HC Deb 23 January 1930 vol 234 cc364-5W

asked the Home Secretary if he will consider the advisability of introducing legislation for the purpose of securing that, as from and after a date to be appointed by Parliament, where films are used for public exhibition to any audience composed mainly of children, such films shall be of a non-inflammable type?


Before answering this question, my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Scotland and I should like to express, on behalf of the Government—and I am sure every Member of the House will wish to be associated with what I say—our great concern at the terrible disaster which recently occurred at Paisley and our deepest sympathy with the relatives of the children who lost their lives or who were injured.

I should be very glad if it were possible to adopt my hon. Friend's suggestion, not only for exhibitions given to children, but for all cinematograph exhibitions. The Home Office has watched this question closely and has considered for a long time the possibility of insisting upon the adoption of a less inflammable type of film; but I am assured that on technical grounds it would not be feasible in the present stage of development to forbid the use of the more inflammable material in the case of films which have to fulfil the exacting requirements and stand the wear and tear of constant use in the cinema theatres. The regulations made by the Home Office under the Cinematograph Act were specially framed to meet the dangers from the use of inflammable films, and if properly carried out they reduce the risks, as long experience has shown, to a minimum. The causes of the Paisley disaster are being investigated by my right hon. Friend, and if, when the results of the investigations are known, there is any reason to believe that the regulations require amendment at any point, or that their enforcement by the local authorities is not effective, I can assure the House that immediate action will be taken.