HC Deb 02 July 1979 vol 969 cc884-5
4. Mr. Dormand

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what proposals he has concerning financial assistance to the British film industry; and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for Trade (Mr. Reginald Eyre)

At my right hon. Friend's request, a senior official is carrying out an urgent review of a number of aspects of the film industry, including the question of financial assistance.

Mr. Dormand

Does not the Minister agree that the best of British film makers are as good as any in the world and that from an economic point of view, apart from an artistic point of view, they ought to be encouraged? The reply which the Minister has just given is extremely disappointing. How soon will recommendations be made about the second report of the Interim Action Committee on the Film Industry, which reported only last week, particularly on the Eady levy?

Mr. Eyre

The Government recognise the value to Britain of a vigorous British film industry and wish to encourage its development. The second report to which the hon. Gentleman referred is being considered in parallel with the review which I mentioned.

Mr. Stokes

If aid must go to the British film industry, will my hon. Friend make quite sure that it does not go to support indecent productions?

Mr. Eyre

It is offensive to most people that public money should be used to benefit films which exploit sex or violence. That factor will be taken very seriously into account in the review.

Mrs. Renée Short

What positive steps will the Government take in order to support and encourage independent British film producers who have produced very good films in the past?

Mr. Eyre

The hon. Lady will appreciate that that is an important factor which will be taken into account in the review.