Film Quota

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th November 1954.

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Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Birmingham Aston 12:00 am, 9th November 1954

asked the President of the Board of Trade when his Department last issued lists of those cinemas which failed to show the number of British films appropriate to them over a given period, irrespective of whether such failure could be justified; and why he has now ceased this practice.

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich South

As my right hon. Friend told the hon. Member on 1st April last, the Board of Trade has never issued such a list.

Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Birmingham Aston

As I have in my hand a volume of HANSARD which records the answers giving such lists, I wonder whether the Minister will be good enough to go back to his Department and complain that he is being given inaccurate information for this House? I have a list here which was published in HANSARD by his predecessor.

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich South

If, on the information given to me, I find that I have given an inaccurate answer, I shall certainly come to the House and apologise. I have given an answer based on the information given to me.

Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Birmingham Aston

asked the President of the Board of Trade in how many cases during the last three years, ended September, 1954, the Defaults Sub-Committee of the Films Council has recommended a prosecution; and how many cases have been submitted by the Board of Trade for the consideration of this sub-committee in the three years ended September, 1954.

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich South

None, Sir. This is not the function either of the Cinematograph Films Council or of the Defaults Sub-Committee.

Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Birmingham Aston

Is the Minister aware that there is great uneasiness in the film industry at the way in which he has shielded offenders against the requirements of the Quota Act by not instituting prosecutions against them? Is he also aware of the machinery laid down in the Act by which he should submit these cases for consideration to the Films Council and ask for its advice; and even though most members of the Council are themselves guilty of this offence, is it not better to carry out the provisions of the Act rather than to ignore them?

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich South

The hon. Gentleman's suggestion that we are not carrying out the Act is either based on misinformation on the facts or a misunderstanding of the statute. The position is that the question whether a prosecution is or is not to be instituted is for the Board of Trade and for the Board of Trade alone. There is a question under Section 13 of the 1938 Act on which we do seek the advice of the Films Council, and that has been done.