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Last Updated: Monday, 22 September, 2003, 06:23 GMT 07:23 UK
London's 'great cinema divide'

London's film enthusiasts get a raw deal outside the West End according to the London Assembly.

The boroughs of Lewisham and Waltham Forest have no cinemas while access is limited in Hackney, Newham, Brent, Wandsworth and Hillingdon, according to research.

Overall the survey found 14 of London's 32 boroughs had fewer cinema screens than the national average of 5.4 for every 100,000 people.

But in Westminster, there are 38.6 screens per 100,000 people - the highest ratio in London, closely followed by the City of London with 27.8.

Meg Hillier, chair of the assembly's culture committee, said the "great disparity" of cinemas across London was unacceptable.

Mostly US films

The committee will carry out an inspection of London's cinemas next week.

Its research suggests cinemas offered very little choice on the type of film to watch.

Outside the West End, nine out of 10 films screened are US films and only eight per cent of screenings are foreign language films.

Ms Hillier said: "This committee will look at what can be done to ensure Londoners have the widest possible choice of cinemas and films feasibly available."

The committee's report is expected to be published on 20 October.

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