HC Deb 15 July 1924 vol 176 cc273-5

Section eleven of the Finance Act, 1923 (which gives relief from Entertainments Duty in the case of certain entertainments), shall be amended as follows:

  1. (1) Paragraph (b) of Sub-section (1) shall cease to have effect;
  2. (2) The following shall be substituted for paragraph (c):
    1. (b) That the entertainment consists solely of an exhibition—
      1. (i) of the products of an industry, or of materials, machinery, appliances, or foodstuffs used in the production of these products, or displays of skill by workers in the industry in work pertaining to the industry; or
      2. (ii) of works of graphic art, sculpture, and arts craftsmanship or of one or more of such classes of works, executed and exhibited by persons who practice graphic art, sculpture, or arts craftsmanship far profit and as their main occupation, or of displays of skill by such persons in such arts or crafts; or
      3. (iii) of articles or displays of skill which are of material interest in connection with questions relating to the public health;
      or consists solely of such exhibitions or displays of skill, together with a performance of music by a band or an exhibition of work or displays of skill by children under the age of sixteen years, or by young persons attending a school or other educational institution—[Mr. Snowden.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

This is also a redemption of a promise which I gave during the Committee stage of the Bill dealing with Entertainments Duty. The point which I had to meet was the extension of the exemption from Entertainments Duty in respect of industrial exhibitions or shows, so that mere side-shows such as exhibitions of children's school work should not constitute a disqualification for exemption. There was another hardship experienced in connection with the administration of the law as it exists at present. A society states what its specific purpose is. If it be an agricultural society, it will say that it exists for the promotion of agriculture, or if it exist for the promotion of public health, it will state that object. If in an agricultural exhibition there were introduced exhibits outside the specified object of the society, that disqualified it for exemption from the duty. I have removed that altogether, and if a society promotes an entertainment which does not consist solely of an exhibition of the products of the industry which it is established to promote, or of materials, machinery, and so on, connected with industry, that will not in future prevent the grant of exemption from duty. Another hardship experienced in the administration of the Entertainments Duty as applied to exhibitions was that, if the work of school children were placed on exhibition, it was a disqualification for exemption. I have removed that altogether. As hon. Members will see, the last part of the Clause refers to such exhibitions or displays of skill together with a performance of music by band or an exhibition of work or displays of skill by children under the age of 16 years or by young persons attending school or other educational institutions. I think the Amendment will meet the grievances which were expressed during, the Committee stage.


Is it intended to exclude all picture galleries like the Royal Academy of Art. The wording of the Clause is rather broad. It refers to any exhibition which consists solely of works of graphic art, sculpture, and arts craftsmanship … executed and exhibited by persons who practise graphic art, sculpture, or art, craftsmanship for profit or as their main occupation. How far is that meant to go?

Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS

There is another point on which I should like some light. I have not had time to look up the discussion in the Committee stage, but I think the grievance was brought forward that if an agricultural society has a horse-jumping competition at a show, it is disqualified for any remission, and as I read the new Clause that disqualification will be continued, because displays of skill are limited to, those by workers in an industry. If the wording were "by those connected with the object of the show," then exhibitions of horsemanship or jumping or so forth would not rule out a show from the benefit of exemption. I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman by a slight alteration in the wording of the Clause could allow these competitions to take place and meet another grievance which was raised in the former Debate.


In reply to the question put by the right hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson) exhibitions by professional artists would be exempt under this Clause.


Is the right hon. Gentleman quite sure that the words "arts craftsmanship" have no technical meaning?


I am advised that professional art exhibitions would he covered by this Clause. I am afraid that I cannot go so far as the right hon. and gallant Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Lieut.-Colonel Guinness) asks. We must draw the line somewhere, and if we were to extend the exemption so as to cover sports, and so forth, I am afraid we should be giving the whole show away. I think I am meeting in this new Clause all the real cases of hardship which were raised, and I ask the House to accept it now. If in the meantime any other grievances arise, they can be considered at another time.


I thank the right hon. Gentleman for the concession he has made. I had the honour of bringing this matter to his notice, and I can assure him that his decision will give great satisfaction to county educational committees and agricultural committees, and will be of great assistance to rural industries.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.