Sir J. D. REES
asked the Home Secretary whether it is the function of his Department to accept suggestions that films foster immorality and propagate crime, and to invite reports from prison, police court, or other authorities based upon such suggestions?
§ Mr. SHORTT
Yes, Sir. In matters relating to crime the Home Office receives reports and suggestions from any and every source and carefully considers them.
§ Major GLYN
asked the Home Secretary who compose the committee for the censorship of cinema films; by whom are the appointments to that committee made; what is the cost of the committee; whether that charge is fully covered by the licensing costs of the films; what is the exact jurisdiction and power of the committee; and what action can the cinema trade take to prevent the exhibition of films that do not pass the censor?
§ Mr. SHORTT
I am informed that the British Board of Film Censors, which has been constituted by the cenemato-graph Trade to examine films before they are exhibited in public, consists of a president appointed by the trade associations (who is the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool) and of three examiners who are appointed by the president. There is, in addition, a small consultative committee representing the various branches of the industry, but this committee takes no part in the actual work of censoring. I am not in a position to give the actual cost of the Board, but I understand that the fees charged for examining films are not more than sufficient to cover the cost of the Board. The Board has no statutory or official authority, but I am informed that the majority of the proprietors of cinema theatres are party to an agreement not to show any film which has not received the certificate of the Board. I may add that local authorities have full power under the Cinematograph Act, 1909, to add to the licences which they grant conditions as to the character of the films exhibited, and in many cases the local authorities stipulate that all films must have been passed by the Board of Film Censors.