HL Deb 07 April 1964 vol 257 cc21-2

3.27 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, I am quite sure the House, and in particular the Government, will recognise the part played by newsreels, not only in the Commonwealth but also in foreign countries, in showing the British way of life. Prior to 1960 newsreel producers were unable to receive any assistance from the British Film Fund Agency, but the Film Act, 1960, changed that by certain provisions under which newsreel producers were able to make claims against the British Film Fund Agency. This has been of tremendous benefit to the producers; in fact, it has saved them from extinction and undoubtedly has helped them to improve the quality of their films as to both colour and applying them to the wide screen.

When the Act was passed certain provisions were put into Section 39 to ensure that these newsreel photographs showed the British way of life. Three-quarters of all the photographs had to be taken in the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. In practice the film producers have found this provision too restrictive. For instance, when they wished to take newsreel pictures of a visit by the Duke of Edinburgh to South America they had to restrict the amount they could show, because had they exceeded the restriction the film would not have received any assistance from the Film Fund Agency. There are many events in the world which are of particular interest to the British—I am thinking of the Olympic Games which are to be held in Tokyo—and unless the Film Act, 1960, is amended cinemagoers will see only a small part of the games.

The object of the Bill is to ensure that in future, provided that three-quarters of the films taken by British producers have been photographed by British nationals, and photographed outside the area specified in the Act, then those films qualify for a grant from the Film Fund Agency. This Bill has received the support of the industry itself; not only the film and newsreel producers but also those who make the bigger films. The trade unions have also given their support, and I believe that the Government themselves have agreed to the principle of the Bill. There may be one or two drafting Amendments that I shall have to move on Committee stage, but none of them, in fact, affects the principle of the Bill. Therefore, with those few words, I ask the House to give this Bill a Second Reading.

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.