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Film Industry (Eady Levy)

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 29 July 1954

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44.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if, in view of the failure of the film industry to agree on a basis for continuing the Eady Levy, he will introduce a statutory scheme forthwith.

49.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the failure of the film producers and exhibitors to agree on the amount of the voluntary levy to aid film production and on the division of the recent tax reliefs, he will introduce statutory schemes for both purposes and place all sections of the film industry under his supervision and control.

I regret to say that while the other three associations concerned are willing to accept my suggestion to proceed at once to arbitration, the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association is not, at this time, prepared to agree that matters have reached a stage which makes arbitration appropriate. I still hope that agreement may be reached, but I think the interest of all concerned will be best served if I make no further statement at this stage.

Does the President not think it would encourage the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association to agree to arbitration if he would make a categorical statement that he will introduce legislation in the event of failure to agree? Will he state, also, that this legislation will be made retrospective to the end of the present voluntary agreement?

I do not want to elaborate upon this rather complex problem at present, but I certainly have not departed from the statement I made previously about the necessity of having a scheme of this kind, if necessary by statutory means.

While I appreciate that the right hon. Gentleman does not want to get too deeply involved in this business at the moment, will he bear in mind that he has a public responsibility in this matter and that in these discussions the interests of the cinemagoers, who pay for the industry and keep it going, ought to be borne in mind?

The industry, too, has a responsibility in this matter to try to arrive at a sensible solution of its own problems.