HL Deb 06 April 1948 vol 154 cc1095-6

My Lords, I beg to ask the question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government, with reference to the Agreement lately made with the Motion Picture Association in respect of the withdrawal of the ad valorem duty on the import of films into this country, whether they considered certain aspects of this Agreement which might constitute a potential threat to the progress of the British Film Production Industry, and to ask His Majesty's Government for an assurance of their determination to protect the industry in the event of the following specific dangers:—

  1. (1) American companies may produce in this country so great a number of films in the studio space available to them here that it will cause such competition with the British-owned film production industry as to increase considerable production costs.
  2. (2) The American companies may in their commercial interest reasonably use greater efforts in the exploitation in the United States of these Anglo-American films (for the reason that they are wholly owned by them) than they use for the films made by wholly owned British companies, thus defeating the intention of His Majesty's Government in providing an incentive for the American industry to increase the distribution of British films in the United States.]


My Lords, the noble Lord's question raises two points. With regard to the first, the recent Agreement with the American film industry provides explicitly that any expenditure of un-remittable sterling for film production in this country shall not be such as to go beyond the limits of fair competition or be otherwise harmful to the legitimate interests of the British film industry. As regards the latter part of the question, the additional dollars which can accrue under the Agreement to American film interests from the distribution of British films in the United States of America will comprise the net United States earnings of all British films. The Agreement, therefore, provides an incentive to maximise the dollar earnings of every available British film of a kind suitable for the American market—an incentive applying not only to films produced with American money but equally to British films whose rights are wholly British-owned.


I thank the noble Lord for the reply he has given.

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