HL Deb 14 March 1938 vol 108 cc113-8
Long Films. Short Films.
Year. Per cent. Per cent.
For the year beginning with the 1st October, 1938 12½
For the year beginning with the 1st October, 1947 25 15

LORD MOYNE moved, in Part I, to substitute 20 per cent. for 15 per cent. as the renters' quota for long films for the year beginning 1st April, 1938. The noble Lord said: I do not want to keep the House long at this hour. We have already had a discussion on an earlier clause, and the House decided that we ought to keep the quotas up as high as we reasonably can without occasioning general default. The Amendment which I wish to move is that we should put up the renters' quota to the level at which it stands under the noble Viscount's Act of ten years ago. For a long time there has been a persistent campaign on the part of the renters to get their quota put down. They came to the Departmental Committee and said that the quotas were three times too high. They said, "Where we are now compelled to make fifteen or eighteen films, we ought only to make five or six." We were not at all impressed by the arguments of this extremely rich foreign industry. We felt that the main purpose of legislation ought to be to help production in this country. If the British investor is standing off at the present time, the only way to start films in production is to compel the foreign producer to put back some of the £6,500,000 that he draws every year from this country into the encouragement of British films. It is not going to be a loss to him, it is going to be an investment of capital.

I am assured that there ought to be no difficulty whatever in carrying out this quota. Already there is a sufficiency of films in sight. Films are not only of value during the first twelve months. I am advised that fifty per cent. of the screening of films takes place after the first year, and in addition to that there is, of course, plenty of time for the renters to get films made for the forthcoming year. It would be a disastrous set-back for the British film industry to put the renters' quota below that figure which it has been able to reach owing to the very wise provisions of the Act of 1927. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 43, line 7, first column, leave out ("15") and insert ("20" ) —(Lord Moyne.)


Surely this Amendment is consequential on the decision of the House on Clause 15?


No, I do not think I can accept that, unless two rights make a wrong or two wrongs make a right. That dealt with what was to happen to the exhibitor during the balance of his quota year. This is a proposal that when we start on the new race, we should start with a larger handicap, and that the renters should be put up from fifteen to twenty per cent. Then there is a later Amendment—I do not know whether that is going to be moved—to put the exhibitor up also. It is said that the renter is at this moment under a twenty per cent. obligation under the old Act. I understand that is so. But the reasons for starting in this rather more modest way in the present Bill are several. The Bill, to start with, will become law, I suppose, about the end of this month, and the renters' obligation therefore starts on April 1, almost as soon as the Bill is through. There are two other considerations. The short film quota is now introduced, as Lord Moyne recommended, for the first time, and therefore you are putting an additional obligation on the renter in the sense that, whereas everything was aggregated—I am not sure that is right?


Yes, it is.


It was aggregated before, but there is now a separate obligation to take ten per cent. of short films. But the other reason is this. Hitherto, of course, there has been no cost test imposed. We are now, under this Bill, imposing what I call the means test, so that every film which the renter has to take has got to be a film within the long series costing not less than the minimum of £7,500, or £1 in labour charges per foot.


With the right of appeal for cheaper films with good qualities.


With that right of appeal. For those reasons it is strongly felt by the Board of Trade that it would not be safe to place the renters' quota higher than fifteen per cent. If, while I am on my feet, I might say one word about the exhibitors' quota: I feel strongly that it is important to have it starting at a figure which exhibitors can easily fulfil. As I said, it is very im

portant that the Act should work with good will, and you should take all exhibitors into consideration and be fairly sure that the obligations you put on them can be filled without undue difficulty by all the different cinemas within the country. For those reasons, my Lords, I am bound to resist the Amendment and to ask that the quota may be reduced from what it stands at now to the figures set out in the Schedule.


There is one thing to which I should like to draw attention, and that is the importance that has been attached by the noble Viscount to the difficulty of finding short films. That does not affect the Amendment at all, because the Amendment leaves the short film provision exactly where it was before. If the Amendment were carried, ten per cent. would have to be obtained for those short films, and if the Amendment is not carried, precisely the same. It puts the figure of the quota at twenty per cent., which is not increasing the handicap but putting it back to where it was in 1936. There is also a small film quota now, which means that it is actually less, even if you are not to take into account the fact that a triple quota is introduced. We do not want to give a bonus for the invention of the "quota quickie." If you are going to give a bonus for ingenuity in defrauding the last Act, your Lordships will find that every succeeding Act becomes more complicated and less satisfactory.

On Question, Whether "15" shall stand part of the Schedule?

Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 13; Not-Contents, 22.

Bath, M. Swinton, V. Gage, L. (V. Gage.) [Teller.]
Kemsley, L.
Fortescue, E. Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam.) Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Lucan, E. [Teller.]
Munster, E. Cottesloe, L. Templemore, L.
Stanhope, E. Fermanagh, L. (E. Erne.)
Aberdeen and Temair, M. Balfour of Burleigh, L. Luke, L.
Darcy (de Knayth), L. (Teller.) Moyne, L. [Teller.]
Poulett, E. Rankeillour, L.
Doverdale, L. Saltoun, L.
Bertie of Thame, V. Fairfax of Cameron, L. Strabolgi, L.
Bridgeman, V. Gorell, L. Teynham, L.
Chelmsford, V. Harris, L. Waleran, L.
Hindlip, L. Wolverton, L.
Addington, L. Holden, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

LORD MOYNE moved to substitute "15 per cent." for "12½ per cent." as the exhibitors' quota for long films for the year beginning with the 1st October, 1938. The noble Lord said: I do not think I need give any further argument in favour of this Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 43, line 21, leave out ("12½") and insert ("15").—(Lord Moyne.)


This really becomes consequential, because it is putting up the exhibitors' quota to what is a reasonable ratio as compared with what has been done with the renters' quota. As your Lordships have decided to leave the renters' quota where it was under the old Act, I think it would be reasonable to put the exhibitors' quota up from 12½ to 15.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

VISCOUNT BRIDGEMAN moved to substitute "30 per cent." for "25 per cent." as the exhibitors' quota for the year beginning with the 1st October, 1947. The noble Viscount said: In a sense this Amendment follows on the Amendments previously discussed, but, unlike them, it will, as your Lordships will realise, not take effect until 1947. If, however, there is a case for starting the quota higher there is also a case for giving an increased quota at the end.

Amendment moved— Page 43, line 3o, first column, leave out ("25") and insert ("30").—(Viscount Bridgeman.)


I very much hope the noble Viscount will not press this Amendment. If we are going to rely upon the statutory quota then that would mean inevitably that the exhibitors' quota and the renters' quota would both reach thirty. I am sure the noble Viscount does not mean that, because the whole principle of the statutory schedule is to keep the renters' quota rather ahead of the exhibitors'. There is taken power for the Board of Trade, on the advice of the Film Council, to increase if they think right the exhibitors' quota up to thirty. I do not think we ought to go further, and necessarily lay down that the exhibitors' and renters' quota should be the same. That might be very unfair to the exhibitors.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

First schedule, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining schedules agreed to.

Title: An Act to make further provision for securing the renting and exhibition of a certain proportion of British cinematograph films, and for restricting blind booking and advance booking of cinematograph films; and to provide for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid.


My Amendment to the title, to insert certain words after the second "films," is consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 5, after ("films") insert ("to make provision as to the wages and conditions of employment of persons employed by makers and processors of films").—(Lord Strabolgi.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Title, as amended, agreed to.

Back to