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LIGHTS ... CAMERAS ... ACTION ON LONDON CINEMAS

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Cinemagoers in the capital are getting a raw deal on the number of cinemas they can visit and the choice of films t...
Cinemagoers in the capital are getting a raw deal on the number of cinemas they can visit and the choice of films they can watch, research by the London Assembly has revealed.

Conducted ahead of its scrutiny into cinemas this week, the research by the Assembly's Culture Committee found that 13 of London's 32 boroughs had fewer cinema screens than the national average. In the rest of the country, there are 5.4 cinema screens for every 100,000 people; however Lewisham and Waltham Forest do not have a single cinema. Residents of Hackney, Brent, Wandsworth, Hillingdon and Sutton are among those with limited access to a cinema than nationally.

The research [1] also reveals that cinemas away from the West End offered very little choice on the type of film to watch. In outer London, nine out of 10 films screened are American [2], and only eight percent of screenings are foreign language films.

Meg Hillier, chair of the committee, said: 'It is unacceptable that there is such a great disparity in cinemas across London. This committee will look at what can be done to ensure Londoners have the widest possible choice of cinemas and films feasibly available.'

The research will form the basis of questioning at the committee meeting today. The committee will take evidence from representatives of the Cinema Exhibitors Association, Association of Independent Exhibitors, Film Distributors Association, British Film Institute and Film London. The Committee's report is expected to be published on 20 October 2003.

Notes

1. During the week 8-14 August, a sample was taken of the range of films available to Londoners

2. Including American independent films

3. Borough by borough breakdown of cinema screens per 100,000 people:

London Borough Cinema Screens per 100,000

Barking & Dagenham 5.5

Barnet 6.4

Bexley 4.1

Bre nt 1.1

Bromley 3.4

Camden 12.1

City of London 27.8

Croydon 6.7

Ealing 5

Enfield 9.9

Greenwich 6.5

Hammersmith & Fulham 15.7

Hackney 0.5

Haringey 9.7

Harrow 5.3

Havering 7.1

Hillingdon 1.2

Hounslow 7.1

Islington 10.2

Kensington & Chelsea 13.8

Kingston 9.5

Lambeth 7.9

Lewisham 0

Merton 4.8

Newham 8.2

Redbridge 7.5

Richmond 4.6

Southwark 6.1

Sutton 3.3

Tower Hamlets 7.6

Wandsworth 1.2

Waltham Forest 0

Westminster 38.6

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