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Film Industry

Volume 982: debated on Monday 31 March 1980

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14.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when next he expects to meet representatives of the British film industry.

I meet representatives of the industry frequently, but I have at present no plans for a meeting.

When the Minister next meets representatives of the film industry will he give them a categorical assurance that the Government believe in the existence of a British film industry? Is he aware that the help that the Government have given recently is totally inadequate to maintain the industry? Is not the fact that the National Film Finance Corporation was able to contribute financially to only four films last year, compared with as many as 60 a few years ago, ample evidence of the neglect that has been shown?

The hon. Gentleman will no doubt recollect that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made a statement last year about the proposals that we would bring forward for additional finance for the film industry. That remains the position and I hope to be able to help with that matter before too long.

Will the hon. Gentleman at the same time look for a practical way of helping the Children's Film Foundation, which makes very good films and is much appreciated world-wide for the excellence of its products? Will the hon. Gentleman consider ways of supporting it in the future?

I share the hon. Lady's view that the foundation has done some very good work. I believe that she will know that I am due to see representatives of the foundation shortly.