§ 5 and 6. Captain STRICKLAND
asked the Minister of Labour (1) whether he is aware of the continued practice of a certain London hotel to engage only alien girl artists; and, in view of the large number of equally efficient English girls now seeking engagements, whether he will endeavour to restrict that practice;
(2) how many foreign entertainment artists have been granted permission to enter this country to take up engagements during the past 12 months; whether he is aware of the large number of equally efficient English girls at present seeking engagements; and whether he will consider the granting of permits only in exceptional cases?
The number of foreign artists admitted last year for variety hall and cabaret performances was 1,199. This figure covers all kinds of entertainers, including a very small number of foreign girl dancers. I assume that the particular instance which my hon. Friend has in mind is that of a company of American dancers and entertainers for a cabaret performance. My right hon. Friend was satisfied on the merits of that ease that the issue of permits was 1227 justified, but in the event of any further similar applications for cabaret troupes of this kind, each case will have to be considered on its merits.
§ Captain STRICKLAND
Is my hon. Friend aware that there is more than one case in London in which this practice is being followed? I was not thinking of the particular troupe of American girls to which my hon. Friend has referred, but of another hotel with regard to which I might, perhaps, be permitted to give him information privately. Is he aware that, in the first three months of this year, no fewer than 150 alien turns have been given in this country, which, computing on an ordinary average of four weeks, would represent something like £30,000 paid in salaries to alien artists when we have artists in this country who are quite as capable of doing this work?
That hardly seems to be a matter for a question, but rather for debate. Obviously, my hon. and gallant Friend's supplementary begs the whole question.
§ Major JESSON
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that other countries, including America, refuse to admit the same proportion of British artists under any conditions?
Will the Parliamentary Secretary bear in mind the fact that there is a great demand for English artists in other countries, and that, if we begin to do this, they may do the same?
That is precisely the consideration which my right hon. Friend had in mind in granting these permits.
§ Captain STRICKLAND
Is my hon. Friend aware that, of 503 variety turns in Germany at the present time, only one is British?
§ Mr. GROVES
May I ask whether there is an exchange of artists—that is to say, whether, when foreign artists come to this country, an exchange is made by arrangement with the Ministry of Labour?