Thursday, 10 October 2013

Cambridge MP Wins Backing Of Leader Of The House In Picturehouse Fight

The Leader of the House of Commons has backed Julian in his attack on the Competition Commission’s ruling on Cambridge’s Arts Picturehouse.

When Julian raised this issue in the House of Commons, Andrew Lansley, responding for the government, told Julian that he agreed with him that the Commission had no place in intervening over the ownership of the cinema.

He said in the Commons today (Thursday, October 10) that he did not “for one minute” think that the Arts Picturehouse was in the same market as other multiplexes in the centre of Cambridge.

“The Competition Commission’s job is to identify markets and act to restrict monopoly in the markets it identifies,” he said. “I do not think this is the same market.”

Julian had told Mr Lansley that “the Competition Commission had previously refused to act on the near complete monopoly by Stagecoach on bus services in Cambridge or of Tesco’s dominance in the grocery market in Cambridge  but is acting on a case where not only are the public concerned but thousands have signed a petition against the Competition Commission’s decision”.

He called for a debate on whether the Competition Commission should focus on real local monopolies and “leave the Arts Picturehouse alone.”

Mr Lansley told him: “I feel the point he makes is a good one. Speaking purely personally and not for the government, I share with him his view that there is no case for the Competition Commission to seek to intervene in the ownership of the Arts Picturehouse.”

Julian said later: “I am delighted that the Leader of the House agrees with me that the Competition Commission has acted outside its jurisdiction over the Arts Picturehouse.

“I hope that it will now listen to the concerns of thousands of people who have signed the petition and the Leader of the House and think again on this issue. Mr Lansley has rightly identified that the Picturehouse is not the same as multiplexes and should not be treated as such.”