asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that during the first quarter of this quota year only nine British films of feature length have been registered; and will he put a stop to the process of drawing on the reduced man-power and studio space of the British film industry proper, in view of the fact that many of these persons so withdrawn are reincorporated in Government and service film units?
The Answer to the first part of the Question is "Yes, Sir." In view of the unforseeable demands for manpower and factory space for war purposes, I cannot give any undertaking that the film industry will be allowed to preserve intact its present labour force or even its present studio space; but every effort will be made to continue to preserve a sufficient nucleus of film production. The form of service on which persons withdrawn from the film industry are emplayed is not the direct concern of my Department but my hon. Friend will appreciate that the Government and Service film units are doing work of great importance.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if the present position is allowed to continue unchecked, the British film industry, which has been built up with such trouble during the last 20 years, will soon be in the deplorable condition it was in at the end of the last war? Will he look into the position closely himself?
I can assure the hon. Lady that I am looking into it very closely. I am receiving representatives of the film industry in the course of the next week. I am anxious to do everything possible, but the film industry, like every other industry, is subject to the inevitable pressures of war, as the hon. Lady will recognise.