§ MR. W. F. D. SMITH (Strand, Westminster)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board, whether he is aware that theatres and places of entertainment, even when unlet, are deemed to be occupied from the fact that necessary furniture and appliances are left within them, and that they therefore have to pay rates; that, in consequence, some theatres, though earning nothing for their owners, pay hundreds of pounds annually in rates; and, whether he will consider favourably a scheme by which 1473 such places of entertainment may be exempted, partially or altogether, from the payment of rates during the period they remain unlet?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. H. CHAPLIN,) Lincolnshire, Sleaford
I see no reason to doubt that a theatre or other place of entertainment, in which there are the necessary furniture and appliances, must be regarded as occupied, although they may not at the time be let for performances. I shall be very glad to consider any scheme which the hon. Member likes to bring forward, but I cannot hold out any expectation that I shall be prepared to propose legislation on the subject.