HC Deb 01 April 1996 vol 275 c71W
23. Mr. Whittingdale

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what representations she has received about the future of the British film industry. [21915]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

I receive regular representations from members of the film industry on a wide range of film-related issues.

Mr. Jon Owen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will make a statement on the British film industry. [21918]

Mrs. Bottomley

The British film industry is currently in a buoyant state and the Government are committed to boosting it further. I congratulate Emma Thompson, Nick Park, James Acheson and John Blair on their recent success in winning academy awards, and also all those who were nominated. Over the past 20 years, British talent has won around 30 per cent. of all Oscars. A number of initiatives have recently been announced which will take forward the proposals set out in the policy paper published last year. Principal among these is confirmation that the national lottery will make more than £100 million available to film-related projects over the next five years—some £19.5 million has already been allocated. We have also set up an Advisory Committee on Film Finance, which is looking at obstacles to investment in the film industry and I look forward to receiving its report in July. I have also recently announced further allocations of money to Cinema 100, which is co-ordinating the celebrations of the centenary of the cinema, to the British Film Institute and to the European Film Studio. My Department has now started a feasibility study into the viability of a west end showcase for British films and I await the outcome of that study with great interest.

As well as these new initiatives, the Government are also, of course, committed to the continued funding of the British Film Institute, the National Film and Television School, British Screen Finance, the European Co-production Fund and the British Film Commission.