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I beg to move,
That the Cinematograph Films (Collection of Levy) (Amendment No. 4) Regulations, 1965, a draft of which was laid before this House on 29th April, be approved.
As hon. Members will know, the levy, which is a proportion of cinema takings, is paid into a fund and distributed to producers of British films. In order to improve the condition of cinemas whose box office receipts are small the levy is not payable in any week when receipts fall below a prescribed limit, which is now £300.
The purpose of the new Regulations is to increase to £350 the amount which a cinema may take in any week before incurring levy liability. The reason for the proposed change is that the value of the existing exemption has been eroded by increased cinema operating costs of some 15 per cent. since it was fixed in November, 1962. The proposed increase to £350 will merely restore the status quo and thus assist small exhibitors who remain in business.
The levy yield in the year which ended in October, 1964, was the record sum of £4·2 million. It has been estimated that the change in the exemption limit will reduce the yield by about £100,000 in a full year but that this reduction is likely to be at least partially offset as a result of increased takings in cinemas generally. This Measure should benefit producers and distributors as well as exhibitors, especially if it enables more cinemas to be kept open. The Cinematograph Films Council has been consulted and agrees with the proposal and I am confident that it will prove acceptable to the House.