Order for Second Reading read.
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."The object of the Bill is to allow the Treasury to make grants from time to time to the British Film Institute in addition to the grants now being paid by the Privy Council from the Cinematograph Fund established under the Sunday Entertainments Act, 1932. In inviting the House to agree to this, I have to say that the Government endorse the recommendations of the Radcliffe Committee which was set up by my right hon. Friend the Lord President some time ago. Before I say any more about the Bill, I should remind the House that the Sunday Entertainments Act enables local authorities to impose a levy on those opening cinemas on Sunday. Most of the proceeds of the levy go to charity but a proportion, which must not exceed five per cent. and which is at present five per cent., goes to the Privy Council and may be used as the Council directs for encouraging the use and development of the cinematograph as a means of entertainment and instruction. As to the British Film Institute, that body came into existence in 1933, following a conference initiated by the British Film Institute of Adult Education, which resulted in the formation of the Commission on Education and Cultural Films. This Commission recommended that such a body enjoying sufficient funds and independence of action to enable it to promote the various uses of the film as a contribution to national well-being, should be set up, and accordingly, following that recommendation, the British Film Institute came into existence. Those who have read the report of the Radcliffe Committee, Cmd. Paper 7361, will find that the objects of the British Film Institute are concisely set out there. Among others, they are:
In December, 1947, the Lord President of the Council set up a Committee of Inquiry under the chairmanship of Sir Cyril Radcliffe, from whose report I have just quoted. The Committee had a fair number of meetings and went exhaustively into the whole matter. They found that while the Institute had not done all that had originally been hoped for it, it had done a great deal to promote the study of films in this country and to guide those interested in them into the right channels. It found that the Institute bad established a National Film Library in which are preserved films selected to show how the art of the film has developed and to serve as a record of contemporary life and manners. The library now has a collection of more than 3,000 films which, as I expect most hon. Members present know, is housed in vaults specially built at Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire. The Institute has also started an information section to deal with inquiries over a wide field and with correspondence and work in connection with similar activities overseas. It has also done its best to promote appreciation of the film as a form of art and the specialised use of the film largely in the field of education through its publications and by lectures, summer schools and courses, and by the encouragement of allied societies. At the same time the Committee came to the conclusion that on the funds available to the Institute it would be impossible for it to extend its activities as, in the view of the Committee, it was essential that it should. It therefore proposed that money should be found to provide the Institute with additional funds sufficient to enable it to engage in an annual expenditure up to about £100,000, with a further £30,000 for capital outgoings. The Government considered this Report and accepted most of the recommendations, subject to two reservations. The first was that the Government did not feel that in present circumstances the commitment involved in setting up regional offices for the Institute was justified. The second was that it could not commit itself to the figure of annual expenditure of £100,000 plus, to begin with, £30,000 for capital expenditure. Subject to those reservations, the new constitution recommended by the Committee has been adopted and the new governing body, under its chairman Mr. Cecil King, has been appointed. A detailed budget has been drawn up and has been discussed with us at the Treasury. We think that it would not be right for the full financial recommendation of the Committee to be accepted, but that something rather less should be provided for. We suggest that the estimated expenditure for the year 1949–50 should be £96,000, including £7,000 for capital expenditure. This £96,000 will be met in the following way: from subscriptions to the Institute, from sales and rentals of films, and from other sources, we estimate that about £28,000 should accrue; that from the Cinematograph Fund £22,000 should be received; that the grant-in-aid under the Civil Estimates, Class IV, Vote 10, for the current year should be £46,000. The British Film Institute is not referred to by name in the 1932 Act but the Public Accounts Committee was told in 1936 that it came into existence practically because of the setting up of that Measure, and it was in the mind of Parliament at the time the Bill was going through that the relevant Section of the Act was passed so that the Institute could come into being. As this is the position, and as the acceptance of the recommendation of the Radcliffe Committee involves supplementing a grant from what is really a statutory fund, the Government have felt it right that, as this would seem to be an extension of the powers granted by that Act, we should promote this Bill and come to the House for the legislative sanction for what is now proposed."To influence public opinion to appreciate the value of films as entertainment and instruction … to advise educational institutions and other organisations and persons as to sources and conditions of supply, types of films and apparatus … to promote and undertake research into the various uses of the film and of allied visual and auditory apparatus … to establish and maintain a national repository of films of permanent value … to act, if required, as an advisory body to the Government Departments concerned with the use and control of films."
The right hon. Gentleman has given an outline of the activities of this Institute. Could he tell us on what class of activity the £96,000 is to be spent?
I have not the detailed budget by me, but if it is possible before the Debate ends to break down the figure, I shall be happy to do so. All we are asking Parliament to do is to give legislative sanction to the suggestion that a grant-in-aid should be made year by year, not to pass the budget of the Institute. The proper time to devote detailed attention to the proposed grant of £46,000 for this year will be when the Estimates are being considered in Committee of Supply.The amount involved is relatively small, and, in the light of the importance of the work of the Institute, this money can be said to be well spent. Indeed, if it were spent only on the compilation of the National Film Library at Aston Clinton, it would be well worth while. Thanks to the wonderful collection and the research work into film preservation over long periods, it will be possible for future generations actually to see present-day history and those making it, as well as to read about it. How interesting it would have been if we today could have witnessed King Alfred burning the cakes and could have heard the browbeating he received afterwards, or have seen and judged for ourselves the relative merits of the wives of King Henry VIII. There is no need for me to stress here the importance of films in our national life. "Going to the pictures" appears to be the main recreation of millions of people. The influence of films on the thoughts, actions and beliefs of vast masses all over the world is profound. A body like the Institute is essential as a guide and in order to co-ordinate as well as to record the progress of this great moulder of public opinion. The Institute has already done great work and on behalf of the Government and, I hope, of all hon. Members present, I wish to pay a tribute to the work of Mr. Oliver Bell, the late Director of the Institute, and of Mr. E. H. Lindgren, who has done so much for the Film Library. Mr. Bell's devoted service during formative years of the Institute has been of great help, and we are indebted to him for the drive, the initiative and the enthusiasm he has given to this work. I hope, therefore, that the Bill will receive the cordial support of hon. Members in all quarters of the House.
It is unusual, and it fills me with a certain vague dread to have to get up at this Box twice in a morning and express approval of the legislation of His Majesty's present advisers. None the less, when that unfortunate occasion arises, I do it with such good grace as I can command in answer to the most thoughtful and lucid exposition which the right hon. Gentleman has given the House.We have to consider three questions in approaching this matter. First, our general view of the work of the Institute which we form from our own mental processes. In view of what we know with regard to the library, which we are glad to think is probably the best film library in the world, and the general work of the Institute, we are predisposed to approve. I have a vivid recollection, Mr. Erich Pommer, who was a well-known producer engaged by U.F.A. films in Berlin after the last war, at what I considered their highest and best period, telling me of the striking effect on German and French relations in the days between 1925 and 1930—those hopeful days before the Nazis had come into greater influence—of these U.F.A. films being shown in Paris. They lit a faint and short-lived but none the less real candle of hope by showing a different psychological aspect of the national character which might in other events have led to much more happy things. Fifteen years afterwards I read, as no doubt have other hon. Members, a fascinating study of German films explaining the development of German psychology from the period I have just mentioned up to 1939, and the intensely interesting inter-relation of the development of national psychology and the films seen by the people who composed that national psychology. The relevance of that is that it was entirely due to the possibility of there being access to films and largely that they used the opposite number of the Film Institute's library and facilities in New York. I approached this matter from the point of view of its being of great value and encouraging the promotion of institutions of similar value in other countries. In this case the Government have had the matter reviewed by a committee under the chairmanship of Sir Cyril Radcliffe and again I feel it is personally hard as I might have had the opportunity of attacking the work of an old friend and valued colleague, but cannot do so because I have to agree with the result. From that point of view, also, the matter having been examined, we understand the Government are broadly adopting the conclusions at which the committee arrived, subject to reservations which the right hon. Gentleman is making in his capacity as Treasury watchdog. The third point is the question of amounts. Obviously it would be a prima facie duty of the Opposition to ask for a maximum, but we have heard the right hon. Gentleman on this point. He has explained that £50,000 out of the £96,000 total expenditure and £89,000 annual expenditure will be met either by subscriptions and sales or by the result of the Fund and that the grant in aid for the current year is running at £46,000, More important than that, we realise the approach which the right hon. Gentleman has put to us and, so long as that approach is maintained, we are not disposed to quarrel with the absence of a maximum, because we realise that a certain flexibility on an important subject like this is a valuable characteristic. For these reasons, my right hon. and hon. Friends and myself agree to the Second Reading.
I intervened when the right hon. Gentleman was moving the Second Reading because I thought it would be appropriate for the House to have an opportunity of seeing where this expenditure was to be made. As everyone knows, the Film Institute has a fairly wide variety of activities and some of us feel that some of those activities are more justifiable and have more fruitful results than others. It would have been interesting for the House to know where this expenditure was to lie.I noticed from the Financial Memorandum that the Government were reluctant to agree to an expenditure of the order of £100,000, but it appears that they now accept a figure which is not very far below that level. It is very easy on paper to justify all kinds of organisations, and, like the army officer, one can always put down that the activities of so-and-so amount to this that and the other, and make a pretty good case so far as the written word is concerned. I am afraid that in the country today we are getting too many organisations and business people are spending too much time attending to organisations of a quasi-governmental character, instead of looking after their own businesses. We are running into the danger of having far too many of these bodies floating around. While not disapproving of the Bill, I query the value of the Institute's work for the improvement and appreciation of films. For instance, I think everyone will admit that it would be very desirable to have good-class documentary films in place of the rubbishy supporting feature films we have today. What progress has been made by the Institute towards getting public opinion along those lines? I should say that there has been a better appreciation of artistic merit in spheres in which there has been no comparable body trying to do this work. Who would deny that in the appreciation of good music and the ballet there has been an enormous uplift in the past eight or nine years? That is not the result of any particular body, so far as I am aware. Has there been in the film industry a rise in artistic appreciation comparable with the rise in the field of music and the ballet? I should say not. Therefore, I query that side of the work of the Film Institute which has purported to direct itself towards improving the standards of appreciation. No one denies the value of the Library, and we agree that this Institute ought to be supported. We should like to see a little more the breakdown of the total sum of expenditure and we hope that in the future the Institute will be able to improve the standard of appreciation and, particularly, to get people to realise that the documentary film has a place in our film life. At the moment, exhibitors, and, to a large extent, many of the filmgoers, will not have a documentary at any price. It may be that is the fault of those who produce documentaries, but I feel that some attempt to get the documentary to take the place of the trashy second feature film would be a welcome improvement. I hope that the Institute in obtaining this substantial sum from the taxpayer, will see to it that activities devoted to raising the standard of appreciation are more fruitful than they have been in the past.
For two years during this Parliament I was an associate governor of the British Film Institute on behalf of the Colonial Office, and before the war I was interested myself in making some educational films, Therefore, I came into contact a good deal with the work of the British Film Institute. In answer to one or two points made by the hon. Member for Bucklow (Mr. W. Shepherd), I think the Film Institute has done a great deal to encourage the appreciation of documentary films in this country in a way which is, perhaps, not generally known.The hon. Member may know that they arrange for literally thousands of showings of documentary films, mainly with 16 mm. apparatus, in halls all over the country rather than in public cinemas. Another thing of great value which they do is to review and appraise all films made for school publication. They publish a catalogue of films made for educational purposes in which they grade the films and thereby help various schools who want to use films to a great extent. Another way in which they have tried to encourage appreciation of films is by arranging film festivals, such as the Czechoslovakian Film Festival a short time ago. They have arranged others and have others in prospect, and everyone concerned feels that they do a good deal towards raising the level of appreciation. I am not suggesting that there are not many other ways in which the Institute could expand its activities, but, considering the wide range of work which they do, I do not think the suggested sum is exorbitant. When one remembers that there has recently been a complete overhaul of the Institute's organisation generally, and that it is embarking on quite a new programme, I think that we can vote this money with a feeling that there will be a considerable improvement on what has been done and that in any case enough has been done to justify this sum.
I feel sure that all who are interested in the film as a medium of education and culture will appreciate this Bill in view of the fact that it more or less puts into operation the proposals of the Radcliffe Committee. I read the report of that Committee with great interest. I feel that they approached sympathetically the whole problem of the use of films for education and cultural purposes. The British Film Institute, of which I was a founder member, has worked under great difficulties during the whole of its life. Its budget has been very restricted, and although it has received the sympathy and support of all organisations interested in the film as a medium of education and culture, it has always been felt that the Institute could never fulfil itself because the grant which supported it was so entirely inadequate.One has only to look at the work of the National Film Library, which is run under its auspices, to realise how restricted that work has been on account of the lack of finance. The Library already has 3,000 films in its vaults, but it has been possible to make only 100 films available to the public. That is a great shame. If the Institute had had more money a great many more films would have been available for public exhibition. Today there are many films in the vaults of the British Film Institute which are not available on account of the lack of finance, and which people would like to show because of their cultural value and because they have historical significance. The work of the British Film Institute has covered a wide field. It has encouraged the appreciation of the film, it has a working association with educational bodies, it has undertaken the instruction of teachers both in the appreciation of the film and the intricacies of projection, and from time to time it has held summer schools at which teachers and those interested in the promotion of film societies have been invited to attend. All this work, covering, as I have said, a very wide field, has been done on a very restricted budget. I was sorry to hear the remark of the hon. Member for Bucklow (Mr. W. Shepherd) to the effect that there are too many bodies being financed by the Government these days. The Government have not been very generous to the British Film Institute. When one looks at the work of the Arts Council and the encouragement which that body has had from the Government, one can see the difference, a difference which perhaps accounts for the success which there has been in developing musical appreciation and appreciation of the ballet as compared with the appreciation of the film. The education authorities should introduce appreciation of the film into the curriculum in the same way as they include appreciation of music, art, etc. The film can become a much more powerful medium of education and culture in this country if only there is someone to look after that aspect of the matter. We cannot expect the commercial side of the film industry to appraise the artistic value of a film; they are bound to be interested in the box office effect. It is essential that we should have a recognised responsible body appraising the artistic value of films as they are shown. I agree with the hon. Member for Bucklow on the desirability of our having a better type of film to take the place of the second-feature film—not all second-feature films because some have been first-class. Unfortunately, because people have always had two feature films in the programme there appears to be some resentment when documentaries and films of that kind are introduced. The result is that the documentary side is being starved, and in these days people cannot afford to take the risk of making documentary films unless they are sponsored because there is little possibility of their appearing in the cinema. That is the position, whether we like it or not. The work of the British Film Institute can encourage the development of a much higher standard of film appreciation. I hope that the Government will watch the development of the work of the Film Institute, and that, if they feel that the results justify the expenditure, the Institute will not be restricted to £100,000. It costs a lot of money to reduce standard films to non-standard size and for showing in schools and by film societies it is necessary to have non-inflammable films, which means that films have to be reduced to the sub-standard size. That is an expensive process, and unless that is done it means that the films will not be available to the kind of organisation which is in a position to show them. I imagine that the reason there are only 100 films available for public exhibition out of a library of 3,000 films is that the British Film Institute has not had the means whereby it could reduce those films to non-standard size. With more money at its disposal it would be able to do so to a much greater extent. If public appreciation of the film is fostered, the commercial side of the film industry need have no fear; it will be an asset to the commercial side, and people will go to the cinema with a much greater measure of discrimination than is the case today. Therefore, I most heartily welcome this Bill. I hope that the Government will sympathetically consider any future suggestions which are made by the Institute for the development of the organisation, particularly for the development of organisations in the regions. This kind of work must not be centralised if it is to be done effectively. The films must be in the regions; the Central Office of Information has found that type of organisation to be necessary. If the Institute is to develop the idea of showing sample programmes of selected films to the public and to interested people, it means that it must have the machinery for doing that kind of thing. It certainly needs to start with a small cinema or small studio in London where the films can be shown.
I must, as I have done on previous occasions, declare a very considerable interest in the film industry. I must also make it clear that I am speaking for myself, and not necessarily for my hon. and right hon. Friends, though in fact I agree with everything said by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe). Incidentally, he asked me to express his apologies to the House as he had to leave for an important engagement in the country.It is not unnatural after an extremely strenuous Parliamentary week, and it being a very lovely day, that there is a thin attendance in this House; but as a matter of fact some of the issues raised in this Bill, some of the points which have been put in the little Debate which we have had, are really of great importance. I am glad to see that the right hon. Gentleman who—speaking of him in his personal and not his political capacity is a very acute observer of events in this House—agrees with me. I wish to pay a tribute to the work which has been done by the British Film Institute and I am pleased to see present two hon. Gentlemen opposite who either have been or are connected with it. Especially valuable has been the work of the Film Library. I think I am right in saying—I am not an expert in these matters—that there is nothing like it in any other country. I cannot resist a little friendly chaff of the Financial Secretary. He said that it would be interesting, if films had been in existence in those days, to have had a film of Alfred spoiling the cakes and of the wives of Henry VIII. I suggest that it would be equally interesting, even today, to show a picture of the average working man in employment having his Sunday dinner in the "bad old days of Tory misrule." Perhaps the Film Institute would think about putting that on the screen. I am sure that the organisation with which I am connected would be very willing to give it screen time—with the beef and the beer and all the rest of it. The film can be made into a valuable historical repository of knowledge. The organisation with which I am connected, the J. Arthur Rank Organisation, were associated with the Institute in producing a highly successful festival of Czechoslovakian films. It was held in London last year, and I have no doubt that the Institute has in mind the possibility of the extension of that principle, and of having other exhibitions of foreign films in this country. I consider it an advantage that the Institute has on its council representatives of the industry, and that there has been the closest and most friendly co-operation between representatives of the industry and of the Institute. I have no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman—if he thinks it necessary to reply to this short Debate—will accept the point which I am about to make, that it is most advisable for the Institute to endeavour to carry the trade with them and to secure the continuance of that form of co-operation. Now I come to a point where I am in some disagreement with my hon. Friend the Member for Bucklow (Mr. Shepherd). It is a point which I consider very important, although there may be hon. Members opposite who may equally be in disagreement with me. There is always the danger that a body of this kind, receiving a direct subsidy from the Government, may make, in embryo at any rate, an effort to create means whereby this or any other Government could use the very powerful instrument of the cinema, and we have to be careful here to see that that influence is not allegedly exercised in favour of a better type of film, but really exercised in favour of propaganda. I do not think that danger does arise, but I call attention to it. No one attempts, so far as I know, to lay down, through a Government sponsored organisation, for the newspaper industry or for the theatre what articles should be written or what plays should be produced. That issue may arise when we receive the report of the Commission on the Press. But, at any rate, there is no such thing at the present time. I was therefore slightly concerned at the friendly criticism of my hon. Friend the Member for Bucklow who suggested that the Institute might do more to bring about the production of better films. I must repeat what hon. Gentlemen opposite, also connected with the film industry but not present in the House today, have said before on more than one occasion and with which I associated myself. The cinema industry, like other industries, has to a considerable extent to have regard to public taste. It can of course endeavour to improve the public taste, just as can the theatre and newspapers. But there is an only too prevalent idea in certain quarters, ignorant of the entertainment industry, that if only the cinema industry would produce the type of film which certain aesthetic people would like to see produced, then the industry would be in a very much safer position than it is today. In fact, the opposite is the case. Again and again when a certain film has been produced, which is supposed to be of great aesthetic and artistic value, and some cinemas have shown it, it has proved to be a complete and absolute failure. We cannot ask the public to pay to see something which they do not want to see. In this connection I would say with regard to at least one film critic—I will not give her name—that what would satisfy that particular film critic would not satisfy the public and anything which satisfies the public would not satisfy that particular critic.
Is the noble Lord advocating that the cinema should pander to low ideals, if it happens that the public taste for the time being stands for low ideals?
I said nothing of the sort, and I am rather surprised that the hon. Member, who I believe to be a fair-minded man, should attribute such an astonishing idea to me. I have already said that while the cinema industry, like the newspaper industry, or the theatre, or as a matter of fact this House, can do its best to improve the standard of debate and news and plays presented, the cinema industry is conditioned, just as the Press and Parliament are conditioned, by the wishes of the public.
I put the point only because of a controversy which arose between the noble Lord and me on a past occasion when children's cinema clubs were discussed, and on that occasion he seemed to me to stand for the showing of films which were highly unsuitable for children to see.
I do not know why the hon. Member should attribute any such intention to me. I have forgotten the circumstances, but I think that what I did say on that occasion—and it is indeed the fact, but I must not enter into a discussion on that otherwise I shall be out of Order—is that it was discovered that children like certain types of adventure films. If given purely education films they do not take much interest in them, probably, I have no doubt, because they have seen at least some of them in school.The cinema industry relies upon public support. If hon. Members of this House were only to make speeches which they thought were good but which the public did not like; if newspaper articles were written which nobody would read, but which were considered to have a great moral value; if plays put on at the theatre emptied the theatre, but were considered to promote international morality, it would be contrary to the whole democratic principles of the country—
I do not propose to give way again I have already given way twice to the hon. Member. This is a democratic community and its institutions in their policy must have regard to the wishes of the public to a very considerable extent. It is true that by wise guidance the Press, the theatre and cinema industry like Members of this House can endeavour to give a lead to the public along the channels which they think right. It is high falutin nonsense to say that it is the duty of the cinema to give the people what they do not want and never to give them what they do want. I think the Institute has materially helped to a considerable extent in assisting the industry in producing an informed opinion on the whole subject.In regard to the amount of money, the figure is not excessive, but I imagine that the right hon. Gentleman would be the first to agree that, for the time being at any rate, the Institute should be satisfied with the amount given. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman said so in his speech. The report of the committee asked for a larger sum of money, but I think they should be satisfied with this sum. I hope the Institute will continue its good work and that it will confine itself to that work. I hope there will be nothing tendentious about the guidance which it gives. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would be the first to admit that it is very necessary that the Institute should be kept free from any sort of political bias, and, subject to those reservations, I commend the Bill.
I can speak again only with the leave of the House, but I should like to answer briefly some of the points made. I am grateful, on behalf of the Government, that the House has received this small Bill with such goodwill and approval. I should also like to say to the noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) that it is my view, and I am positive it is also that of the overwhelming majority of the House, that any money that is given for these purposes should not, either directly or indirectly, be used to subsidise or assist any set of views. The grant is at large, but I think the House appreciates why it is not necessary to put in a specific figure. Although a figure is not there, it should not be felt that any amount can be given by way of grant-in-aid, because there are always the Committee of Supply and the Estimates Committee to keep in check any Government which hon. Members might feel was running away with the matter.The hon. Member for Bucklow (Mr. W. Shepherd) said we were not, in the amount which we were willing to give, very much below the estimate set forth in the Report of the Radcliffe Committee; but, considering the amount involved, I think we are going considerably below it. The suggestion made was not a hard-and-fast one, but was that something in the neighbourhood of £100,000 should be given annually, plus £30,000 for capital expenditure, which makes £130,000.
Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me? In the Financial Memorandum it is estimated that, apart from capital expenditure of £30,000, which is not annual, the future annual expenses of the Institute may be of the order of £100,000.
I take the hon. Gentleman's point. I realise that he is striking a balance between the £96,000 and the £130,000. Even then, it is a difference of £34,000, but it is a small point and I do not wish to labour it. The hon. Gentleman also said that he hoped that this does not mean that the Government enjoy increasing the number of these organisations for which they are willing to find subsidies. This Institute has been in existence for some time, and what we are doing here is done at the request of a Committee upon whose judgment I feel sure we can rely in asking the House to give legislative approval to its recommendations.
May I interrupt the right hon. Gentleman? More has, of course, been achieved since the Institute was founded, but, on behalf of myself and the organisation with which I am connected, I should like to say that other organisations as well have produced such features as those which were known as "The March of Time," which were of an instructional nature, and that much of that nature has been done by private enterprise. The right hon. Gentleman is, of course, able to claim that that was partly due to the influence of the Institute.
I do not desire to make undue claims for the work of the Institute, and it is quite true that private enterprise organisations outside did a great deal of work, side by side with the Institute, and one reason why more has not been done has been the fact that they have not had the money with which to do it. That is another reason why we are now asking the House to make provision so that additional grants may be given to enable them to do more than it has been possible to do in the past.I promised the hon. Member for Bucklow that I would break down the figure of £96,000, and it may interest him and the House to know that it breaks down in the following manner. For the Institute itself, administration, the publication of "Sight and Sound" and the monthly bulletin, central booking and other services, £37,000; the National Film Library is expected to cost about £11,000; accommodation and administration in London and Aston Clinton are expected to cost about £31,000; the Festival of Britain and allowances there, about £2,000; grants-in-aid, £8,000, the largest of which is £5,000, to the Scottish Films Council; and, finally, £7,000 for capital expenditure, bringing the whole total up to £96.000. We shall be able to discuss these matters in greater detail when we reach the Estimates. My hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Reeves) said that the work had been restricted because of the inadequate grants which had previously been allocated, and other hon. Members have mentioned that point. Perhaps I may refer to the passage in the Report which deals with this matter. The grant from the Cinematograph Fund averaged under £9,000 until 1944. Therefore, in the early days little was done because of lack of money. It is only since then that larger sums have been available, and therefore, if the Institute was to continue with this work, and if, as I think most of us desire, it was to increase it, it was essential that funds should be found from other sources. In reply to the speech of the noble Lord, I might say that he spoke as he always does. He never speaks in this House unless he is interested and has knowledge of the subject, and on this subject he is extremely knowledgeable. I agree with him that we have got to give the public what it wants, although a great deal can be done to educate public opinion. Some of the advertisements which one sees in the Press are not the sort of advertisements that one would like to see. I was looking at one last night in one of the evening papers. A prominent feature of it was that the film dealt with the illicit loves of certain individuals. It may be that the public desire that—I do not know; but we have to remember that we have to cater for all tastes. Our job, and the job of others interested in this matter, is to try to improve the appreciation of the public, and to make it demand good films. As and when people do demand better films, I am positive that such films will be forthcoming.
The point is very fairly put by the right hon. Gentleman.
A great deal has been done. The works of Shakespeare and of Dickens are now being filmed, and those of us who watch these matters know that when films of that calibre are produced and shown, people flock in crowds to see them.Before I sit down, I should like to remind the noble Lord that the working man having his dinner under the old days of Tory rule will be seen in films by future generations. As the noble Lord well knows, not only documentary and historical films, but also modern and feature films are kept at Aston Clinton. Therefore, it will be possible for future generations, when they are shown the feature films of today, to see how we lived in all classes of society. They will be able to judge between one Government and another from the films they see in days to come. I close by thanking the House for the reception it has given to this Bill. Although it is a small Bill and the House today is thinly populated, nevertheless, I think that if we do give it a Second Reading, as I am sure we shall, we shall have done a good day's work.
Question put, and agreed to.
Bill read a Second time.
Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House for Monday next.—[ Mr. Popplewell.]