempsey, James||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Sillars, James|
|Doig, Peter||Lipton, Marcus||Silverman, Julius|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Lomas, Kenneth||Skinner, Dennis|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Small, William|
|Dunnett, Jack||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Eadie, Alex||McBride, Neil||Stallard, A. W.|
|Edelman, Maurice||McElhone, Frank||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||McGuire, Michael||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Ellis, Tom||Mackenzie, Gregor||Taverne, Dick|
|English, Michael||Mackie, John||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Evans, Fred||Maclennan, Robert||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Ewing, Henry||McMaster, Stanley||Torney, Tom|
|Faulds, Andrew||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Fell, Anthony||Maginnis, John E.||Urwin, T. W.|
|Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham,Ladywood)||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Varley, Eric G.|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Marks, Kenneth||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Foley, Maurice||Marquand, David||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Foot, Michael||Marsden, F.||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Ford, Ben||Marshall, Dr. Edmund||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Freeson, Reginald||Marten, Neil||Whitlock, William|
|Gilbert, Dr. John||Meacher, Michael||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Golding, John||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Woof, Robert|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Mendelson, John|
|Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Mikardo, Ian||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Millan, Bruce||Mr. Joseph Harper and|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Mr. James A. Dunn.|
|Hamling, William||Milne, Edward|
|Adley, Robert||Grylls, Michael||Nott, John|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Gummer, Selwyn||Onslow, Cranley|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Osborn, John|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Parkinson, Cecil|
|Benyon, W.||Havers, Michael||Percival, Ian|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Blaker, Peter||Hicks, Robert||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.|
|Boscawen, Robert||Hiley, Joseph||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Bowden, Andrew||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk,S.)||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Holland, Philip||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Bryan, Paul||Holt, Miss Mary||Redmond, Robert|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Hornby, Richard||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn)||Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Carlisle, Mark||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Howell, David (Guildford)||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Chapman, Sydney||Hunt, John||Rost, Peter|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Iremonger, T. L.||Sharples, Richard|
|Churchill, W. S.||James, David||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Clegg, Walter||Jessel, Toby||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Cooke, Robert||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Simeons, Charles|
|Cooper, A. E.||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Cordle, John||Jopling, Michael||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Cormack, Patrick||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Soref, Harold|
|Costain, A. P.||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Speed, Keith|
|Critchley, Julian||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Spence, John|
|Crouch, David||Kinsey, J. R.||Sproat, Iain|
|Crowder, F. P.||Kirk, Peter||Stainton, Keith|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid.Maj-Gen.James||Kitson, Timothy||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Dean, Paul||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Steel, David|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lamont, Norman||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Dykes, Hugh||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Stokes, John|
|Eden, Sir John||Le Merchant, Spencer||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Longden, Gilbert||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Emery, Peter||Loveridge, John||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Eyre, Reginald||Luce, R. N.||Tebbit, Norman|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||MacArthur, Ian||Temple, John M.|
|Fidler, Michael||MeCrindle, R. A.||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Mather, Carol||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Fortescue, Tim||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Fox, Marcus||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Walters, Dennis|
|Gardner, Edward||Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Money, Ernle||Warren, Kenneth|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Monks, Mrs. Connie||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan||Monro, Hector||Wilkinson, John|
|Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Montgomery, Fergus||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Goodhew, Victor||More, Jasper||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Gorst, John||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Gower, Raymond||Morrison, Charles||Worsley, Marcus|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Murton, Oscar||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Gray, Hamish||Neave, Airey|
|Green, Alan||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Grieve, Percy||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Mr. Kenneth Clarke and|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Normanton, Tom||Mr. Paul Hawkins|
|Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.|
§ Question accordingly negatived.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
I beg to move Amendment No. 123, in page 12, line 24, after 'films' insert'and distinct from British films'.I understand, Mr. Brewis, that we are also to discuss Amendment No. 122, in line 24, after 'as', insert 'special'.
I was very disappointed that the Committee did not carry the Amendment on which we have just divided, which was 1538 supported on this side of the committee and on the benches opposite. Therefore, I turn rather sadly to the second group of Amendments, which does not do even the minimum which should be done but attempts to do something which i hope will commend itself to the Government.
These Amendments propose a special community quota to run alongside the existing British quota. As the Minister pointed out in reply to the debate on the
1539 last Amendment, the quota can be enlarged; it is not a set figure. There has been no attempt in the Community to harmonise quotas, but I would not put it past the Six to endeavour in due course to create harmonisation of quotas. At the moment each country is free to fix its own quota level. The Amendment accepts the Community quota without protection. We threw away just now the opportunity to create protection for our industry. For reasons which have precious little to do with the merits of the argument the Committee has willed that it will not give this country's industry the protection which the industries in the Six already enjoy. Very well, let us have the Community quota without any protection; but let us also have the existing British quota. That is what we propose in the Amendment. We have just failed to protect the Community quota from exploitation; we now seek to concede the Community quota exactly as the Government want it under Clause 8.
The Clause is not of our devising. It is the Government's idea of what it is necessary to do. We believe that the Government have gone far beyond what it is necessary to do. We are seeking not to modify the existing situation but to prevent the Government from selling us out. The change which we propose will not succeed in preventing that, but it will create either two quotas or two sections of a single quota.
The situation of the film industry in this country is unique. There is no country in the Six in which the American film enjoys the majority position which it has here. American films have always occupied about 60 per cent. of the cinema screen time in this country. We have geared our industry to the occupation of between 30 and 40 per cent. of screen time here. Fortunately, the Government of the day got in earlier with regard to television. We occupy about 85 per cent. of our own television screen time.
It is to the credit of our film industry—and it should not be knocked as heavily as it is—that, on a minority base, it was at one time the largest film production industry in the world. It is still a formidable and considerable film production industry. It exports to the great advantage of our balance of payments. 1540 It exports an ever-increasing proportion of the whole, because we exist internally on a slightly declining base. There is some evidence that at long last it is beginning to flatten out.
We propose that there should be two quotas—a Community quota and a British quota. It is a simple concept. When we look back in perhaps five years or less we shall see that the British film industry was not as aware as it should have been of the dangers which it would face as a result of the Government going far beyond what was necessary in order to get this country into the Common Market.
§ Mr. Shore
I should like to put to my hon. Friend what has always seemed to me to be a common sense point about his case for a separate and strong British film quota. I understand that no other film industry in the world faces the scale and intensity of competition in the English language that we face. The obvious reason is that the great film-making country of the world is also an English-speaking country; namely, the United States. Therefore, the American film industry competes with the British industry far more than it competes with any other country's industry. That must be so as long as people enjoy watching films made in their own language rather than a dubbed version or films with captions written underneath. There is no point in talking about the British being in the same position as the Italians or the French. They are not, because American films do not compete with the Italians and French in the same way. It is precisely because of this sharing of a common tongue that my hon. Friend's case for a special arrangement for the British film industry is so unanswerably powerful.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Jenkins
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. This is indeed the case. This is made even stronger by the fact that if we enter the Community we shall meet a new concept, one which does not exist in this country; that is, the concept of a cultural area. The German cultural area embraces Austria. The concept of a film's origin is based on language. We shall be faced with a unique situation, one that is not faced by any of the countries of the Six. This is one of 1541 the things which were left uncertain and which reduced the industry to a state of confusion at the conference held at the end of last year.
It is likely that our cultural area, through the English language, will embrace not only America but also India and any other country where the film is made originally in English. Our industry will be in a unique position. No other film industry of the Six has so large a cultural area. The German cultural area includes Switzerland and Austria, and the French cultural area includes some areas of Africa. But no other country is in the position of having competition from countries which are at the same level of development or, in terms of totality of production, at a higher level. That is the basic problem upon which my right hon. Friend has put his finger.
We are, therefore, moving into an existing situation with an industry and a country with quite different traditions, outlook and problems. We are being forced into a sort of procrustean bed which already exists. Insufficient changes have been made by the Government. Instead of trying to persuade film industries in other countries that profound changes needed to be made in order to enable our industry to accommodate itself easily to the new situation, it seems that the contrary has occurred. Instead of doing that, the Government have placed shackles upon our industry which are unnecessarily tight and are not required by the nature of the Community and are certainly not observed by existing member States.
For those reasons I believe that the Committee, having thrown away the opportunity which we had just now to preserve something from the wreck, should accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Selwyn Gummer
I oppose these Amendments, but for reasons rather different from those I mentioned in the debate on the previous group of Amendments.
The Amendments arise first with the question of once again attempting to draw a distinction between that which is of British origin and that which is of Community origin. Running through our whole debate, not only on the film industry but in previous debates, a quite errone- 1542 ous distinction has been drawn between the Community over there and the British here. We are discussing a situation in which "the Community" includes us and in which we are part of that Community and an equal member of it. Therefore, the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) is suggesting that what we ought to do in the case of the film industry is to have two quotas: a quota for the Community—that is, all our friends in the Community who in every other sense are equal to us but in this sense have a special quota of their own—and then a quota for British films.
This is both wrong and unnecessary, because the size of the quota is a matter for the independent determination of Britain. Therefore, if Britain feels that the quota is being increasingly taken up by the films of other members of the Community, she can increase that quota and, therefore, give more elbow room for her own films and restrict the number of American films which can be shown in Great Britain.
The hon. Gentleman has made great play of the fact that our major competitor here is the United States and that that puts us in a special position because we speak English and the Americans, therefore, are able to export their films to this country with much greater ease than they would be able to export them to other members of the enlarged Community. That argument, and the intervention of the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore), is based upon a misconception. It is true that we face competition in the English language but we are not talking about a quota in which American films are included. The position of American films will remain precisely the same after the passing of the Clause as it was before.
We are saying that for the purposes of the quota any film produced in any of the member countries under exactly the same conditions shall be treated with equality, not only in the British market but in the other markets of the Community. It is perfectly reasonable for the hon. Member for Putney to object to this. But if he objects to it it cannot be on the grounds that it is unfair to the film industry. It must be because he does not like that kind of Community.
The point was raised by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot). It goes to the heart of the concept of 1543 the Community to say that there shall not be equal trading within the Community, because that is one of the basic principles of the Community. To say that British films shall have a superior position within the British market and to demand equal terms within the markets of the rest of the Community is to have one's cake and eat it and is saying that trading should not be encouraged within the Community.
We have always agreed, even those who oppose the EEC, on the principle of free trade with Europ.
§ Mr. Gummer
Surely those who supported the concept of a free trade area instead of the EEC would not suggest that there should be a special quota for British films which was over and above the quota for all the countries participating in that free trade area. I believe that it is wrong, therefore, to argue on the one hand that the trouble with the EEC is that it does not give enough free trade, and, on the other hand, that in this specific case there should be a special form of protection for the film industry. Can I give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell)?
§ Mr. Shore
Can I make the point that an hon. Member on the Government side made earlier about the distinction between cat food, motor cars and films? There are elements of overlap and common ground between these three commodities but there are also differences. One of the differences is that the film represents something which is peculiar to the culture, expression, feeling and tradition of a particular people. The hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Selwyn Gummer) obviously does not understand these things. But as long as these things matter we shall want to have a separate British film industry, as we shall want to have many other forms of separate British culture and expression.
§ Mr. Gummer
It is fascinating to see the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) castigate someone who disagrees with him as not understanding and also using language which not many years ago he would have attacked with all the virulence that a Socialist internationalist could command.
§ Mr. Gummer
Because I have had the great pleasure of reading attacks made on hon. Members of my party by the right hon. Gentleman, saying how narrow-minded they were for making precisely that kind of statement. He can go on posing as the arch-Blimp of all times but he cannot do so and continue to sit on the Opposition benches, and he would not find a place on these benches. He will have to look at some other Parliament.
If the right hon. Gentleman is saying that there is something special about British films we would all agree, but we all have enough confidence in British culture, British language and British films to think they can compete against French, German and Italian films without the help of the right hon. Member for Stepney. His help would probably make it more difficult for them to compete, as it did when his disastrous term in the Department of Economic Affairs was brought so rapidly to a close. The right hon. Gentleman cannot suggest that the whole future of Britain, British things and British attitudes depends upon his help. We have got along very well without it up to now, and I believe we shall continue to do so.
Of course there is something special about British films, but what we are really saying in opposing the Amendment is that the nature of the British film is such that it is capable of competing on equal terms when there is fair trading. We agree that it is difficult for the British film to compete with American films on equal terms, for all kinds of historic and present reasons, but we do not agree that there is something about the Community situation which demands that we should have protection not from the Americans but from the French, Germans and Italians.
I hope that in summing up this part of the debate my hon. Friend the Minister will indicate that the Government would be prepared, if it seemed at some time that the quota was too small and that we were not protected properly against American films, to recommend that the quota be increased, so that we could have a Community quota larger than the present 30 per cent. Many of us who look to build in Europe an understanding of each other's cultures which will deepen and broaden our own cultures would like more 1545 opportunity to see films produced among our friends in the Community.
What saddens me is that the hon. Member for Putney is, clearly, frightened not that the British film industry cannot compete with people who are unfairly competing but that it cannot compete even with people who are fairly competing. That is a very dangerous and wrong attitude. It is also a short-sighted attitude, because we should be saying that for the sake of protecting the British film industry we shall restrict its markets in the rest of the Community. If we in Britain say that our film industry must be looked after in a special way, all the other countries will have to do the same.
What I really object to is that the hon. Gentleman says that he speaks on behalf of the film industry. Yet all of us who have discussed the matter have heard that the film industry has made no objections to the original agreements with the Community and the Community statements which the Clause brings into effect. There was no outcry. None of the responsible bodies said that they must have this, that and the other. I have carefully read, and I re-read this morning, all the statements made by the Labour Government. At no point did anyone say that one of the essential things we should have to protect by negotiations was a special position for our film industry. But the directives existed. The Labour Government knew that that was precisely one of the areas which would impinge on our national life.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
Does not the hon. Gentleman acknowledge that until the Government introduced the Bill containing this Clause no one had the slightest idea that the Government would decide to sell the British film industry down the river?
§ Mr. Gummer
The hon. Gentleman uses very emotive and unacceptable language. The Government discussed with every part of the film industry the effects of the directives, which are merely spelt out here. Those directives clearly demand that all the film industries of the EEC should be treated equally within each member country. The hon. Gentleman knew that. It is one of the reasons why he has been against our entry into 1546 the Common Market. His industry knew it, but it made no objections.
Yet again, the Opposition are asking us, first, to accept that, although their objections are not shared by the people whom they most concern, we must uphold them—that although the sugar islands do not accept the Opposition's worries about sugar, that although New Zealand does not accept their worries about New Zealand, that although the film industry does not accept their worries about the film industry, the Committee must accept their worries.
The second thing we are asked to accept is that although the Labour Government when negotiating our entry made no point about the film industry, never raised the question, never considered it a point of importance in the negotiations, suddenly it becomes one of the key matters.
Therefore, I believe that it would be wrong for us to depart from the spirit of our entry into the Community by suggesting that the British film industry is so apathetic that it cannot compete on equal terms with our neighbours. I believe that it is a great film industry which will compete on equal terms and do extremely well within the Community.
§ [Sir ROBERT GRANT-FERRIS in the Chair]
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Emery
I compliment my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Selwyn Gummer) on another spirited defence of the British film industry, an industry which in many ways does not need defending. I appreciated my hon. Friend's speech, but it was not essential on these Amendments. The Opposition, for all their humour, have entirely misunderstood the Clause, and the Amendments are unnecessary.
Amendment No. 122 appears to have only a descriptive effect. It could, if accompanied by other Amendments elsewhere, provide for a special quota of films to be shown in cinemas. However, there is no such Amendment, so I cannot see that that would be of any particular use. All that it proceeds to do is to describe Community films, which are alreadya class distinct from other foreign films1547 in the Clause, as "special quota films". If that is not a linguistic nicety, I do not know what is.
The effect of the Clause is that films will have to be registered as British films, British quota films, Community films, or foreign films. Therefore, it would appear to be pointless to require Community films to be registered as "special films".
Strangely enough, the Clause meets the argument that the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) adduced. Once the Clause is enacted, we shall provide for films to be registered in one of the four categories. Subsection (1) makes it clear that Community films mustbe registered…as a class distinct from other foreign films".There would be no point in adding the word "special"; it would be unnecessary and meaningless.
It could be said that the Amendment was put forward so as to enable its supporters to argue that there should be a special quota for Community films to be shown in Britain separate from the quota of British films. That argument has not been propounded. At that stage the argument advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West would apply. That is apart from the fact that the establishment of such a separate quota—there was some indication that this might have been the view of some hon. Members opposite—would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the EEC films directive and contrary to our own agreements in GATT. So the argument falls on both counts.
A separate Community films quota would require cinemas in the United Kingdom to show a proportion of foreign films, which they are not at present required to show. Is that what hon. Gentlemen opposite want? I did not hear it in their speeches, but, if it is, perhaps we can know before we are asked to vote on the Amendment. If that is what they require the Committee to do it is certainly very contrary to what the film industry would wish to support. Indeed, I think it is contrary to their normal approach to Europe generally.
To turn quickly to Amendment No. 123, this does very much the thing the objection to which I have already stated on Amendment No. 122. It is difficult 1548 to understand the object of the hon. Member in proposing the Amendment because it is clear from the Clause as drafted that Community films are foreign films and in that category alone are distinct from British films.
Therefore, I am bound to say in all honesty that I think that the Opposition have misunderstood the Clause. After all, we can all admit that we have made a mistake occasionally.
§ Mr. Emery
I have done so already once today, if the right hon. Gentleman will recall. I remind the Committee of the argument about the Welsh; I said that we have had no Welsh feature films and that the only way I could see a Welsh feature film coming forward was by dubbing. If the Opposition Amendments have been passed they would have stopped Welsh films from being British quota films. I am delighted for the sake of the Welsh that we have been able to defeat those previous Amendments.
However, as I was saying, I believe that hon. Gentlemen opposite have genuinely misunderstood the point. The Clause brings in a definition of Community films as being distinct from both British and foreign films, and I cannot really see any point in wasting the time of the Committee in dividing on the Amendment.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
When the hon. Gentleman replied to the previous debate I was able to compliment him on having some grasp of the complexities of the film industry, and certainly a grasp greater than that demonstrated by some of his hon. Friends, although, perhaps, that was not saying a great deal by way of compliment to the Minister. However, I tried to help him and said that, although I felt he was grossly mistaken, he spoke from knowledge. I was glad of that. On this occasion I think he has got hold of the wrong end of the stick. He thinks I have. We shall see.
If Amendments No. 122 and 123 are taken together—and it is the object of the exercise that they should be taken together—the hon. Gentleman will then see how the Clause will read if the Amendments are made:On and after the entry date Community films shall be registered under the Films Acts 1960 to 1970 as a class distinct from other 1549 foreign films and distinct from British films and be registered as special quota films, and the register shall be kept accordingly.The Amendments would create a separate category of Community films as distinct from foreign films; there would be foreign films, Community films and British films; there would be three separate categories. I admit that this is second best to what I had originally sought.
The hon. Gentleman said one thing with which I agree, that this is not a matter on which the Committee should be divided. I agree with him, but for reasons different from his. I agree because we are acting under the guillotine. I agree because anytime we can save by not having a Division can be used for another debate. I agree because the Government have already defeated—wrongly defeated—the main agument on previous Clauses. Therefore, since we have still another Amendment to propose to this Clause, and a debate on that, and, I hope, a debate on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" as well, on this occasion, although I believe that the Amendments are perfectly justified, perfectly sensible and perfectly proper, I would not, in all the circumstances, wish to ask my hon. Friends to take up the Committee's time by having a Division. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
I beg to move Amendment No. 469, in page 13, line 13, leave out subsection (3).
My Amendments have been rejected; responsible, reasonable and improving Amendments have been rejected. I am relieved to see that the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Selwyn Gummer) has left the Chamber. In our debate on a previous Amendment he attributed to me the statement that the Amendment was unnecessary, although what I had said was that hon. Gentlemen opposite might argue that it was unnecessary. I thought it was necessary.
The Government might say that Amendment No. 469 is a wrecking Amendment. I am not saying it is a wrecking Amendment, I merely for fend the possibility that that might be one objection to it. As we have failed where we have deserved to succeed, perhaps on this occasion we shall succeed when 1550 our entitlement to success may not be so immediately obvious.
The Amendment prevents a Community film from being registered as a British film. If the Amendment were accepted we should have to have a Report stage and, on Report, a further Amendment could be tabled to create the concept of a Community film equivalent to but not the same as a British film. The Amendment tries once again to separate the categories, which is made necessary by the peculiar nature of the British film industry with its worldwide English language connections. The Amendment accepts the Community film and seeks to establish it as equivalent to but not the same as a British film.
I hope that the Minister will not turn down the Amendment as he turned down the previous ones, perhaps not because they lacked merit but because he failed to understand them. On this occasion the Amendment is a simple straightforward proposition which I hope will commend itself to the Committee. I hope the Minister will not reject it simply because its acceptance would make necessary a Report stage.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Grylls (Chertsey)
This is the second debate that we have had on the implications for the film industry of going into Europe. The more one hears the more one comes to the conclusion that it is impossible for the people who are dedicated to our not going into Europe to understand that we are going in more for the sake of creating wider free trade than to enter a community.
We hear phrases like "Community film" and "British film", but once we go into the Community it will be a Community which includes Britain and we shall have to take a wider view. It will not be possible to put up quotas against Community services and, according to the Amendment, against Community films. That is one of the many things that we shall have to accept on joining the Community. If we believe that it is right to accept the free movement of labour, in a similar way we shall have to accept that the British film industry will not be able to have barriers and quotas of this sort. It is an experience which the European film industries in the existing Community have already had to accept. They 1551 have had similar assistance in their own industries since the Community started, but they have had to accept that it is no longer suitable to have barriers of this sort. They have had to accept a much wider form of competition within the Community as a whole.
There is evidence that the film industries of the Six have had no difficulty in adjusting to this situation. I find it hard to believe that our own industry, with its great technical know-how, its world-famous studios with all their technical expertise, and not least our artistic talent, which is second to none, will not be able to stand going into the Community and facing wider competition.
The hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) and those hon. Members with him who seek for genuine reasons to try to protect the British film industry are doing it a great disservice. I am sure that the industry can stand up to the wider competition and do very well. There will be a net gain by accepting the extra opportunities which will accrue to the industry by going into Europe. Let us look a little wider. Let us not bury our heads in the sand, saying that we cannot open the doors of competition to our film industry because it is not able to cope. Let us hold our heads high and say that it can cope and do well in Europe. I am confident that, given the opportunity which entry into Europe will present to the film industry, it will be able to do itself well and compete in Europe. It will not be necessary to have the Amendment.
§ Mr. Emery
We now turn to Amendment 469. In doing so, it is important to understand what the Amendment will do. Its purpose, as far as I can understand it, is to disqualify Community film makers, other than film makers from the United Kingdom, when we are in the Community, from being able to make what we term a British film.
The effect of the Amendment will be that the section of the Films Act, 1960, which deals with the determination whether a film is to be registered as British or foreign will not be amended in the manner necessary to meet what would be our Common Market obligations. Whether that is the definition or not, it seems contrary to what those of 1552 us who wish to see entry into Europe would want to bring about. It is basic to the terms of entry to the Common Market that any restrictions relating to film production which are unfavourable to film makers who are nationals or companies of other member States should on national grounds be removed. For this purpose the subsection will amend Section 17 of the Films Act, 1960, by providing that a film maker, whether an individual or a company from another member State, will be able to make a British film on the same terms as a British film maker. That is not to say that Community films or films made by Community film makers will necessarily be British.
There are other detailed requirements which must be followed before a film can be registered as British. We have gone over this matter this evening and I do not intend to repeat it. These include, in Section 17(2) of the 1960 Act, the provision,that the studio, if any, used in making the film was in a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland; and"—most important—that not less than the requisite amount of labour costs"—the salary and wages paid to those engaged in making the film—shall be paid toBritish subjects or citizens of the Republic of Ireland or persons ordinarily resident in a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland.That is the structure as we know it.
The hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) described the German concept of requiring X, Y and Z. By "X, Y and Z", I mean the producer, the director, and the people in charge of the lighting, and so on. We do not spell it out in the same way, but we require, as the hon. Gentleman knows only too well, that 75 or 80 per cent. of the labour costs shall be paid to British people. This is extremely high, and, by some standards, might be considered somewhat restrictive; but it is there as a defence of British film interests.
Subsection (3) of the Clause does nothing to alter these provisions. They are there for the protection of British film production which the hon. Gentleman has enthusiastically supported in the speeches 1553 he had made today. Therefore, I am surprised that he should move an Amendment the effect of which would be to discourage or even to prevent a film maker from a member State coming to this country to make a film. I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman would strongly advocate the opportunities for workers in the British film industry which the subsection could create.
We have film studios and technical facilities—technicians, artistes and talented specialist staff—second to none in the world. These attributes are and should be attractive to firm makers from other nations. If film makers wish to come here to use our talents to make British films, surely the hon. Gentleman would wish to encourage them. Certainly the Government want to encourage them.
I believe I am on strong ground in urging hon. Members to reject the Amendment. I believe I am speaking for the interests of the workers in the film industry. Therefore, I cannot understand how the hon. Gentleman could possibly not support me in that contention. I believe that he has moved the Amendment for purely probing purposes to ascertain whether the Government are interested in seeking to defend workers in the industry. I hope the hon. Gentleman appreciates we can provide that defence. By pressing the Amendment to a Division the hon. Gentleman will be working contrary to the best interests of people in the industry. I cannot imagine that that is what he wants.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
I am sure the Under-Secretary is sincere in the oratory to which he has just treated us, but he is mistaken. The hon. Gentleman is right about the consequence of accepting the Amendment. He is wrong about what happens in other Community countries.
This is another example where the Government have gone completely beyond what they have to do and are going completely beyond what is done in other Community countries. There is no reason why somebody should not come to this country to make a film. This is understood and will continue to be the case whether we go into the Common Market or not. Of course, distinguished foreign directors come here to make films and occasionally British directors go to other countries to make films there.
1554 The hon. Gentleman is forgetting the effect of the Amendment on the provisions of the Films Act, 1960. The Amendment seeks to remove from Clause 8 subsection (3) which provides that:The requirements for the registration of a film as a British film under section 17 of the Films Act 1960 shall be modified, with effect from the entry date, by inserting after the words 'of the Republic of Ireland', wherever those words occur in section 17(2)(a) and (3), the words 'or of any country that is a member State'".If we look at Section 17 of the Films Act, 1960, we can see where the hon. Gentleman has gone wrong. The Section says that the maker of the film must be…either a British subject or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland…".In other words a film maker could qualify for the British quota if he were British or Irish. What is now being said is that the maker of the film can be a citizen of any one of the Community countries.
In principle there may be nothing wrong in this, but in practice we see that this is not a principle which is followed in any of the other European countries. The current regulations deal with the situation in Germany, France and Italy and we see that in those countries they have a Community quota. There is a fundamental misunderstanding on the Government Front Bench. They seem to imagine that because a Community quota exists, it is necessary to dismantle other protections for the British film industry. The Government, to get into the Community are going beyond what is necessary, and they are certainly going beyond what is done by other member States in the Community.
The regulations pertaining to Germany require a film maker to have German nationality and German quota status. A film must be produced by a resident of Germany who makes films exclusively or nearly exclusively on his own behalf. There is a tight definition of the situation in the German regulations and no attempt has been made to loosen the definition. Germany operates within the Community quota, but that definition still remains. They still stick firmly to the proposition of nationality. The Government have got rather mixed up in their ideas of a quota for Community purposes, and this is clear when one sees that protections to 1555 determine what is a national film are as strong as ever in the Community.
Furthermore, in the French regulations a film must be produced by a French producer and shot in studios in France or in French overseas territories. There is an indentical situation in Italy. Therefore, all the countries of the Six have preserved the principle of nationality in terms of film making. The hon. Gentleman does not seem to understand that the British Government are going beyond anything done by the other countries in the Community since their legislation does not provide this degree of liberalism.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Therefore, if the hon. Gentleman claims that the Bill in general and this proposition in particular are necessary in order to enable us to fulfil our obligations as a member of the Community, he is talking transparent nonsense. I have proved it to be so by my references to the situation in these other countries, taken from a current document issued by the Board of Trade under the aegis of the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association. The document was issued on 5th November, 1971, and sets out the situations in the Federal Republic of Germany, France and Italy. No changes have been made since that date. It describes the situations in those three main countries of the EEC and the Bill takes us well beyond them.
§ For these reasons, I take the view that this Amendment is highly necessary and I greatly regret that the Government will not accept it. Because of pressure of time, because we have to get in a debate on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," I will not press the Amendment to a Division. But I regret that the Government persist in their opposition to it. Under protest, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.
§ Mr. Probert
I intervene briefly because of an answer given earlier to me by the Under-Secretary of State in which he admitted quite frankly—and I respect him for it—that the Welsh language is not a Community language. Clause 8(4) says: 1556In this subsection 'foreign language film' means a film in which the dialogue is mainly in a foreign language.From what the hon. Gentleman said, by implication one can deduce that Welsh is recognised by the Community as a foreign language.
This is an insult to the 600,000people in Wales who speak the Welsh language daily; it is an insult also to my mother, whose language it was; it is an insult to my wife, who speaks it daily; indeed, it is an insult to the people of the whole of these islands, in which Welsh is the oldest living language, with the possible exception of Scottish Gaelic.
I realise the pressure of time under the guillotine so I will put only one point, with an appeal to the Solicitor-General who is himself a Welshman. The Community is accepting Irish Gaelic as a Community language. Yet, not so many Irish speak Irish Gaelic as Welsh people speak Welsh. I may say that I have no personal axe to grind here, because I do not myself speak Welsh. But I ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the negotiations which will continue when we enter the EEC to see to it that Welsh becomes accepted as a Community language and that we shall not place upon the people of Wales the stigma which the present provision in the Bill would bring to them.
§ Mr. Robert Cooke
I listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. Probert) with great interest but I think that he is labouring under a certain misapprehension. Surely it is conferring a mark of distinction upon his language—the language of the country where I was born—to describe it as a foreign language. It is distinguishing it from the other languages in the United Kingdom and marking it out for special attention. The Welsh people are afraid that their language will disappear; they are afraid of losing their individuality. If one asks for one's individuality to be maintained one must not complain if it is put into a special category.
I want to make a brief reference to the subject really under discussion, not that subject, although it is interesting. The hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) has throughout his series of Amendments made the point that he wants more restriction than we do and 1557 that the Government are giving away too much. It must be pointed out that, although he has spoken at great length and we have had one vote earlier, he has not seen fit to press any more of his Amendments to a Division.
§ Mr. Cooke
Oh, the guillotine, the guillotine! The guillotine allows ten more minutes of this debate. [Interruption.] Perhaps the Opposition Whip would like to get up and make that remark from a standing position.
I do not wish to digress into areas that will take me out of order. We have plenty of time for Divisions if the Opposition thought fit to press these Amendments. They have not done so because there is no measure of support for what the hon. Member said, despite the fact that he went at a great rate and for a long time. The Opposition have been making trivial points on this Clause, which should go through unamended simply because it will give the film industry a greater measure of freedom and it will make sure that the British film industry works in proper partnership with its European friends so that perhaps, who knows, it may be able to play a bigger part in the film affairs of the world, tackling not only America on its own ground but perhaps even other parts of the world, such as Asia and Japan.
§ Mr. Cledwyn Hughes (Anglesey)
I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdare (Mr. Probert) for raising the subject of the position of the Welsh language in the event of our joining the Community. The Chancellor of the Duchy was good enough to write to me recently and in that letter he said that it would be proper to translate certain documents in most common usage into the Welsh language.
§ The Chairman
Order. I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman but if the Welsh language is to be discussed now it should be discussed in the context of Clause 8 and films. I interrupt the right hon. Gentleman now because I thought he was about to develop the argument at some length and I felt that I ought to warn him early.
§ Mr. Hughes
The point I wish to make. Sir Robert, and I accept your guidance on this, is the fear that a film made in the 1558 Welsh language would be described as a foreign film within the ambit of this Clause. This is obviously a matter of great concern to myself and my right hon. Friend from the Principality. We would deeply resent the description of the Welsh language, in relation to a film or anything else, connected with the Bill, as a foreign language.
§ Mr. Rippon
As the right hon. Gentleman says, we have had some correspondence about the status of the Welsh language and the importance of ensuring its proper recognition. We all recognise this. I can say that the position of the Welsh language is in no way prejudiced by anything in the Bill and certainly it is not described as a foreign language for the purposes of a film quota. It would be in the British quota as one of the languages of origin of the country concerned.
§ Mr. Hughes
I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for that explanation. It may be that we shall require a fuller explanation in due course. We must insist that the status of the Welsh language is fully safeguarded, in or out of the Community. If we do enter the Community the Welsh language will be the oldest spoken language in the Community and we shall demand that it be given the respect due to it. I will not develop this further because I should be out of order, but I give notice to the Government that this is a matter to which we shall return in due course.
§ Mr. John Gorst (Hendon, North)
Before the right hon. Gentleman sits down, can he give the Committee some guidance on how many films are made in the Welsh language at present so that we can get this into some perspective?
§ Mr. Hughes
The hon. Gentleman plainly does not know very much about Wales and has not visited the Principality recently, otherwise he would know that a large number of films on BBC Television and Harlech Television are in Welsh. The number of films in Welsh which appear in the cinemas of Wales are few and far between, but films are made in the Welsh language, and no doubt an increasing number will be made in future.
§ Mr. Elystan Morgan
Despite the assurance of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, there is little doubt, from 1559 reading subsection (4), that a Welsh film would, ipso facto, be regarded as a foreign film. There is nothing in the Clause referring to countries of origin. The last two lines of subsection (4) are unambiguous. They state:In this subsection 'foreign language film' means a film in which the dialogue is mainly in a foreign language".A foreign language is other than a language officially known to the Treaty of Rome. The Welsh language is not officially known to the Treaty and therefore it is a foreign language.
As a Welshman whose first language is Welsh, I regard that as a crowning insult. It rouses me to righteous anger, similar to the anger which Lloyd George showed in the House many decades ago when the Welsh language was derided. He reminded the House that the Welsh language had been spoken by kings and princes when the English were swinging by their tails in the forests of the Baltic. That is a quotation from one of the greatest Members of which the House ever boasted.
This is not a question of the British quota. It is a question of an insult which, albeit unwittingly, is made to the Welsh language. The Clause gives the Welsh language the status and stigma of a foreign language.
§ Mr. Rippon
Does the hon. Gentleman think that it is a stigma on English that it is a foreign language to an Italian?
§ sing a British Measure. What description an Italian might put on the English language in a measure of his country is his concern; but this is our concern. I do not like to see my language referred to in British legislation as a foreign language for the convenience of foreigners.
§ Mr. Emery
I am sure that the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. Probert) realises that I would in no way wish to pass any insult on his wife or any of his relatives. In reply to the point made by the right hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Cledwyn Hughes), may I point out that we are talking about feature films. Such films are not made for television. We are discussing films which are defined in the 1960 and 1970 Acts.
Welsh is not treated as a foreign language for the purpose of the film industry and the quotas made under the Bill. It is treated as one of the languages coming within the British quota. It is treated in exactly the same way as any other language spoken in a Community country, such as Romansch in Italy, which is treated as part of the Italian language and the Italian quota.
No insult, and no alteration in the quota structure, is involved in the Clause concerning the Welsh language or Welsh language firms, and I am sure that that will allow for singing in the valleys tonight.
§ Question put, That the Clause stand part of the Bill:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 188, Noes 173.1563
|Division No. 254.]||AYES||[9.29 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Fidler, Michael|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Churchill, W. S.||Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Clegg, Walter||Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Cooke, Robert||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Cooper, A. E.||Fortescue, Tim|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Cordle, John||Gardner, Edward|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Cormack, Patrick||Gibson-Watt, David|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Costain, A. P.||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)|
|Benyon, W.||Critchley, Julian||Glyn, Dr. Alan|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Crouch, David||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.|
|Blaker, Peter||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Goodhew, Victor|
|Boscawen, Robert||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen. James||Gorst, John|
|Bowden, Andrew||Dean, Paul||Gower, Raymond|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Drayson, G. B.||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Gray, Hamish|
|Bryan, Paul||Dykes, Hugh||Grieve, Percy|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Eden, Sir John||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)|
|Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn)||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.|
|Carlisle, Mark||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Grylls, Michael|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Emery, Peter||Gummer, Selwyn|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Eyre, Reginald||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)|
|Chapman, Sydney||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||McCrindle, R. A.||Rost, Peter|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Sharples, Richard|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Mather, Carol||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Hawkins, Paul||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Simeons, Charles|
|Hayhoe, Barney||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Miscampbell, Norman||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Hicks, Robert||Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)||Soref, Harold|
|Hiley, Joseph||Money, Ernle||Speed, Keith|
|Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Monks, Mrs. Connie||Spence, John|
|Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Monro, Hector||Sproat, Iain|
|Holland, Philip||Montgomery, Fergus||Stainton, Keith|
|Holt, Miss Mary||More, Jasper||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Hornby, Richard||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Steel, David|
|Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia||Morrison, Charles||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)|
|Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Murton, Oscar||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Howell, David (Guildford)||Neave, Airey||Stokes, John|
|Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Hunt, John||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Tapsell, Peter|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Normanton, Tom||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|James, David||Nott, John||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Jessel, Toby||Onslow, Cranley||Tebbit, Norman|
|Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Temple, John M.|
|Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Osborn, John||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Jopling, Michael||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Kimball, Marcus||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Parkinson, Cecil||Walters, Dennis|
|King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Percival, Ian||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Kinsey, J. R.||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Warren, Kenneth|
|Kirk, Peter||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Kitson, Timothy||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Knight, Mrs. Jill||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis||Wilkinson, John|
|Lamont, Norman||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Langford-Holt, Sir John||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Redmond, Robert||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Le Marchant, Spencer||Reed, Laurence (Bolton, E.)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Rees, Peter (Dover)||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Longden, Gilbert||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Loveridge, John||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Luce, R. N.||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)||Mr. Kenneth Clarke and|
|MacArthur, Ian||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Mr. Marcus Fox.|
|Allen, Scholefield||Dunnett, Jack||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Eadie, Alex||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Edelman, Maurice||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)|
|Ashton, Joe||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Atkinson, Norman||Ellis, Tom||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||English, Michael||Kaufman, Gerald|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Evans, Fred||Kerr, Russell|
|Baxter, William||Ewing, Henry||Kinnock, Neil|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Faulds, Andrew||Lambie, David|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Fell, Anthony||Lamborn, Harry|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Fisher,Mrs.Doris(B'ham,Ladywood)||Lamond, James|
|Biffen, John||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Latham, Arthur|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Foley, Maurice||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Body, Richard||Foot, Michael||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Booth, Albert||Ford, Ben||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold|
|Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)||Freeson, Reginald||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Gilbert, Dr. John||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Lipton, Marcus|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Carmichael, Neil||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Hamling, William||McBride, Neil|
|Cohen, Stanley||Hardy, Peter||McElhone, Frank|
|Concannon, J. D.||Harper, Joseph||McGuire, Michael|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mackenzie, Gregor|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Heffer, Eric S.||Mackie, John|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Hooson, Emlyn||Maclennan, Robert|
|Davidson, Arthur||Horam, John||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Marks, Kenneth|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Marquand, David|
|Deakins, Eric||Hunter, Adam||Marsden, F.|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Marshall, Dr. Edmund|
|Dempsey, James||Janner, Greville||Marten, Neil|
|Doig, Peter||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Meacher, Michael|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Mendelson, John|
|Dunn, James A.||John, Brynmor||Mikardo, Ian|
|Millan, Bruce||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Miller, Dr. M. S.||Prescott, John||Strang, Gavin|
|Milne, Edward||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)||Price, William (Rugby)||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Moate, Roger||Probert, Arthur||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Molloy, William||Rankin, John||Torney, Tom|
|Molyneaux, James||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)||Varley, Eric G.|
|Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Rowlands, Ted||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Sandelson, Neville||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Murray, Ronald King||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Oakes, Gordon||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|O'Halloran, Michael||Short, Rt.Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Whitlock, William|
|O'Malley, Brian||Sillars, James||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Orme, Stanley||Silverman, Julius||Woof, Robert|
|Palmer, Arthur||Skinner, Dennis|
|Parker, John (Dagenham)||Small, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Pavitt, Laurie||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)||Mr. John Golding and|
|Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Spriggs, Leslie||Mr. James Wellbeloved.|
|Pentland, Norman||Stallard, A. W.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Clause 8 ordered to stand part of the Bill.