HC Deb 06 April 1948 vol 449 cc73-4

I now come to the question of incentives, and how much of the increased surplus we can spare for this purpose. Before coming to the Inland Revenue reliefs, I will deal shortly with one or two other matters.

I propose to make certain changes in the incidence of the Entertainments Duty. Since 1935, a distinction has been drawn between the living theatre and other kinds of entertainment; and in 1946, sports—other than racing—were added to the list of entertainments which were eligible for the reduced scale of tax. I believe that we should encourage these forms of living entertainment, particularly the theatre; arid I propose, therefore, to increase the measure of relief from duty which they already enjoy. For theatres, concerts, circuses, sports, and other entertainments which at present qualify for the reduced rates, payments for admission up to 1s. will be exempt from duty, and the duty on payments above that amount will be approximately one-half the present rates.

I am also anxious, for the sake of our agricultural communities, to encourage all types of entertainment in the rural areas, including such things as cinema shows. I propose, therefore, to grant complete exemption from duty in the case of all entertainments in buildings situated in places in the rural areas, where the population does not exceed 2,000 and the seating capacity of the building does not exceed 200. I hope that this will enable more entertainment to be taken to the rural areas, and that we may thus help to counter the tendency towards their de-population in favour of the urban areas.

The total cost of these concessions to the Exchequer will be £4½ million in a full year and £3¾ million this year. The exemption for rural areas will come into operation on 1st May, the other changes from 30th May.