Huppert takes fight to save Picturehouse to Business Secretary

17 October, 2013 No Comments

MP Julian Huppert has called on Business Secretary, Vince Cable to look into the Competition Commission’s decision which could force the sale of Cambridge’s Arts Picturehouse.

And he also wants Dr Cable to investigate why the Commission acted to end the alleged Cineworld ‘monopoly’ in the city but failed to act against the local monopoly of Tesco or Stagecoach.

Julian accepted that Dr Cable would not be able to overrule the Commission but told him that anything he could do would be appreciated.

The two met after Julian launched a petition and attended a demo against the threatened closure of the Arts Picturehouse. He also raised the issue with the Leader of the House of Commons, Andrew Lansley who agreed that the Competition Commission had no cause to intervene in the ownership of the cinema.

Julian told Dr Cable: “I believe this is a deeply flawed decision by the Competition Commission, which fails entirely to recognise the fact that the existing Cineworld, a classic modern multiplex cinema, showing almost exclusively popular mainstream films targeted broadly at a younger audience, is categorically different from the three-screened Cambridge Arts Picturehouse, which specialises in high-quality, art films, including hosting the Cambridge Film Festival, one of the biggest in the country.

“They are financially very successful, which is rare for an art-house cinema, because they are so good at targeting their audience – the bar is often full, as are the movies.”

He added that he was aware that Cineworld had already been forced to spend a very large amount of money on legal and consultancy fees in dealing with the Competition Commission.

“Money which could alternatively have been used to open more cinemas around the country, creating jobs and improving Britain’s cultural provision,” he said.

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