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Film Industry

Volume 974: debated on Monday 19 November 1979

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1l.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what consultations he has had concerning the future of the film industry; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Leo Pliatzky, then of my Department, had wide-ranging consultations with the film industry, and copies of his report were placed in the Library on 26 July. I have also met representatives of the industry.

Although I am glad to hear that, is the Minister aware of the distrust in the film industry because of the contradictory and soothing statements and recommendations that are being made, not least by the right hon. Gentleman himself? Does the Minister agree that there is a great need for an indigenous film industry in this country and that the best way to achieve that, at least in the interim, is by adequate financing of the National Film Finance Corporation? Finally, will he confirm that, if there are any arrangements with the Eady levy, he will not use that as an excuse for reducing Government expenditure?

I am not aware of any distrust in the film industry about the Government's intentions. It is important to have a healthy indigenous film industry. The proposals that I made and publicised in July for the reconstruction of the National Film Finance Corporation, which involve some public money, will go forward, but the legislative timetable is not finally settled. We are hoping to present the Bill as planned during this parliamentary Session.

I reinforce the desire of my hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Dormand) to see an indigenous British film industry prosper. Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that timely Government assistance might give an opportunity for marketing some of the outstanding British talent which exists in the industry?

If the right hon. Gentleman is volunteering himself in the role of a star, I am sure that the film industry will be glad to publicise him.