HC Deb 08 July 1937 vol 326 cc542-3
23. Mr. Keeling

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that at the Festival of Youth in aid of King George's Jubilee Trust at Wembley, on Saturday last, large numbers of unofficial, incomplete, and inaccurate programmes bearing the imprint "Victor, London," were sold outside the entrances to the Stadium to the detriment of the funds of the Trust; and whether the police can be instructed to stop fraudulent practices of this kind?

Sir S. Hoare

I have ascertained that on the occasion in question a programme drawn up by the authorities of the Wembley Stadium was on sale in the Stadium, and that other types of programmes were offered for sale in the neighbouring streets. Action is taken by the police in these cases when there is sufficient evidence to justify a charge of attempting to obtain money by false pretences, and, as my hon. Friend will be aware, two such charges were in fact preferred in connection with the function concerned. Where the sale of unofficial programmes results in the diversion of proceeds which would otherwise be devoted to a charitable object, I fully share my hon. Friend's view that such sales are to be deprecated, but I have no power to impose a general prohibition on sales of programmes which have not been produced by the organisers of the event concerned.

Mr. Keeling

Is my right hon. Friend aware that displays such as this in aid of a charity depend for revenue very largely on the sale of programmes, and will he consider sympathetically a private Bill to stop pirating of programmes?

Sir S. Hoare

While I sympathise with the object that my hon. Friend has in mind, from the information I have at present I would be inclined to think that legislation is not necessary; but I am prepared to consider any representations that my hon. Friend might make to me on the subject.

Sir Joseph Lamb

In view of the fact that this is a palpable fraud on the organisations arranging these functions and on the public, will not my right hon. Friend take power to prevent it?

Mr. Chorlton

Is not the loss so great by the pirating of programmes that some definite action should be taken to protect the charities that are suffering from it?

Sir S. Hoare

I am not sure whether that is so. As I say, from my present information, I do not think legislation is necessary, but I am prepared to consider any representations.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is it not a fact that this pirating happens at almost every sporting event in the country, and is it not in the power of the local authorities to prevent it if they desire to do so?

Sir S. Hoare

I think that the local authorities have powers of some kind, but it is clear that where money is obtained under false pretences prosecution can ensue.

Mr. Gallacher

Is not this another example of private enterprise?