§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Sir Kingsley Wood)
The directors of the Covent Garden Opera Syndicate (1930) are Mr. F. A. Szarvasy, Viscountess Snowden, Colonel Blois and Mr. A. Clark. The articles of association of the syndicate provide that no remuneration shall be paid to the directors with the exception that any of them may receive special remuneration up to £150 a year for any special journeys or special services which they are called upon to perform on behalf of the syndicate. There is, of course, special provision for payment to the managing director.
42. Captain CROOKSHANK
asked the Postmaster-General what would he the net saving to public funds if the agreement between the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Covent Garden Syndicate were terminated forthwith?
§ Sir K. WOOD
The direct saving to the Exchequer would be at the rate of £17,500 a year from the date of determination of the agreement until the 31st of December, 1935. I cannot say to what extent this saving would be reduced by loss of revenue in respect of entertainment tax or income tax, or by additional expense for relief of unemployment, or to what extent payments would have to be made by way of compensation for breach of contract.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that even this sum is worth saving at the present time?
§ Sir K. WOOD
I have bad these figures given to me as to what it would mean in loss of Entertainments Duty. For the year 1931 the syndicate paid in respect of 19 performances covered by the opera subsidy Entertainments Duty amounting to £12,547. Income Tax deducted from foreign artistes' salaries amounted to £5,769.
Does the right hon. Gentleman intend us to understand that if there had been no subsidy nothing would have been done?