HC Deb 26 July 1979 vol 971 cc395-6W
Mr. Durant

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he has yet reached any decisions on further finance for the film industry.

Mr. Nott

As the House has been informed, I have had a special review carried out of the arrangements for financial support for commercial film production in Britain. I am now placing in the Library copies of the report on this subject which was made to me last month.

The second report of the Interim Action Committee on the Film Industry—Cmnd. 7597—has already been presented to Parliament, and I have had the benefit of personal discussion with the chairman of the committee, the right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson), and other members of the committee. In this discussion it was stressed that the most immediate issue was the future of the National Film Finance Corporation, though the committee continues to support the creation of a British film authority in the longer term.

The Government accept in principle that there is a continuing role for a body to help to mobilise finance for the production of British films of an indigenous character. We are not satisfied, however, that this should involve the provision of Government funds on a continuing basis. I therefore propose that a financial reconstruction should be effected enabling the NFFC to carry on with a clean sheet, and that the purposes for which funds can be allocated to the NFFC out of the exhibitors' levy, usually known as the Eady levy, should be extended so as to make a limited amount available in this way for film production. On this basis, I propose that consultations should take place to raise further funds for the reconstituted NFFC from non-Government sources. I am also prepared to consider a modest but final Government investment in the NFFC to launch this operation. I hope to set out these proposals in more detail later in the year.

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