Cinemas (Hours of Opening).

Oral Answers to Questions — Fuel and Power. – in the House of Commons on 28th July 1942.

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Photo of Mr Evelyn Walkden Mr Evelyn Walkden , Doncaster

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will examine the figures of attendances at cinemas between 12 noon and 3 p.m. on week-days to see if the returns are on an average low compared with the amount of electricity used, with a view to suggesting to the local authorities and representatives of the industry more economic hours of opening in those areas where such action is warranted?

Major Lloyd George:

I understand that such attendance figures are not available. While I appreciate that some saving of electricity would be realised by the means suggested, I doubt if this would justify the restriction of recreational facilities and the additional congestion of transport in the evening rush hours.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Walkden Mr Evelyn Walkden , Doncaster

While the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has announced quite recently what the Cinema Exhibitors' Association have suggested in the way of economies, will he not take into account the opinions of the workpeople's representatives, who claim that not more than 20 per cent. of the seats in most areas are occupied when the cinemas commence before 3 p.m.? Is there not reasonable ground for effecting some economy on these lines?

Major Lloyd George:

I am not anxious to interfere more than is necessary with recreational facilities, because they are extremely important. I am informed that, with regard to most of these cinemas, it is only in certain of the larger towns that they open before 2 p.m. In the other places, they do not. There are other methods of economising which they are now looking into and which will achieve far greater economies than could be achieved by this means.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

Do not the cinemas conduct most of their affairs in the dark?