§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I beg to move, in page 2, line 29, after "in," to insert "Part I of."
As you will be aware, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, this is the first of seven Amend- 1234 ments to the Clause and the first of two Amendments to the First Schedule, and it is also the first of the Amendments which relate to the Government's proposals for the revision of the Entertainments Duty on cinemas. I understand that it would be convenient to the House if a general discussion upon these proposals were to hang upon this first and somewhat inconspicuous Amendment.
Mr. Hector McNeil (Greenock)
We shall be delighted if the Chair permits this procedure, but I should like to be satisfied on one point. I hope that it will prove completely unnecessary for us to move an Amendment which appears at a later stage, but should it prove necessary to move it I should like to know whether it would be possible for us to do so, in order to keep the situation tidy.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)
I do not quite follow. To which Amendment is the right hon. Gentleman referring?
There is an Amendment—in fact, there are four—in my name and the names of several of my right hon. and hon. Friends to the proposed Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the First Schedule to insert a new table of rates of duty. This Schedule hangs upon the Clause to which the Financial Secretary is moving this Amendment. If it would be in order, I would join with him in submitting to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that it would be convenient and probably quicker to take this discussion all in one gulp, as it were, but I should like your assurance that it would be appropriate in this part of the debate if necessary for me to move these, or at any rate one of these four Amendments to which I have just referred.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Subject to your wishes, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I think the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion would be wholly convenient; that is to say, that the discussion should take place on this Amendment. We could discuss the Schedule and, no doubt, the subject matter of the right hon. Gentleman's 1235 Amendments to our proposed Amendment to the Schedule, but subject to your permission those Amendments would be called when we reach the Schedule for the purposes of Division if so desired.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Yes, I imagine that when we reach the Amendments of the right hon. Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil), one Division will be all he will want. The four Amendments go together. I can see no objection to that myself, and if the House wants to talk about the Entertainments Duty on this present Amendment I have no objection.
§ Mr. E. Fletcher
With a view to clarifying the matter, may I put this point? If we have a general discussion, as has been suggested, both on the Amendments to Clause 2 as well as on the very elaborate Amendment in the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, setting out a new table to the first Schedule, then, of course, it will depend very largely on what is said in that discussion whether the Amendments in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil) are, in fact, moved by him. I should imagine that it would then be open to those who may want to vote on these Amendments in the Schedule to vote either at the end of the general debate or when the Schedule is reached, as may be convenient to those interested in the Amendment.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
By our rules we cannot vote on the Schedule until we reach it on the Order Paper.
§ Mr. Harold Wilson (Huyton)
As I understand, what is proposed is that for the convenience of the House we should now have a general debate embracing the subject matter of the Chancellor's Amendment on the Schedule and our proposed Amendments to that Amendment, as well as the Amendment which stands next on the Order Paper and which is now before us.
Would I be right in supposing that when we reach the end of this general debate, if, by some unhappy mischance, the hon. Gentleman's proposals are not satisfactory to the House, at that stage we could vote against the Amendment which is now immediately before us on the Order Paper and then, at the right 1236 moment, when we reach the Schedule—perhaps somewhat later this evening—we shall be free to vote against the Chancellor's Amendment in the Schedule and also to move Amendments to the Chancellor's Amendment at that time and to divide then, if necessary, as well as at the end of the general debate?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
All the Questions will have to be put separately on the Government Amendments, and the House will be free to vote for or against them as they are inclined. I think that the Amendments in the name of the right hon. Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil), all go together and that one Division will be enough, without further discussion.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I am sure that the House will be grateful to you, Sir Charles, for having permitted what is obviously the convenient course in the discussion of this fairly wide topic. The seven Amendments to Clause 2—the first of which I am now, in form, moving—go with the two Amendments, one formal and one of substance, to the Schedule which begins to appear at the bottom of page 1823 to the Order Paper.
The House will recall that on the Committee stage the subject of the appropriate rate for Entertainments Duty and schemes was discussed at some considerable length on an Amendment which, if I recall rightly, was moved by the hon. Member for Nottingham, Northwest (Mr. O'Brien). During that debate I indicated that while the Government must resist that Amendment on the grounds that it would involve an appreciable loss of revenue to the Exchequer we were quite prepared to consider, between then and this stage of the Bill, any representations on the subject which might produce a scheme which would be more convenient for the industry but would not have the defect of involving the Exchequer in any substantial loss.
That willingness to consider representations produced a fairly rapid reaction and shortly after that I had the pleasure of receiving a deputation from the industry. Though the scheme which they then put forward would have involved less loss to the Exchequer than the scheme which was put forward in the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Nottingham, North-West, it still 1237 would have involved an appreciable loss and I was therefore compelled to tell the industry that that scheme was not acceptable. They were then good enough to indicate that their resources were far from exhausted and that they were prepared to put forward further proposals. Further discussions have taken place up to and during the last few days, which have resulted in the appearance of these Amendments on the Order Paper.
I should like to make two general comments. First, to prevent any possibility of misunderstanding, I should like to say that the changes proposed by the Government in the scale of this duty do not involve any alteration in the arrangements under which the exhibitors have agreed to pay a levy to assist British film production. What is colloquially known as the Eady plan remains, in effect, on precisely the same terms as before.
Secondly, I should like to express my apologies to the House for the fact that these complicated and lengthy Amendments appeared on the Order Paper only just before the week-end. I am bound to say that I am not at all sure whether it is appropriate, as a matter of general practice, that proposals of this kind should be brought forward on the Report stage of this Bill; but this year—and, as it happens, in the last two years—it has not been possible to obtain the final views of the industry until almost the last minute.
I imagine that the House as a whole will be inclined to feel that we cannot be expected to make a regular practice of dealing with the entertainment problems of the cinema industry on the sort of basis that they are unforeseeable emergencies which have to be introduced and which involve the introduction of Clauses to deal with them on the Report stage of the Finance Bill. They are not matters which should be left to the last minute, and I hope that this is not the type of thing with which we shall have to burden the House at this stage on any subsequent occasion.
Having said that, I should like to explain the proposals to the best of my ability. With the exception of one particular feature, to which I will refer in a few minutes and which is designed to assist the smaller cinemas in particular, they do not involve any appreciable loss 1238 to the revenue. On the other hand, they are designed to meet—and we are assured by the industry that they do meet, in considerable degree—the desire of the industry to have greater flexibility in the pricing of seats.
The present system of imposing the duty, with its fairly widely spaced stages in the rates, does make small adjustments in the prices of seats at a good many points not really worth while to the operators. It therefore introduces—as I think most Members who have studied this problem would agree—a degree of rigidity, inasmuch as the operators are inhibited from fixing freely the prices which they feel should be charged on ordinary business grounds for the sale of their seats.
We have certainly been impressed by the views expressed by the industry to that effect. While, obviously, the industry would prefer schemes which would cost the Exchequer substantial sums of money, they have indicated to us that if that cannot be agreed they do regard these proposals, which have been evolved in consultation with them, as a great advance on the present system from their point of view.
In view of the undertaking which I gave on the Committee stage—that if we could get over the difficulty of the possible loss to the Revenue we should be prepared to consider these proposals—the Government thought it right to submit them to the House. As hon. Members will no doubt assume from what I said, and as they will see from a glance at the Order Paper, and in particular at the Amendments to the Schedule, the new scale does involve far more frequent stages in the incidence of the duty.
By way of illustration I should like to explain this and its advantages with particular reference to what happens at the level of the seat priced at 1s. 6d. and above. Under the present system, the exhibitor who charges 1s. 7d. for a seat retains in his own pocket, after payment of duty and levy, less than if he charged 1s. 6d. for a seat. It is not surprising, therefore, that the 1s. 7d. seat is a little difficult to find. Under the present system the operator who charges 1s. 8d. for a seat retains in his own pocket precisely the same sum as an operator who charges 1s. 6d. If, therefore, an operator finds it uneconomic to charge 1s. 6d., he 1239 cannot increase the returns into his own pocket except by raising the price from 1s. 6d. to 1s. 9d.
Under the proposals set out in the proposed Amendment to the Schedule, on the 1s. 6d. seat the operator will retain 11¾d. after allowing both for duty and for levy. That is the same as at present. On the 1s. 7d. seat he will retain 11¾d. instead of 10¼d., on the 1s. 8d. seat he will retain 1s. instead of 11¼d., and on the 1s. 9d. seat he will retain 1s. 0¼d., which is the same as at present.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
I am sorry, but I did not follow the hon. Gentleman. Can he give us the figures for the 1s. 6d. seat under the new proposal? I thought he said 11¾d.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
It is 11¼d. If I said 11¾d. it was a slip of the tongue.
Hon. Members will see that the effect in this range of the duty is that while the tax on the 1s. 6d. seat remains as at present the tax on the 1s. 9d. seat remains as at present, the tax is now graduated so that the operator who charges 1s. 7d. does not have to pay so much more duty as to reduce his net receipts below what they would be if he charged 1s. 6d.
That is an illustration of the problem with which we have been trying to deal, and I hope I have succeeded in making it clear to the House. That is, in general, the advantage which the industry believes it will receive from this new scale.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The people directly concerned are the exhibitors. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, the producers are closely connected with this, both directly, from the ordinary point of view of the customer and buyer, and, equally, through the working of the Eady plan. When I use the expression "industry" in connection with the pricing of seats, I am, of course, referring to the exhibitors—[An HON. MEMBER: "The trade."] Well, the trade, if the hon. Member prefers that term, although I think that they themselves use the expression "industry," which perhaps they feel is more dignified. I do not 1240 think it matters very much. This simply means a re-arrangement of the incidence of the duty so as to give greater flexibility in the pricing of seats to the industry, while securing that the Exchequer does not have to incur any appreciable loss of revenue.
There is one further aspect of the matter to which I would invite the attention of the House, and that is the proposal which we make in this Schedule with respect to seats which are priced at 9d. The industry or trade, which ever right hon. Gentlemen opposite prefer, attaches great importance to the 9d. seat from a point of view which is not without public importance, that is to say, the financial position of the smaller cinemas.
I understand that in the case of the smaller cinemas which are in urban or rural districts the 9d. seat is a very important factor in their economy, and for that reason the industry put forward proposals which are, I think, on the lines of those of the Amendment of the right hon. Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil), that the duty on the 9d. seat should be waived altogether and that the 9d. seat should be made free of tax. The main objection to this proposal is the cost. It would cost £400,000, which is an appreciable loss of Revenue.
Would I be troubling the hon. Gentleman too much if I asked him to explain the basis of his calculation that the remission of 1d. in this case would cost £400,000?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
It is based on the various figures submitted by the industry and it is the best view that we can form of the effect of this proposal. What we have done is to meet them half-way. If hon. Members will look at the Schedule they will see that we propose a reduction in the rate of duty on the 9d. seat by a halfpenny to a halfpenny; that is to say, to reduce it from a 1d. to a halfpenny. The cost of that concession will be, as indeed is mathematically obvious, £200,000 in a full year. That means that these proposals involve, over all, a net reduction in the yield of the duty of £200,000.
We feel that in the present circumstances of the country that is a very substantial contribution to make, and we have felt able to make it only because my right hon. Friend is anxious to do 1241 something, if he can, to assist to solve the problems of the smaller cinemas. It is, I think, generally agreed, and it is certainly the view of the industry, that the smaller cinemas are interested, in particular, in the 9d. seat, and it is felt, therefore, that what help is available to be given can, from their point of view, be most effectively given by concentrating it upon the 9d. seat. In the circumstances, that is as far as my right hon. Friend feels able to go this year.
If I may say a few words on this aspect, we have had some evidence, by no means of a comprehensive character, that a certain number of the smaller cinemas are facing financial difficulties. It is far from clear to what extent the duty is a major factor in those difficulties, but we do not wish to see those smaller cinemas carrying an unfair burden to the risk, perhaps, of their continuance, and we therefore feel that it is right to recommend to the House that, even in the present financial circumstances of the country, the substantial sum of £200,000 a year should be made available to assist them.
There is no doubt at all, from the representations we have had, that this assistance can best be given by concentrating it upon the 9d. seat.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Their final proposals were to concentrate the full relief which they wanted—£400,000—on the 9d. seat, and it was, therefore, quite clear that if we did not feel able to go as far as that, nevertheless a contribution in that direction would be regarded by them as most appropriate from the point of view of the smaller cinemas. It is with that intention that we have made this departure from the views which we had previously held that it would not be possible to make any concession in the total yield of Entertainments Duty from cinemas in the present year.
The Amendments which I have been discussing raise two distinct issues. They raise, first of all, the issue as to whether it is right, without cost to the Revenue, to meet the wishes of the industry for greater flexibility in pricing or in altering the incidence of duty at different points and introducing more points of change. That is the main effect of the Schedule. But, as I have mentioned in the last few minutes, it is the effect of the provision 1242 made in respect of the 9d. seats that we make in that case a straight remission of duty to the extent of a halfpenny, or 50 per cent., on the 9d. seats in all cinemas throughout the country.
§ Mr. James Carmichael (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
The Financial Secretary indicated that there would be a gain of something like £200,000 to the trade as a result of the rebate on the 9d. seat. As a result of the introduction of the prices 1s. 7d. and 1s. 8d., which did not exist before, what is likely to be the approximate increased Revenue to the Treasury as a result of the change in those prices?
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
So far as we can calculate, the variations in the rest of the scale will, in substance, cancel out. We are not anticipating any increase in revenue from that source—nor. I hope, any decrease
The House will be grateful in some part, at any rate, for the concession which the hon. Gentleman has explained. It is undoubtedly true that the lack of flexibility, the hopelessly illogical arrangement of prices and duty had meant that the industry—the exhibitor—laboured under very considerable difficulties—and the public, of course, was in some part discomfited, to.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell) indicated last year that he meant to address himself to this problem, and I have no doubt that, had he been given a chance, he would have come very near to some such scheme as we have been offered tonight in relation to prices above 1s. 6d. However, the hon. Gentleman will scarcely anticipate that we on this side of the House will excuse all the other faults in his attitude in virtue of that.
The House will remember that when the hon. Gentleman considered this subject in the Committee stage he met pleas from both sides of the Chamber by saying—and I hope that I am not misrepresenting him—that if the figure looked like £500,000 and meant there would be an improvement in flexibility and an easement for that part of the industry most sorely pressed, we should not find him unreasonable. Well, I suggest that he falls a little short—not of his promise, because I do not think I am entitled to call it a 1243 promise—but of the very pleasant display of Parliamentary manners which he gave us at the Committee stage.
He falls short in at least two ways. First of all—and this concerns most of us—he goes only half way towards relieving what is undoubtedly the most pressing question in the industry. I recall the figures that I did ask the hon. Gentleman to explain when he offered them. I must say I am a little puzzled by them. I was trying to do what was some very inadequate mental arithmetic at the time. I find that there are 55 million admissions at 9d. If I make that deduction of ½d. I certainly do not come to the figure of £200,000. I come to a figure rather nearer £120,000.
Moreover, if the hon. Gentleman has beside him a minute of the meeting which was held with the trade on 29th May—I must agree it is not an agreed minute, but I have no reason to doubt it is an accurate minute—he will find the figure quoted there, and not disputed, for the total remission on 9d. with the consequential adjustment as £300,000. I must make it plain, in fairness to the hon. Gentleman, that I am not quoting from an agreed minute. There could have been a mistake. We all know that there has been a great deal of dispute about these figures from time to time.
§ Mr. William Shepherd (Cheadle)
Does the right hon. Gentleman not visualise the circumstance that, if there were a remission of the duty entirely on the 9d. seat, a number of seats previously higher priced might become 9d.?
Well, let me address myself to that. It would be unlikely that there would be a movement down from 1s. to 9d.
The hon. Gentleman says 10d. I am rather like the hon. Gentleman in that I do not pride myself very highly on my ability to do mental arithmetic—especially not before such a critical audience; nor do I pretend to be completely familiar with these figures. But the hon. Gentleman, if he is familiar with the admissions, and with the Amendments we have down on the Order Paper, will know that, for that very reason, we have proposed that a consequential adjustment should be made in relation to the 10d. 1244 That was the proposal that was discussed at this meeting on 29th May to which I am referring, and the figure there was £300,000.
But suppose we push it a bit further. Even if we take the hon. Gentleman's figure and put it at £400,000 it still falls comfortably inside the figure which I, not without design, did offer at the Committee stage. Is it an unreasonable figure? The hon. Gentleman says, of course, with a piteous cry that I could not fail to understand. that he is very concerned about making any remission at this time. Well, he and his right hon. Friend have made some quite surprising admissions in meeting us, and so the principle has been established.
What is the dimension of this remission for which we plead? It is £400,000 out of a total revenue to the Treasury of £41 million or thereabouts from this industry. That is not a startling figure—£400,000 out of £41 million. Quite plainly, if the hon. Gentleman is impressed by the case that has been made of the danger to the small exhibitor he will really think again to find out if he cannot find this £100,000 or £200,000 which is needed to meet our plea and our Amendments.
The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that most of the people whom he was good enough to meet were not people much affected themselves by this class of seat. My hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, North-West (Mr. O'Brien) quoted a figure which was endorsed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) opposite—that there were between 2,500 and 3,000 exhibitors in this country with seats of 500 in all——
I was quoting from memory, but I am usually fastidious about these things. If the right hon. Gentleman finds any difficulty in remembering what he said I will quote him in extenso:The real point is that the small owners, whose cinemas accommodate about 500 people, have to bear a burden of something like 40 per cent. of their takings for taxation, another 40 per cent. for the cost of films, and they are left with something like 20 per cent. for wages and their profits."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th May, 1952; Vol. 500, c. 296.]1245 I may be at fault in thinking that the right hon. Gentleman accepted that there were 12,500 small exhibitors, but he followed my hon. Friend and joined the same case and did not dissent from those figures. I hope that I have done him no injustice.
The small exhibitor—the man we are talking about who derives his living from the 9d. and 10d. seats, who seeks round about 55½ million attendances—is perhaps, at any rate in some proportion, to be confronted with raising his prices to an already hard-pressed public or shutting his doors; and this for perhaps £100,000 or, at the very most, £200,000. My hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, North-West is, unhappily, not able to take part in this debate. He is paired with the Minister of Labour although he had hoped to be here. But they are both kept in Geneva, dealing with a troublesome convention relating to labour conditions.
He writes to me saying that from his intimate knowledge of the industry he knows that the employer and the employee will be embarrassed if the Amendment is not accepted. He goes on to say that the producer may not be unaffected if the Amendment is refused. He means, of course, and this is the second leg of the argument, that the whole House is concerned to see that the British producer is safeguarded and assisted by the efforts of the exhibitor. The exhibitor voluntarily accepts the making of a ¼d. contribution towards the Eady levy on these 9d. seats, and if the seats go out of existence it is probable that there is no other way in which that part of the Eady levy can be replaced.
I repeat that I will not vouch for my figures. The hon. Gentleman knows that I offer them in sincerity and after examination. I think that to meet our Amendment would probably cost an additional £120,000 to £130,000. I do not think the House will consider that unreasonable. I repeat not only is it significant for the small exhibitor but, of course, it is for the employees, and on Committee stage we had figures offered to show that these employees were indeed hard-pressed and, in many cases, not at all well treated. I repeat that it may have some reference to the film production industry of this country.
1246 The House, or at any rate my right hon. and hon. Friends, find it exceedingly difficult to understand why this sector of the entertainments industry should be discriminated against, compared with other entertainments such as football, greyhound racing, speedway, and so forth. I made no grumble about the comparatively better conditions which those sports enjoy. But we on this side of the House feel that it is unjustifiable discrimination, not only against these exhibitors, but against a very large section of the humblest people in our community that they should be attacked in this way. It is not worthy that the hon. Gentleman should make no attempt at justification for this discrimination either tonight, or at an earlier stage.
I hope that before we dispose of this series of Amendments he may be persuaded to change his mind. In frankness to the House I must say that unless he does I shall ask my hon. Friends to go into the Division Lobbies at the appropriate time. Having gone quite a little way, why does the hon. Gentleman hesitate, when he could carry the House with him and for such a comparatively small sum could approach very near to doing justice?
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. W. G. Bennett (Glasgow, Woodside)
I wish to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to reconsider the position. At Whitsun I spent a few days in a little place in West Scotland called Oban. It was busy pre-war. There were two cinemas, one up-to-date with a restaurant and tea rooms, etc., and the other a very small wooden hut or shed. They are both hanging on and doing their best at the moment to carry on by running a change of programme three times a week.
The Parliamentary Secretary will under-stand that a modern cinema would never try to change the programme three times a week, by showing one programme on Monday, one on Wednesday and another on Friday, unless patrons were few and far between. People have to travel miles to get in for a little amusement once, or perhaps twice a week. There were three prices of admission. The top price was 2s. 10d. and it was possible to count on one's hands the number of people in the top price seats. In the 1s. 6d. seats there were very few people but the majority of the 9d. seats were occupied.
1247 In circumstances such as this it is very difficult for a cinema to carry on and I would emphasise that it is in circumstances such as this that a remission of tax is so necessary. In my own constituency I think there are 10 or 12 cinemas, but the majority of the seats are 9d. seats. There are no high-priced seats and I think it most unfair, to put it mildly, that other forms of entertainment should be tax-free while some one who goes to the cinema has been asked to pay a 1d. contribution to the Exchequer, and will be asked to continue to pay a contribution of ½d. to the Exchequer.
I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to give the House some figures. I have asked the trade for figures and I am told they are prepared to stand by these figures; that the number of 9d. admissions last year was 55,800,000. That means that the increase to the Exchequer was £233,000. If those figures are correct and I am told that they are the whole build-up for the retaining of the ½d. disappears, and the Parliamentary Secretary would be within only £33,000 of giving the whole Id. remission. I am told that the trade are prepared to stand by those figures for the whole case.
The Parliamentary Secretary would be benefiting a tremendous number of people who would appreciate this remission. It would allow them to have a better seat and for the cinema exhibitors to do something for them. I am certain that it would be very much appreciated throughout the country and I would ask him to reconsider the matter favourably.
§ Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Tradeston)
I should like to add my voice to the plea that has been made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil) and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodside (Mr. W. G. Bennett). I do not want to repeat all the arguments on which we embarked during the Committee stage. I think that the Financial Secretary will agree that he gave us reason to believe that if a reasonable scheme was submitted to him it would have his very close consideration, and he gave us the hope that he would be agreeable to such a scheme. I believe that that scheme was submitted, and I understand that the cost to the Exchequer was in the region of £200,000 1248 or £300,000. I am not quite sure of the figure; it may have been more.
It would seem that what is now proposed will cost the Exchequer something like £200,000, and I should like to express my own disappointment with the scheme now before us. I think it covers two points. We made a claim during the Committee stage that the Financial Secretary should look with sympathy at our plea that seats up to 9d. should be free of tax altogether. He has gone some way to meet us, and he is taking a halfpenny off the tax. For that, of course, we express our gratitude even if it may be somewhat diluted.
The second point is that he has altered the incidence of the tax on the higher priced seats, that is, the seats above 2s. 1d. As a result of his decision, he is giving to the circuits and to the super cinemas a flexibility which he is denying to the small exhibitors in the working-class areas. It is with those that I personally am concerned, because practically every cinema in my own constituency, which is almost a wholly working-class division, is of the small type where the admission prices are 7d., 8d., 9d. and 1s. I feel that by his decision, the Chancellor is giving a consideration to the large cinemas which he is denying to the working-class cinemas in areas such as mine. I should like him to look at that matter again.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. R. A. Butler)
I was under the rather pathetic impression that by reducing the tax on the cheaper seats I was helping those with the least money.
§ Mr. Rankin
Actually what the Chancellor has done, so far as these cinemas are concerned, is not to achieve the purpose, however desirable, which he set before himself.
The third point on which I should like to make my protest is that he still retains the principle of discrimination. When my own party were in power they did not discriminate between dogs, horses and cinemas. They treated them all from the tax point of view in an equitable fashion. This discrimination has now been introduced by the present Chancellor, and is being persisted in by him in spite of all the appeals to the contrary that we have made.
1249 I want him to bear in mind that in divisions such as those represented by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodside and myself, and in working-class divisions all over the country, when August comes, they will be faced with the fact that in other recreations, such as football, which is largely supported in my own division, the admission cost, in all probability, will be going up to 2s. While the cost of living and the cost of recreation rise, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, at the same time, is making appeals to organised workers not to press for wage demands in order to meet these increases, while he refuses to mitigate the harsh effects of his policy by giving such a small concession as we are suggesting at the present moment.
I do not think that this concession would cost the Exchequer much more than £100,000, and, in these days, that is not something which should worry him very greatly. I should like to point out one other result of his decision. He has suggested for the 1s. 3d. seat a 4d. tax and out of that, of course, the producers will be asking for ¾d. levy. This means that the exhibitor will get 10¼d., while the 1s. seat will give him 9¾d. so he will get, under this scheme, a halfpenny more from the 1s. 3d. seat than he will get from the 1s. seat.
That means that the Chancellor offers to him the prospect of putting up his price by 3d. in order that he may get a halfpenny more, but the Chancellor is to get 2d., so he is saying to the exhibitor, "You collect the odium and I will take the dough." He is asking the cinema exhibitor to take the rap and the Chancellor will collect the money.
No cinema exhibitor likes to increase his prices because the public do not look to what is happening behind the scenes, and I feel that the Chancellor is making a somewhat unfair use of the cinema exhibitor to increase his own revenues by this ingenious little dodge. Now I have exposed the evil of his ways, I hope that he will be led along a better path than the one he is treading.
When I think of what the Financial Secretary is doing at the present moment, my mind goes back to the days when he sat on this side of the House, and I feel quite certain that if he were here this afternoon no one would be condemning the ways of the Chancellor more 1250 vigorously than the present occupant of the Financial Secretaryship on the Front Bench opposite. I think of another famous speech and I wish this afternoon that I were Brutus because then I might use adequate language to denounce this unfair treatment, not merely of the cinema exhibitors, but of the working-class people of this country.
I ask the hon. Gentleman to give further consideration to the case which we have made out.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. C. Williams
I very much regret, and I apologise to the Financial Secretary, that I was not able to hear the whole of his remarks. did, however, hear one or two things which enabled me, at any rate, to conclude that so far as he was concerned we are dealing with an extremely complicated matter.
But there is one thing which is not at all complicated, and which seems perfectly simple to understand. At present, a considerable number of the smaller cinemas are going out of action or are being absorbed by the big cinemas, both of which are fundamentally bad. In a large proportion of the cases which have been gone into—they are only very few, I believe—it was found that overhead charges and various other matters of that sort were extremely heavy and that their proportion of taxation was very heavy indeed.
My hon. Friend said that he had gone some way to meet those people. I thank him very much indeed. I only hope that the distance which he has gone to meet them will really help them. I think it will help to a certain extent, but, on the other hand, I am not at all sure that it will not help their big competitors very much more. At any rate, I welcome my hon. Friend's intention to help them and I welcome the fact, as I understood from the latter part of his speech, that he would like more exploration into this matter with a view, probably, of putting the whole thing right next year.
It would be a very small thing to say, "Let out the whole of the small cinemas"—which, I believe, number rather more than 300—"which are not already exempt." That is a small thing, but it would affect a considerable number of the smaller concerns rather than the large cinemas. Would it not be possible, even 1251 now, in some way to go rather further to meet these people, so that my right hon. Friend would then have a strong case for being able to say, "I did not take so much notice of the bigger chap, but I have, at the last minute, made a special concession and said that the first £150"—or whatever sum the Chancellor might like to think of—"of their takings per week could be completely exempt from taxation." After all, my right hon. Friend has been appealed to in a very friendly way from this side of the House, and in a comparatively friendly way from the other side. If he could go that much further now, he would be making a concession which would not cost a very large sum of money.
I am the last person to press the Exchequer to give concessions of this kind, but when I think of some of the concessions which have been made from time to time, I realise that this is one of the worst examples of small people all over the country being put out of business. I came across a Member of Parliament only yesterday who had the same complaint from Wales. There is a small bunch in the West country, all in one area, and we have just had two illustrations from Scotland.
For that reason, I ask my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, who has gone so far, to go that little way further. He has an opportunity of following the soundest of all Tory principles: that is, always to look after the small trader first. He could make this concession in a Bill which, in the main, helps the large producer or exhibitor. If he could go a little further, he would be making a considerable concession to the small cinemas, and by that means would undoubtedly be doing something to help not only the smaller people and the working-class or country areas; sometimes it is the smaller residential areas that are affected and which, quite by accident, have been cut out entirely from the main exemption.
I thank the Treasury and my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary for having gone further towards meritoriousness. But it is much better to have the whole garden meritorious rather than just a little bed on one side and the other side completely without vegetation. I am asking my right hon. Friend to make the whole garden meritorious, which would 1252 cost only a couple of hundred thousand pounds or so, so that he may go out from this debate a really meritorious hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
The Financial Secretary can hardly be gratified by the reception which has been accorded to what he probably thought was a fairly generous gesture and one which was likely to be welcomed. What are the facts? What has he done? Without sacrificing very much revenue, he has made re-arrangements which would permit some flexibility in fixing prices over 1s. 9d., and on the other hand he has gone a small way to meet some of the demands that were made on the Committee stage regarding the 9d. seats. He may think that we should thank him for small mercies. The reason for our receiving it in the way in which it has been received is because the mercy is very small indeed.
One of the facts which we must take into consideration is that, from the Chancellor's point of view, this industry is one of the most important, providing him with as much as £41 million. The second is the amount which it would cost the Chancellor if he went the whole way to free the cheaper seats, and at the outside we understand that it is a matter of £200,000. It should be remembered that the benefit from that £200,000 is going to be scattered throughout the whole industry. We are not talking of the big exhibitor within a hundred yards or so of Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, but of the small cinema owner in a rural area who has been struggling for years against rising costs, not to try to get a better form of entertainment or better conditions for the patrons, but to keep going at all.
It is all very well during debates on agriculture to talk about getting the people back to the countryside, but we must provide them with the facilities. Here are facilities which are not as good as we should like them to be, but which, unless we take cognisance of what has happened, will disappear altogether because of rising costs, the need for the replacement of furnishing and all the other things that go to add to the expense. Many of these small cinemas are going out of business, and, taking that fact into account, the concession amounting to £200,000 at the outside is not very great.
1253 The Financial Secretary was very voluble on this subject when he was on this side of the House. I hope that now he will use his power and influence on behalf of these people. This service in the rural areas is really necessary, and if we are sincere in our protestations about giving help to the countryside, then here is our chance to do it.
There is the other point which has already been mentioned, that there is no other form of entertainment in which a tax is levied on any payment of 9d. From the point of view of equity in the Entertainments Duty, he should be prepared right away to accept the principle of a 9d. seat free of tax altogether. Not one voice has been raised in support of the Government on this subject. There have been two speeches from the Government side from hon. Members with a certain amount of knowledge of the subject. That in itself should have impressed upon the Financial Secretary why the feeling of the House is against him in taking this awkward stand and refusing to move any further. I sincerely hope that he will now contribute something much more desirable.
Last night the Financial Secretary told us that he had not altogether shut his eyes in the matter of concessions to amateur societies and he promised to look at the matter in the coming year. Will he keep his eyes fixed on the number of small cinemas throughout the country which close down in the next six months and in the light of actual events will he then be prepared to accept our suggestion, even if he will not accept it now, despite the arguments which have been advanced in support of it?
§ Mr. Shepherd
I do not want to detain the House very long, but there are one or two observations I should like to make on the Amendment. I am very grateful to the Chancellor and the Financial Secretary for what they have done. Since I became a Member of this House in 1945, I have never known a Chancellor who was so willing to help when he could, and we who are interested in this industry ought to express our gratitude for what he has done.
I must say at the same time that I should have been happier if something more could have been done now, because the cinema industry is an industry which has acquired the reputation that every- 1254 body connected with it is abounding in wealth. Some of us who take an interest in it know that it is not so, and it is important that we should try to help the small exhibitor who is having an extremely hard time and who may, with increasing television facilities, have a harder time in the next few years.
My hon. Friend complained about the necessity of having to introduce two Clauses on Report in two successive Budgets, and he seemed to blame the cinema industry for that. But the truth is that both the previous Government and this Government are trying to extract from this industry in taxation more than it can bear, and we have constant troubles because of that essential fact. The demands for tax on this industry are above the level that it ought economically to be called upon to bear.
I welcome the taking away of the rigidity of the tax and the removal of Treasury control in determining the prices of admission. Nothing could be worse, and it is a great discredit to the party opposite that they did not do this a long time ago. I am not at all satisfied that the Treasury understand fully the difficulties of the small exhibitor, and by small exhibitor I mean the person who takes £100 or £120 a week. There are many of them, but I do not accept the figure of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil) that there are 2,500, though it is quite a substantial number.
§ Mr. Shepherd
I do not accept for one moment that there are 2,500 cinemas which are taking about £150 a week gross. If we realise that the big circuits have 1,100 cinemas themselves, it is most unlikely that there are anything like 2,500 of the smaller category, since the total number of cinemas is about 4,700.
Leaving that aside for a moment, let us remember that if a cinema takes £100 or £120 a week, £40 of that has to go in taxes. The cinema owner has to pay about 40 per cent. for film hire, whereas in the old days it was 10 to 20 per cent. He has to pay the wages of his staff, and the wages in these small cinemas are a disgrace to the country. It is perfectly 1255 true to say that these small cinema owners cannot afford to pay the wages they now pay, and many of them work with their wives and families for much less remuneration than they would get in any other form of activity. When my hon. Friend gives further consideration to this problem, I would urge him to look at the particularly hard position of these small cinema owners and to realise that it is a fact that today they all have overdrafts at the bank on which they are paying 5½ per cent. interest. In money that represents quite a substantial burden upon them.
I do not want to detain the House, because we have heard a great deal about the cinema industry, but I assure the House that the small exhibitor in this country is in a serious position. What we have to decide is whether we want him to continue or not. It may be the Government's policy to stop the small exhibitor. Perhaps he is no longer serving a social purpose; but if we decide that the small exhibitor with three changes a week serves a social purpose, we should do something very quickly to preserve his existence, because, if it is not preserved by some relief, then by the time the House discusses the next Finance Bill a great number of them will be out of business.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Bing (Hornchurch)
The whole House can congratulate the hon. Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd) for frankly having admitted the shortcomings of the Government which he supports, and for having put before the Chancellor in a phrase or two one of the five products of his careless raising of the Bank rate. Every measure taken by hon. Members opposite has hit the small man. The remarkable thing is that what has been long apparent on this side of the House is becoming apparent to one or two hon. Gentlemen opposite.
§ Mr. Bing
The argument on this Amendment really proceeds on this line: are we to assume necessarily that the large cinema is -always going to be the right unit? Hon. Gentlemen opposite always hold out against monopoly and say how terrible it is, and yet they always create the social conditions in which monopoly is bound to occur. If financial 1256 advantage is given to the big cinema over the little cinema, which is what the Chancellor is proposing to do, the right hon. Gentleman is not only closing the cinemas in Saffron Walden—they are no doubt out of business already owing to the growing unemployment in that area—but he is taking away from the people the opportunity of going to the cheap seats in the cinemas, owing to their being on short time.
When we consider social policy, we should ask whether it is desirable to have large cinemas or small cinemas. Where do we want to attract people to live? In rural areas? One of my hon. Friends asked earlier what was the use of talking about the value of rural life and how wonderful it was to work on the land, while creating conditions under which people who went there were deprived of amenities.
It is not only the land workers who are involved in the small cinema question. Very few mining areas can support a big cinema. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is penalising not only the farm worker but the miner as well. In fact, he is so directing his tax that it hits the areas where production takes place and favours areas where there is a conglomeration of people, from which, it is said, his other colleagues are trying to persuade people to remove and live elsewhere. I appreciate that the Chancellor feels that the first priority must be money and not culture. Otherwise it would be difficult to see why he saw fit to save £7,000 or £8,000 by closing down parts of some of our most distinguished museums.
He ought not to consider the cinema question quite apart from the aspect of the films shown. If he encourages large cinemas, he discourages the showing of the type of film which is very often shown only in the small cinema. Anyone who takes an interest in the cinema will agree that the cultural sort of film can very seldom be shown in the large cinema, but depends upon the small cinema. The building up of the British cinematograph industry has very often depended upon the disposing to a chain of small independent cinemas of films made quite cheaply.
The Chancellor might consider the matter of newsreels. Large cinemas are in the ring; that might be one of the reasons why the Chancellor encourages 1257 them, because they particularly favoured the presenting of his party's point of view in the recent Election. Such considerations ought not to weigh with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He ought not to say: "We are indebted to the big cinema and we will therefore give them a quid pro quo," and push the small man out of his job because he would not show the same kind of newsreel.
I have one other point, and I will not detain the House much longer.
§ Mr. Baxter
The hon. Gentleman is looking sideways across at this Bench, so he must mean myself. I am here all the time. When the hon. Gentleman said he would not detain the House much longer I said, "Hear, hear." I have heard him speak so often that I think it would be a good thing for him to stop.
§ Mr. Speaker
This is the Report stage of the Finance Bill. I hope that speeches will be kept as relevant to the subject matter as possible.
§ Mr. Bing
There was an interlude in the discussion when it was doubtful whether I would speak at all, but as you have been good enough to call me I must assert my right so to do. I had almost come to the conclusion of what I was going to say.
If one is to encourage the large instead of the small cinema, what is to be the result in cinema building? Are we to build large cinemas now? I think that the only type of cinema likely to be put up is the small, temporary cinema, for example, in the new towns. Is anyone going to suggest that the new towns will put up cinemas at all? If they do build, it will not be great palaces but small, temporary buildings. That is the only type of cinema likely to be put up in the mining areas in the next 10 years. Possibly hon. Gentlemen opposite will not be in power for so long. Are we to penalise those areas?
1258 I hope that when the Financial Secretary replies, he will deal with the points I have raised. First of all, why should we encourage, and on what basis of principle do we encourage, the large rather than the small cinema? Secondly, how is the Chancellor proposing to encourage British films, if there are not an adequate number of small cinemas where they can be shown? What type of cinema does he envisage is to be built in the new towns in the immediate future? Does he not think that financial encouragement rather than financial discouragement should be given to people who want to put up a small cinema?
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
This is not a very drastic Amendment. Having listened to the speeches in its favour, I think a considerable case has been made out for further concessions on cheap seats both from the point of view of the cinema-goer and the small-cinema owner. What interests me is to know why the cinema is invariably put in a much worse position than other forms of entertainment. I think the Financial Secretary will agree that on the figures that is the case.
It may be that successive Governments have some moral objection to the cinema. If so, it is difficult to argue whether it is morally superior to go to dog racing than to the cinema. There may be some reason connected with a desire to curtail cinema-going so that people will work harder or will go to some other form of entertainment. But it is difficult to argue the matter on those grounds. I strongly suspect that it is simply conservatism, although practised in the past by the Labour Party and in the present by the Conservative Party.
I hope that the Financial Secretary will tell us the reason for this continuance of what I can only think is the conservative principle, if it is a principle at all. I hope he will take note of the very strong arguments which have been advanced to show that the small cinemas are being put in a very difficult position. What was said by the hon. Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd) is absolutely true; if we wait even another year, which may not seem a very long time, throughout that year we shall see more and more small cinemas closing down or being bought up by the big circuits.
§ Mr. E. Fletcher
My right hon. Friend the Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil) indicated that we shall be moving an Amendment from this side of the House at a later stage when we come to the Schedule, and that it will be our intention to divide the House. I hope that we shall go further. I hope that when the present Amendment in the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is put, we shall divide on that in order to show our displeasure at the complete inadequacy of the proposals which the Government are putting forward with regard to the cheaper seats.
In dividing the House I hope we shall have the support of hon. Gentlemen like the hon. Members for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd), Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), and Torquay (Mr. C. Williams), and other hon. Members in all parts of the House, who, with the greatest sincerity and very considerable knowledge of local conditions, have indicated that they also thought the Government's proposals are quite inadequate.
These concessions are not substantial, as the Financial Secretary suggested. They are niggardly and parsimonious. They will not meet the real trouble. There is no doubt that numbers of small cinemas in industrial and rural areas are suffering considerable financial strain. The only way to alleviate the condition of these small cinemas is to make the concession for which the industry has unanimously asked and which has been supported in all quarters of the House, namely, that the 9d. seat should be free of any liability to Entertainments Duty.
That is the short case. It is necessary in order to make it possible for these small cinemas to carry on. Moreover, it would only be in accordance with elementary justice that, just as all other sports and entertainments pay no duty in respect of seats or prices of admission at 9d. or under, the same principle should be applied to the cinema industry. There is no justification in discriminating against it, and there is a positive disadvantage to the industry and also to the Exchequer in doing so.
I want to reiterate what has been said by a number of hon. Members. We have no confidence in the figures given by the Government spokesman as to the amount 1260 which this concession would cost. I believe it would not cost the Exchequer more than £300,000 if all the seats in the 9d. range and under were free from Entertainments Duty. The Financial Secretary has indicated that his Amendment will cost £200,000. We do not accept that. It will not cost more than £150,000 at most. But in any case that is far less than the amount which during the Committee stage debate, he indicated as being a reasonable sum which the Exchequer could afford to give up in order to meet the undoubted hardship which is occasioned. I hope the hon. Member will respond to the appeals that have been made from all parts of the House on this subject.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
I am sure the House will want to give the hon. Gentleman leave to speak a second time and, before he does so, I want to intervene to appeal to him to go further than he has done. This has been a very good debate, at any rate up to now. [Interruption.] I said that advisedly, Mr. Speaker, because this is the first time I have intervened on films since I was sitting opposite, but I shall not ask for any indulgence on that account.
I think we all feel that up to a point the Government have made a useful proposal in the Amendment on the Order Paper, in that it will give much needed elasticity on certain of the higher-priced seats. I think equally that hon. Members in all parts of the House feel that a great deal more ought to be done, particularly in regard to the cheaper seats. However, I want to remind the House that we are not, and have not been, debating anything fundamental in the Government's proposals before us.
I remember in previous debates on Entertainments Duty and, indeed, in general debates on the film industry, that speakers from the Conservative benches used to say that the high level of Entertainments Duty was the cause of most of the troubles of the film industry. I remember the present Colonial Secretary thundering at us from this very bench about the high level of Entertainments Duty and how it was not only affecting the exhibitors but was ruining the producers.
I remember the hon. Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd) working himself 1261 up into a little passion from time to time on this question, and I would remind him that more is coming out of the industry in Entertainments Duty today than at the time when he used to denounce us for the level of the tax on the cinema industry, and when he used to troop off regularly into the Division Lobby to vote against it.
The Government have not pretended that they are giving any reduction; what they have done is to give some degree of elasticity. We are not debating the film industry as a whole, or even the effect of the Entertainments Duty on the production side of the industry, because the late Government decided that the arguments of hon. Gentlemen opposite were completely wrong. Even a £10 million reduction of Entertainments Duty would only have made a difference of less than £1 million to the producers, and so we devised the Eady scheme for the purpose of helping the film producing side of the industry. All that we have before us this afternoon, therefore, is a proposal which affects the exhibitors and is really a re-distribution of tax as between one exhibitor and another or as between one group of seats and another.
I support the views of my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil) in emphasising the fact that the Treasury really cannot come to the House and claim that, on the estimates available to them, this, that or the other thing will cost £300,000 or £200,000 or even £2 million. The margin of error in estimating cinema attendances is much greater and I am sure the hon. Gentleman will be the first to agree that there are great difficulties about it.
I am by no means satisfied that even this scheme put up by the Treasury will prove different in terms of revenue from the one put up at quite an early stage by the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association. The Treasury estimated then that £2 million would be lost, but the Treasury really have no basis for making that estimate. I agree with the view expressed in "The Economist" that on this point it is quite possible, and in fact the balance of opinion must be, that the exhibitors are more likely than the Treasury to be right about the cost involved.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Wilson
It is no good the hon. Gentleman shaking his head. He has not been at the Treasury very long and perhaps may not be there very much longer. He must not always come to this House with estimates from the Treasury as though they are the Ark of the Covenant. I would remind him that last year my right hon. Friend, on the basis of Treasury estimates, miscalculated the Budget surplus to the tune of £300 million, so I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that he must not be too nice about an odd £100,000 or £50,000 in the estimates for Entertainments Duty.
We are all sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, North-West (Mr. O'Brien) cannot be here today. On the Committee stage he referred to the scheme and paid tribute to Sir Alexander King, to whom I once paid tribute from the Front Bench opposite. I referred to him as an exhibitor who took a broad view of the difficulties of the industry, and not merely of the exhibition side. The estimates associated with his name are more likely to be correct than are those of the Treasury.
We have heard the figures £200,000 and £300,000; my right hon. Friend said £120,000, and the hon. Member for Woodside (Mr. W. G. Bennett) calculated yet a different figure on the basis of the 55 million 9d. seats. It is really quite impossible to get an accurate figure. But I would remind the Government that hon. Members who have spoken from both sides of the House are not pleading the case of the large circuits. That was made clear during the Committee stage, and the Financial Secretary referred to it then. It was made clear by my late hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East, Mr. Cook, in what proved to be the last speech he made to the House, when he said that we were talking about small cinemas and particularly cinemas in working-class districts.
We are not arguing today for more money for the film producers or for changes which will make any real difference to the cinema-goer. This is a question of the exhibitors. None of us has suggested that the public will be greatly affected by the actual prices charged for admission. We have to think of the position of the small exhibitor in the cinema 1263 where the charges have to be low, and we must recognise that the charges which he is able to make and the degree of tax withdrawn from him affect the service he can give the consumer. Before the war many such cinemas were known as "flea pits "and were generally called the "Lyceum" and such names. There is great danger to that type of cinema if the exhibitor does not get a fair return on his investment.
We have also to remember the wages on the distributive side of the industry. My hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, North-West recently pointed out the very low level of wages appertaining to certain occupations in the industry. We know that wages in general tend to be determined by the ability to pay of the least favourably placed employer. Therefore, from the point of view of securing workers as well as cinema-goers, something ought to be done for the exhibitors, a large proportion of whose seats cost about 9d. a time.
I am sure this would appeal to the Chancellor if he would take time to think about it for a moment. I want to reinforce the argument that if it can be decided that dog racing, horse racing and other entertainments can be tax-free at 1s., it should be possible for cinemas to be tax free at 9d. The Chancellor should accept our proposals, for they would bring benefit in the case of the cheaper seats at the smaller cinemas. The cost of the odd halfpenny about which we are talking would probably be between £100,000 and £200,000.
I am not satisfied—I hope the Chancellor will look at this in a future year—that he is giving a fair crack of the whip to the 1s. 3d. seats. A degree of prosperity in the cinema trade can be built round the 1s. 3d. seats, and although the Chancellor has done something about it, I am not satisfied, and I doubt whether the exhibitors will be on mature consideration, that he has given them what is required.
After this matter has been decided—I hope the hon. Gentleman will announce that he accepts our argument about the halfpenny—I hope the Chancellor will go into the tax as a whole. A year ago my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell) showed that he was willing to consider the whole question of 1264 the future of the duty in relation to the scales and elasticity, and so on. I readily concede that the hon. Gentleman has done something about it. The hon. Gentleman announced that he was willing to set up an inquiry, but that he had to wait for proposals from the exhibitors which were not received until a few weeks ago. I hope that after this debate the Government will agree to set up a full-dress inquiry into the whole question of Entertainments Duty. By all means let them reserve their position in regard to revenue and so on, for one knows the difficulty in another connection which we debated at considerable length a few weeks ago.
The Financial Secretary is aware of the difficulties facing the film trade and the film industry in the future. The Eady plan is due to end in 1954, and, unless announcements are made about its continuance, film production may be very considerably reduced, if it does not come to a full-stop, in the summer of 1953. It is thus important to face up to the future of the Eady plan, and it is equally important to face up to the future of the Entertainments Duty.
We recognise that the Chancellor has done something by removing some rigidities and by increasing elasticity, but we appeal to him to accept the arguments put from both sides of the House about the odd halfpenny. When that is done and when our debate has concluded, I hope he will go on with the proposal initiated by my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South and set up a full-dress expert inquiry into the future organisation of Entertainments Duty. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that he will find the Opposition ready to cooperate towards the success of such an inquiry.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
If I may speak again by leave of the House, I should like to try to reply to some of the points raised in what, to borrow the phraseology of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson), has been up till now a good debate. The debate has fallen into two rather unequal parts, one relating to the proposals in the Government Amendments, which, it has been generally accepted, will do a good deal to clear up the anomalies of the existing scale, and the other dealing, very 1265 properly, with the proposals on which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite may or may not, in their own judgment, decide to vote at a later stage of today's proceedings.
I refer for a moment to the first part of the issue, the general proposals for flexibility, only because of the suggestion of the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher), who, I believe, has considerable experience of this industry, that he would like to see his right hon. and hon. Friends vote against them. I should have thought that a very strange thing to do. The proposals are to wipe out what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil) very generously——
§ Mr. E. Fletcher
I did not say a single word about flexibility. In my speech I dealt exclusively with the duty on the 9d. seats.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I know. That is perfectly true, but what the hon. Gentleman said was that he would like to see his hon. Friends vote against these Amendments, and yet the Government Amendments are the ones which introduce flexibility. It is no use the hon. Gentleman saying, though it is perfectly true, that in his speech he did not deal with this; what he did was to suggest to his hon. Friends that, without argument from him on the merits, they should nonetheless vote against the proposals.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I do not want to be misrepresented. What I wanted to make clear—apparently I did not make it clear, but it ought to be made abundantly clear—is that if any of my hon. or right hon. Friends decide to vote against these Amendments it will be for the reason that they regard the proposed concession in the case of the 9d. seats as inadequate, and for no other reason.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
They will have ample opportunity, if they desire, to vote on that specific issue on the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenock. I thought until the hon. Gentleman rose that we were in general agreement that the flexibility proposals which were to deal with what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenock very properly described as the "hopeless inconsistencies of the present scale"—a scale which, incidentally, 1266 owes its origin to the appropriate Schedule of the Finance Act, 1951—were an excellent and generally approved scale which would enable us to iron out such hopeless anomalies.
The only other aspect of that part of the matter to which I would refer is that to which the right hon. Member for Greenock referred, I think, on the general question of cinema taxation, as quite unjustifiable discrimination. Whatever merits that proposition may have in general, I am bound to remind the right hon. Member that we are, so far as the generality of the matter is concerned, simply maintaining the general level of taxation which his right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell) found necessary, no doubt for good reasons, to impose last year.
It is really a little hard, when we are seeking within the limits imposed by the present economic situation of the country nonetheless to clear away what everyone admits to be genuine difficulties which face the industry by reason of the arranging of the scales, to be attacked because in present circumstances we cannot adjust the whole burden of taxation in a way which the right hon. Member felt he was quite unable to do when he was in control last year.
I come to the issue which has engaged the attention of the House for most of the debate, the question of the adequacy or otherwise of my right hon. Friend's concession in respect of the 9d. seats. My hon. Friend the Member for Woodside (Mr. W. G. Bennett) laid very proper emphasis on the importance of the 9d. seats. I wholly agree with his general approach to that problem. That, indeed, is the reason why, as my hon. Friend will appreciate, we have concentrated all the relief which my right hon. Friend felt it possible to give on those 9d. seats. This is because his view on the matter and ours so substantially coincide.
The right hon. Member for Greenock and the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) had some discussion as to the figures which were in issue between us. I wholly agree with the right hon. Member for Huyton that any figures on this sort of subject are inevitably figures on which there must be some margin of error. No one would be wise to claim, either for the official figures or for the 1267 figures of industry, that—however honestly both sets may have been compiled—they are completely and wholly accurate, although I can assure the right hon. Member that there is no such margin of error as that to which he referred as having been permitted by his right hon. Friend.
Substantially, we base our figures—I say this in reply to a question which the right hon. Member for Greenock very properly asked—on the attendances during the last six months of last year which were at an annual rate, not, as he stated, of 55 million, but between 60 million and 70 million in respect of the 9d. seats. We based them also, of course, because his Amendment would carry out consequential Amendments, on the 10d. seats, on a similar calculation of 23 million seats at 10d. Therefore, we arrived at that basis. As I said, obviously no one will waste time in disputing the accuracy to two or three thousand pounds, but we arrived at the basis as far as we could that the concession we are offering is of the order of £200,000, and the concession for which the Amendment moved by the right hon. Member for Greenock asks would be of the order of £400,000.
In the course of this debate we have had different figures given. The hon. Member for Islington, East, with great experience of this industry, has been talking in terms of £350,000 and £400,000 and the right hon. Member for Greenock in terms of between £120,000 and £240,000. My own figures are somewhat higher, but I do not think we need consume time in a detailed dispute. As the right hon. Member for Huyton said, probably in the event the result will be somewhere between the various figures given. I have given the basis on which our calculations were based to reassure the right hon. Member for Greenock that they were based on the best information available.
A number of hon. Members, including the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing), seemed to think that the effect and intention of these proposals was to benefit the big cinema as against the small cinema. The precise converse is the case. As I said in moving the Amendment, we have concentrated the whole of the relief we feel able to give, the £200,000 or whatever the precise figure may be, upon the 9d. seats. The 1268 9d. seats, we are advised by the industry—I will give figures in support—are the seats which matter most to the smaller cinema and least to the bigger cinema.
It may interest the House to know how it works out. In respect of each £100 gross takings of the cinema, in the case of a cinema taking less than £125 a week—that is, the smallest—the relief given by this concession will amount to 23s. At the other end of the scale, in the case of the monster cinema taking £1,500 to £2,000 a week, it comes down to 1s. There is a very sharp gradation in the value of the concession beginning with the highest value to the smaller cinemas and ending with a quite small value to the largest cinemas. I hope that will reassure the House that it is neither our intention, nor would it be the result of these proposals, to benefit the large cinema as opposed to the small cinema.
As I said in opening, we are conscious that the smaller cinema, at any rate in some cases, is undergoing substantial difficulties. My right hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams), who, as the House is aware, has taken a very great interest in the subject and paid the greatest attention to the needs of these small cinemas, made a most helpful and constructive speech. I can add what he at any rate already knows, that the implicit invitation I gave in Committee to those small cinemas to submit details of their difficulties has been responded to in some degree. As he knows, we are always prepared to consider, and to continue to consider, the difficulties of these small cinemas in the light of the evidence that is made available to us.
It is in some degree because my right hon. Friend the Chancellor did feel that some case for assisting them has been made out that a concession, which is appreciable in its cost to public funds, is embodied in the Amendment before the House. We really get down to the issue as to the size of the concession. Nobody, apparently, disputes that in giving this relief to the small cinema through the most effective medium for so doing—the tax on the 9d. seat—the Government are acting in a way in which the House would wish them to do in seeking to deal with the difficulties which have been at some length outlined by hon. Members on both sides of the House during the debate.
The right hon. Member for Greenock wants us to go further, but I ask him to 1269 consider this aspect of the matter. This is a time at which any relief from Entertainments Duty has to be weighed against the background of our economic position. Amounts such as we have been discussing, although they may not loom very large against the whole conspectus in financial affairs, are appreciable sums and it is the duty of my right hon. Friend to safeguard the Revenue to the best of his ability.
My right hon. Friend has thought it right on the evidence before him this year to make this appreciable concession. That does indicate that he does appreciate this problem and is evidence—if evidence be needed—that he will continue to watch the problems of these small cinemas with close attention and with a desire to see that the ill consequences which some hon. Members forecast do not come upon them. In those circumstances, I again commend this Amendment to the House as one which will clear up the hopeless inconsistencies—to use the words of the right hon. Member for Greenock—of the
§ scale and at the same time make a solid contribution to the needs of these small and struggling cinemas.
I fear f must advise my hon. Friends to vote against the Government's Amendment. I am glad that the Financial Secretary finds some consolation in his argument, because he can have found none from the course of this debate. From both sides of the House, above and below the Gangway, we have heard moderate, reasonable speeches designed to persuade the hon. Gentleman that his proposals were inadequate. Because they are inadequate, as my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) said, the logical conclusion is obviously at this stage to divide against the Amendment, and I must so advise.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 256; Noes, 229.1273
|Division No. 168.]||AYES||[7.0 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Carson, Hon. E.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Cary, Sir Robert||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Channon, H.||Gower, H. R.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Gridley, Sir Arnold|
|Arbuthnot, John||Cole, Norman||Grimond, J.|
|Ashton, H (Chelmsford)||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Astor, Hon J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton)||Cooper-Key, E. M.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Cranborne, Viscount||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt Hon. H. F. C.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Banks, Col. C.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O E.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George|
|Barber, Anthony||Crouch, R. F.||Hay, John|
|Barlow, Sir John||Crowder, John E. (Finchley)||Heald, Sir Lionel|
|Baxter, A. B.||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Heath, Edward|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S)||Henderson, John (Cathcart)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Davidson, Viscountess||Higgs, J. M. C.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Deedes, W. F.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Digby, S. Wingfield||Hill, Mrs E. (Wythenshawe)|
|Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)||Dodds-Parker, A D.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Donner, P. W.||Holland-Martin, C. J.|
|Birch, Nigel||Doughty, C. J. A.||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)|
|Bishop, F. P||Drayson, G. B.||Holt, A. F.|
|Black, C. W.||Dugdale, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir T.(Richmond)||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Bossom, A. C.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.|
|Bowen, E. R.||Duthie, W. S.||Horobin, I. M.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Erroll, F. J.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Fell, A.||Howard, Greville (St. Ives)|
|Braine, B. R.||Finlay, Graeme||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Fisher, Nigel||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Hurd, A. R.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Foster, John||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon P. G. T||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Jennings, R.|
|Bullard, D. G.||Gage, C. H.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Jones, A. (Hall Green)|
|Burden, F. F. A||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Kaberry, D.|
|Butcher, H. W.||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Keeling, Sir Edward|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Glyn, Sir Ralph||Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Godber, J. B.||Lambert, Hon. G.|
|Lambton, Viscount||Noble, Cmdr. A. H P.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G||Nugent, G. R. H.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Oakshott, H. D.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Odey, G. W.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E A. H||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Antrim, N.)||Storey, S.|
|Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Linstead, H. N.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S||Summers, G. S.|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Osborne, C.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Partridge, E.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Peaks, Rt. Hon. O||Teeling, W.|
|Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.)||Peto, Brig, C. H. M||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Peyton, J. W. W||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Pickthorn, K. W. M||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Pitman, I. J.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|McAdden, S. J.||Powell, J. Enoch||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Tilney, John|
|Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Touche, G. C.|
|McKibbin, A. J.||Profumo, J. D.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Rayner, Brig. R.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Maclean, Fitzroy||Redmayne, M.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Remnant, Hon. P.||Vosper, D. F.|
|MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Renton, D. L. M.||Wade, D. W.|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Robson-Brown, W.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)|
|Maitland, Comdr J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Roper, Sir Harold||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Russell, R. S.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Markham, Maj. S. F||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Marples, A. E.||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Maudling, R.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||Wellwood, W.|
|Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr S. L. C.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W (Rochdale)||White, Baker (Canterbury)|
|Medlicott, Brig. F.||Scott, R. Donald||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Mellor, Sir John||Shepherd, William||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Molson, A. H. E.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Wills, G.|
|Nabarro, G. D. N.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Nicholls, Harmar||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Soames, Capt. C.||York, C.|
|Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Nield, Basil (Chester)||Speir, R. M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Drewe and Mr. Studholme.|
|Adams, Richard||Coldrick, W.||Hamilton, W. W.|
|Albu, A. H.||Collick, P. H.||Hannan, W.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hardy, E. A.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hargreaves, A.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Crossman, R. H. S.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Hastings, S.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Daines, P,||Hayman, F. H.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)|
|Baird, J.||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh)|
|Balfour, A.||Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Bartley, P.||Deer, G.||Holman, P.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Delargy, H. J. L||Houghton, Douglas|
|Bence, C. R.||Dodds, N. N.||Hoy, J. H.|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Donnelly, D. L.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)|
|Benson, G.||Dugdale, Rt Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Beswick, F.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Edelman, M.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Blackburn, F.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Janner, B.|
|Boardman, H.||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Ewart, R.||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Bowden, H. W.||Fernyhough, E.||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Finch, H. J.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Follick, M.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Jones, David (Hartlepool)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Gibson, C. W.||Keenan, W.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Glanville, James||Kenyon, C.|
|Carmichael, J.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Kinley, J.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Grey, C. F.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Clunie, J.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Lewis, Arthur||Peart, T. F.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Lipion, Lt.-Col. M||Poole, C. C.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Logan, D. G.||Popplewall, E||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|MacColl, J. E.||Porter, G.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|McGhee, H. G.||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|McGovern, J.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|McInnes, J.||Proctor, W. T.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Pursey, Cmdr. H||Tomney, F.|
|McLeavy, F.||Rankin, John||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Viant, S. P|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Rhodes, H.||Watkins, T E|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Richards, R.||Weitzman, D.|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Roberts, Rt. Hon. A.||Welts, Percy (Faversham)|
|Manuel, A. C.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon H. A.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||West, D. G|
|Messer, F.||Ross, William||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Royle, C.||White, Mrs Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Monslow, W.||Schofield, S. (Barnsley)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Moody, A. S.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Wigg, George|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B W.||Short, E. W.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Morley, R.||Shurmer, P. L. E.||Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)|
|Mort, D. L.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Moyle, A.||Simmons, C. P. (Brierley Hill)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Mulley, F. W.||Slater, J.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Murray, J. D.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Nally, W||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J||Sorensen, R. W.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Oldfield, W. H.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Wilson, Rt. Hon Harold (Huyton)|
|Oliver, G. H.||Sparks, J. A.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Oswald, T.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Padley, W. E.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Yates, V. F.|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Pannell, Charles||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Swingler, S. T.||Mr. Wilkins and|
|Parker, J.||Sylvester, G. O.||Mr. Kenneth Robinson.|
|Pearson, A.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
Further Amendment made: in page 2, line 30, after "shall," insert:
be the scale set out in Part II of the said First Schedule:
Provided that as respects payments for admission to entertainments held before the twenty-seventh day of July, nineteen hundred and fifty-two the third scale shall."—[Mr. Boyd-Carpenter.]
§ Mr. Speaker
I shall next call the Amendment in the name of the right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell). It occurs to me that the six other Amendments which appear on the same page of the Order Paper cover similar ground, and that it may be possible for the House to discuss them all together with this Amendment. I would also point out that there was, I understand, a long discussion on this matter in Committee and I hope it will not be found necessary to repeat all the arguments here.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
I beg to move, in page 2, line 32, after "applicable," to insert:in the case of any entertainment which consists of games or other sports and.I certainly shall accept your advice, Mr. Speaker, and I wish that it had been applied retrospectively. I shall accept it 1274 for many reasons. Those present during the Committee stage will agree that what was at stake was very adequately discussed. We gained the sympathy of the Chancellor and I am anxious to retain it. Judging by his demeanour during the last hour or so, he would agree with my attitude towards your advice.
The organised bodies in the world of sport, particularly the Association players' union and the Football League very much appreciate the attention given by the Committee to the questions which were discussed during the Committee stage and I think that that should be placed on record. The undertaking given by the Chancellor to consider the position between Committee stage and Report stage has caused great interest outside. Many meetings have been held, including the annual meeting of the Football League, and the players' union have also given consideration to what was said.
In addition, I have received letters from a number of people, including Stoke City and Manchester United Football Clubs, who also much appreciate what was said. All are looking forward to the Chancellor implementing the undertaking which he gave on the Committee stage.
§ Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu (Huddersfield, East)
I beg to second the Amendment.
Like my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith), I do not propose to repeat any of the arguments advanced on this subject on Committee stage. But I wish to deploy two arguments which, so far as I know, were not put, one peculiar to one game and the other dealing with two games, and to answer a point raised during the Committee stage which has a general application to the Amendment.
The point I want to make relates to Association football and the finances of that game. During the inter-war period the professional game was not profit-making in any sense as I understand it. Though it was expanding rapidly, profits were not made by the clubs because they had to meet the expansion of the popularity of the game by spending large amounts on grounds and stands and the rest. That resulted in nearly all the clubs in the country having very large overdrafts, which were guaranteed by directors who were mainly wealthy sportsmen prepared to spend money on their hobby.
That was the position in the inter-war years. After the war the situation? changed considerably because, rightly, and I am glad it happened, money was very much more widely spread, with the result that people who wanted to watch football were better able to afford to do so. Gate receipts were increased and for several years almost every club, even those in the Third Division, North, were able to pay their way. Many clubs paid off their overdrafts. The Arsenal Football Club, which had been in the hands of the Prudential for some 10 years, was able to clear off something like £100,000 in a very few years.
Now, unhappily, the position has deteriorated. As the Chancellor knows, gate receipts and attendances are falling, and it is less possible for all but the wealthiest and the most patronised clubs to pay their way out of gate receipts.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Mallalieu
Unfortunately, it does include Huddersfield.
Since the war, rightly again as I think, the number of people who have large sums of money to spare has been sharply 1276 reduced. It is not now anything like so easy to find wealthy sportsmen who will come on to the boards of clubs and back the overdraft at the bank, or put in cash, as families have done for Huddersfield in years past. The result is that clubs are getting into a very precarious situation, and one which is becoming more precarious because of the proposals of the Chancellor.
The increase in the Bank rate is costing clubs a good deal more for overdrafts. Indeed, it is not merely the increased Bank rate, because the fact is that bank managers are cutting down on overdrafts very quickly indeed. The increase in Entertainments Duty is likely to discourage people from attending football matches by making it more costly for them that do so, and, therefore, the revenue which clubs are likely to get in the future is reduced.
If the Chancellor persists in this policy it seems to me that one of two things, or perhaps both of them, are likely to happen. [Interruption.] I listened earlier with great interest to a speech from the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling) on how easy it was for men of enterprise to get money. Unfortunately, that is not so in football. It is now extremely difficult, mainly as a result of the change in credit policy, for football clubs to get any money at all.
One thing which is almost certain to happen in the next few years if this policy is persisted in is that the Third Division will collapse entirely. I do not suppose the Chancellor knows anything about the Third Division. I do not either. It was only a few weeks ago that I found out there was a Second Division. Another thing which is likely to happen is that the transfer system is likely to be extended, because so far as the lower clubs are concerned, the only way in which they will be able to pay their way in the future, with taxation increases and a lack of wealthy directors, is by finding young players and selling them quickly, like cattle. That is a state of affairs which I cannot believe that the Chancellor wishes to perpetuate.
The second point covers Association football and Rugby League football. In recent years the players' unions in these games have been trying hard to improve the wages of the players. At first sight, the wages do not appear to be too bad. 1277 A wage of £14 a week is fair, but it must be remembered that the life of a player is comparatively short. He is certainly past his best at the age of 35, and he is finished altogether at the age of 40. He has a right, therefore, to receive a higher reward for the skill that he displays in his profession than have some people in other professions.
The Association Football Players' Union have found the greatest resistance from the clubs, the League and the Football Association, against their demands for better accommodation and wages. The result has been that the Ministry of Labour ordered an inquiry into the matter. The tribunal reported that in some respects the players were entitled to higher wages. If the higher rate of Entertainments Duty is imposed it will arm the clubs with yet another argument, which will be extremely difficult to refute, for refusing the demands of the players.
Lastly, I refer to a point made during the Committee stage by two hon. Gentlemen opposite, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South, who is now so lugubrious whenever we suggest improvements, and the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne). They seemed to suggest that this question was trivial and that, faced as we were with a great crisis, it did not matter; we should not be wasting our time discussing sport.
I suggest that these sports are good in themselves. They provide enjoyment, and any enjoyment of that kind is an absolute good. I do not expect the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South to follow me into these philosophical heights, because he seems to display a utility mind on these occasions.
§ Mr. Mallalieu
For example, the hon. Gentleman is anxious to see production improved. He cannot believe that production will increase if the people who produce the goods have no entertainment. Surely he does not suggest that if a man in one hour can produce 10 articles then if he works for 10 hours he can produce 100 articles. That does not happen. The man needs rest and, equally, he needs entertainment.
A worker may be required to spend long hours standing behind a shop 1278 counter or over a bench. He needs to be physically fit. This sort of entertainment which it is proposed to tax more heavily is one of the best means of increasing the physical well-being of the people as a whole. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not people watching."] Indeed, yes. That is a most important point. I would argue the importance of professional football and cricket as a means of increasing the physical standards of people as a whole.
Merely to watch these games stimulates people to play them. If I could get the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South to watch Huddersfield Town, he would want to play himself. As an outside left or a full-back he might be useful. As he has not a Socialist background perhaps he would be better at outside left.
These are the considerations that I urge upon the Chancellor once again. In the previous debate he showed that he had an understanding of the importance of the pleasure and enjoyment which comes from these games, and that he appreciated some of the dangers in which these games would be put if he carried on with his proposal. This proposal will make games less attractive to the professional player. It will make the management of games much more difficult for the managers, directors and committees. Finally, it will make the games much more costly for the spectator. I hope that even now the Chancellor will consider reversing his policy.
§ Sir Wavell Wakefield (St. Marylebone)
The great national sporting bodies were heartened by the manner in which this matter was discussed during the Committee stage and by the sympathetic way in which the Chancellor replied to the debate. The Chancellor undertook to keep a close watch on cricket, and he gave a concession so that that sport will not be affected this year. As there is opportunity for that position to be considered before the next Finance Bill it would seem unnecessary to refer further to that sport now.
The Chancellor also asked for evidence to be submitted by football clubs showing the effect of this change upon them and demonstrating their ability or otherwise to recover the increase from their supporters. Evidence was given by the Rugby Football Union about a number of leading clubs. It showed that in each 1279 of the last two years two-thirds of those clubs lost money. A further increase in the tax will mean that their position will be even more gravely threatened.
An increase in Entertainments Duty will be a prior charge before any profits can be made. It will merely increase the losses of all these clubs. Evidence was given of the inability to increase price everywhere. Information was given about increased subscriptions and increased gate charges. The evidence is that the limit has now been reached.
By way of illustration, I would point out that we saw how the takings of the London Transport Executive fell when prices were put up too high. That is a monopoly and it is necessary for people to use it to earn their daily bread. The promotion of our games is not a necessity in that sense, nor is it a monopoly and the position has now been reached when charges to the public cannot be raised any higher.
One appreciates the Chancellor's difficulty. He told us that he raised about £4 million from entertainments tax of one type or another on sport of all kinds. I appreciate that no great inroad can be made upon that sum, but I suggest that much of the difficulty in which our our national sporting bodies will find themselves would be obviated if the Chancellor would consider relieving those national organisations which play amateur sport. I understand that the total tax taken from amateur bodies is about £200,000 a year. If he can give some relief on that score, it would help a great deal.
I understand that about £60,000 is paid in Entertainment Duties by Wimbledon, between £25,000 and £50,000 is paid by Rugby football, and similar amounts by Amateur Association Football and such organisations as the Amateur Athletic Association, boxing and the like. That may mean very little to the Chancellor, but it means a very great deal to national organisations controlling these sports.
In this connection, I should like to refer to a couple of paragraphs in a letter which was sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer a few days ago by the Central Council of Physical Recreation. This Council is Government-sponsored, 1280 and includes in its membership some 35 national governing bodies of sports. This Council, in making its representations to the Chancellor, said:The 100 per cent. increase in the rate now proposed has come as a serious and unexpected blow, and it is feared that it may have far-reaching effects on the development of amateur sport. Many small but important governing bodies rely on the income received from one or two championships or competitive events for their administrative and coaching programme. Very many individual private sports clubs can only meet their heavy expenditure on playing fields or club premises if they can be assured of modest receipts from a few matches to which the public pays for admission.The letter concluded:The recognition of the educational contribution of sport which was contained in the 1944 Education Acts has served as a great stimulus to the development of coaching schemes; these in turn depend for their maintenance in no small measure on receipts from events, many of which will be hard hit if the proposed increase in Entertainments Duty becomes effective.I hope that there may be some differentiation between what I may call commercial sporting activities—racing and the like—and our great national amateur games, which ought to be considered, as this letter has indicated, as being of an educational nature.
To conclude, I suggest to the Chancellor that he should include in the Amendments now under consideration that the word "amateur" in front of both "games" and "sports," and that that would be a great step forward towards meeting many of the difficulties with which our national sporting organisations will have to contend. I know that, in the debate on the Committee stage, the Chancellor said that there was difficulty in defining an amateur. I suggest that he should adopt the Olympic definition of amateur, which would provide a broad basis of definition but would also allow for the different definitions which the national sporting organisations adopt themselves.
It seems to me that, if that definition could be used, all the games played by amateur organisations—Association football, Rugby Union, boxing and the like—would be free from this extra duty, which, otherwise, will bear so heavily upon them and be a severe handicap to their prospects of survival. I hope that the Chancellor may find it possible to 1281 do something on the lines I have indicated to help our great national bodies in the difficulties in which they are likely to find themselves.
§ Mr. E. A. Hardy (Salford, East)
I wish to make a plea on behalf of the Rugby League. We have heard much about the amateur, but I understand that some amateurs receive more than the professionals for playing football. We have also heard about clubs which can afford to pay £35,000 in transfer fees. I am appealing for Rugby League clubs, like Liverpool City, whose average attendance last year was 100 spectators a week. We can take any of the teams, like Rochdale, Oldham, Salford, Belle Vue Rangers, Swinton, Halifax, Batley or Bramley and we find that they have been struggling for years. Now that an extra burden of Entertainments Duty is to be imposed upon them, it will have the effect of a very severe drain on their resources.
To take one case alone, as far as the Salford club is concerned, the receipts last year were £15,606, out of which they had to pay duty amounting to £1,214. Assuming that the attendances for the season 1952–53 are approximately the same, the duty payable on receipts of £15,606 will be £2,817. During the years of depression, many Rugby League clubs, in order to enable their patrons to see the matches, had to impose a condition that they should produce their unemployment cards. We do not want to encourage that kind of thing, although the majority of the clubs which are most affected are in industrial areas like Rochdale, Oldham, and Halifax.
In view of the trade depression which is now taking place, I think we are entitled to ask the Chancellor to take a reasonable view of the situation of these clubs. They cannot pay fabulous sums in transfer fees. Clubs in the Rugby League play a very old game of rugby football which is known to be the finest game of football in the world.
§ Mr. Hardy
I am entitled to express my own opinion, but I do not want to become involved in any arguments with my hon. Friends. In these towns, these clubs have done a great amount of work, 1282 particularly in encouraging schoolboys to play the game, and they have spent a great deal of money on these efforts in the expectation that they would not have to meet the imposition of extra duty.
§ Mr. Barnett Janner (Leicester, North-West)
I should like to say a few words, first regarding the position of cricket, although I understood from the undertaking to inquire into the matter which was given at an earlier stage by the Chancellor that he was likely to act in a reasonable way. I would remind him, however, that in my own city and county the position is very serious, and that very considerable losses are being incurred by the Leicestershire cricket county club.
I now want to turn to another form of sport, and I should inform the House that I act in a professional capacity for some of the people concerned with the sport of boxing. Although in that sense I declare an interest, this interest also gives me the opportunity of informing myself about the difficulties with which that form of sport is confronted.
Since the debate took place on the Committee stage, I know that the British Boxing Board of Control has made an approach to the Chancellor to consider the position in which professional boxing is now placed. I am not saying that I disagree with the appeal which has been made to the Chancellor by those who are anxious that amateur boxing and other sports should not be driven out of existence. I want him to realise that the imposition of this new tax is likely to deal a very serious blow to professional boxing, and that it is highly probable that as a result of it the sport may be damaged to an irretrievable extent.
The British Boxing Board of Control deals with professional boxing and the members and stewards, who are men of very high repute and standing in both their private and professional lives, have examined the position very carefully. They are convinced that if the tax is imposed the tournaments which have hitherto been held, many of which have been run at a considerable loss, will be reduced in number, with the result that our standing in the boxing world, not only in this country but internationally, will be very seriously affected.
They have ascertained that of the 737 licensed professional boxing tournaments 1283 held last year, 184, or 25 per cent. of them, resulted in a financial loss to the promoters. They work on a very fine margin. It has already been pointed out that the life of a professional player, so far as his playing activities are concerned, is a very short one, and I need hardly tell the House that the period of professional activity of a boxer is certainly not very long.
One promoter has stated that five of his last six fights showed a very small profit and that if this tax had been imposed all the tournaments held would have been run at a loss. In the opinion of the promoters, the tax cannot be added to the charge already made to those who attend such tournaments. A questionnaire was sent out to promoters by the British Boxing Board of Control to which they received 50 replies. Thirty of the promoters stated that if this tax is imposed to the extent contemplated they will not be able to carry on. It will paralyse the sport in this country and some 5,000 licence holders will be completely put out of activity. The smaller promoters will be particularly affected.
It is a serious matter, because boxing is followed by a very large section of the community. It is held at a time when men are not usually at work, and if boxing is attacked in this way the younger boxers will not be given the opportunity of rising to the heights so important in the international sphere. [Interruption.] I am not suggesting that they always rise to those heights, but we do not want to make it more difficult than a few of the results have shown. I am sure this tax will have a very damaging effect upon this particular form of sport, and I would ask the Chancellor to consider it in that light.
Last year, some £100,000 was received from this sport by way of taxes, and that money is likely to be lost to the Treasury. I think it would be wrong to impose a tax which would drive this particular sport out of existence, and I hope the Chancellor will reconsider his decision and give boxing an opportunity to continue.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel W. H. Bromley-Davenport (Knutsford)
I support the very able speech made by the hon. Member 1284 for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner). He has covered all the ground and taken the words right out of my mouth. May I say that the House of Commons is the toughest audience in the world because nobody wants to listen and everybody wants to speak. Therefore, I will set everybody's mind at rest by saying at once that I intend to speak for roughly one and a half minutes.
In brief, what will be the result of these increased taxes on the sport of boxing?
§ Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport
The Chancellor considers that no harm will be done and that boxing shows will continue at their present level. But the British Boxing Board of Control think the very opposite will happen. But the worst feature about this increased tax is that it will hit the medium-sized promotions which, as we all know, are the ones where the future champions are found. Many will close down altogether.
As the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West said, 30 out of 50 promoters have already told the British Boxing Board of Control that if these new taxes are imposed they will shut down next season because they believe that the public simply will not pay increased charges. What is to be the result if the British Boxing Board of Control are right? Many promoters will go out of business altogether, there will be less boxing in this country, the standard of boxing will fall, and the Chancellor will lose revenue. But I fear that my right hon. Friend will have his way and that arguments, however eloquently put forward, will carry us no further.
The Chancellor bears a great responsibility in this matter. I gather that he does not think any harm will be done to boxing if he does not remit this tax. I hope he is right. But if he is wrong, he has been warned by the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West and by me—and will be warned, I believe, by other hon. Members—and also by the British Boxing Board of Control.
§ Miss Elaine Burton (Coventry, South)
Like the hon. and gallant Member for Knutsford (Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport) I too shall be very brief so that everybody who wishes may join in this debate. I was glad that my hon. 1285 Friend the Member for Huddersfield, East (Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu), whose interest in sport is well known in Huddersfield in particular, stressed, in reply to an intervention from the benches opposite that watching or playing games has a good effect on production. Coming from Coventry, which is a city very much represented in the national effort today, I wish to stress that that is a point about which we feel very strongly.
I think that practically every hon. Member with the possible exception of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling), who is not now in the Chamber, would agree that watching games is not the prerogative of people who are lazy and do not want to do anything about it. Anybody who has been to a match like a local derby or a "battle of the roses" will agree that the energy shown by the spectators is as vigorous as that displayed on the actual pitch itself.
I believe, and I think the hon. and gallant Member for Knutsford (Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport) made the same point, that some people do not appreciate that this tax will hit the smaller clubs in any particular game. Our sports are not made up only of clubs whose names are national words. Those of us who have played games know that our potential champions come from the smaller clubs. I should like to emphasize that point very strongly.
It is not my purpose to speak on behalf of any particular game, but in this country we believe that cricket and football are national British pastimes. I do not know whether on Saturday the Chancellor is going to Lords to watch us beat India or going to the A.A.A. championships. But he must know that since the last debate on this subject in this Chamber we have had some very good records put up by British athletes. I do not know whether the Chancellor was lucky enough—I was not—to see the wonderful victory by the winner of the British Marathon race last week. I am sorry if, as I believe, I heard the Chancellor say "Where was that?"
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
The only hope I have of attending these functions is if I am deprived of my present job.
§ Miss Burton
Most of us who are keen on athletics are hoping that at Helsinki the British flag will be hoisted because a British winner of the Marathon will come in four and a half laps or one and a half miles ahead of the next competitor. I ask the Chancellor whether he would not agree that we should do everything in our power this year in particular to train young people as athletes. We have this example before us, and if the Chancellor keeps this tax in being he will deprive promising young people of the opportunity of getting better and better.
We have a Third Division football club in Coventry and I think it is known throughout the country that Third Division clubs have difficulties in making ends meet. But it is not only these clubs that are penalised. I do not know where the Chancellor was born, but he sits for Saffron Walden. I come from Yorkshire and everybody knows that that is quite the best cricketing county in the whole country. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."]. Last year, Yorkshire was certainly one of the most financially successful clubs in the country.
Only two county cricket clubs made a profit and Yorkshire, as one of them, made the very large sum of £660. They only did that after taking Test Match receipts into account and also a refund for ground improvements. Does the Chancellor believe that county cricket clubs will be able to carry on in view of the present tax?
§ Miss Burton
I am quite aware of that, but the clubs would like to be put out of their misery. Knowing the Chancellor's interest in these things, and in view of the fact that this is Olympic Games year, I hope very much that he will be prepared to withdraw this tax.
§ Mr. James H. Hoy (Leith)
I do not want to say very much about cricket. It is a game which does not draw many people in Scotland, and we do not give a great deal of support to games which seek to attract workers from their work 1287 during the week. It is a game, apparently, which takes place south of the Border. I want to confine my remarks to two sports.
There is a great case to be made out against the Chancellor imposing this tax on amateur Rugby football clubs. In Scotland the game is played by amateurs who have a tremendous difficulty in keeping it going. This tax will hit them very severely. Indeed, school clubs not only in Scotland but throughout Britain will feel the effects of this tax. It is pretty nasty of the Chancellor, when he finds relief for those who want to go to Ascot to watch horse racing, to seek to impose a penalty on those who want to play football for sport.
I want to draw the attention of the Chancellor or the Financial Secretary also to Association football. Sometimes a wrong idea is conveyed to the general public by reports of very large transfer fees having been paid by certain clubs for a footballer. One gathers the impression that there is a tremendous amount of money flying about when indeed the opposite is the case. Many of the smaller clubs now find it extremely difficult to keep their heads above water.
In Lanarkshire, where there has been a drift of population away from the county because of industrial developments elsewhere, these clubs are finding it nearly impossible to live. Two of the Second Division clubs have already given notice that if this tax is imposed upon them there will be nothing that they can do but shut up shop. We do not want that to happen.
Football has had a pretty precarious existence, and I remind the Chancellor that not so many years ago some clubs existed by providing cheap admission for the unemployed. In the present economic situation, when money is tending to become tighter and tighter, any further increase in the price of admission will make it impossible for many who would like to go to football matches to do so. In addition to the 3d. the Chancellor is going to impose, the clubs themselves were finding things so difficult that they were already considering increasing prices. I am sorry that the Chancellor is not enjoying the bracing air of North Berwick at the present time, but I hope that when next he goes there we shall 1288 have a better speech than the one he delivered last time or that, at least, he will be able to implement his pledges.
I want to extract a pledge from the right hon. Gentleman now. So difficult were things becoming in the Association football world that clubs had already decided that an increase in admission charges would have to be made before the Chancellor imposed this new tax. Now, in consequence of the Chancellor's decision, instead of the price of admission rising from 1s. 6d. to 1s. 9d., the Association has intimated that there will be a rise of 6d. and not 3d. That is a very considerable rise. I am certain that it will have a very bad effect on the game in Scotland and in many parts of England as well.
I should have liked to say a word or two in reply to some of the scathing remarks made by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling) during the Committee stage, but I shall not do so in his absence. After all, I console myself with the thought that he was born in England and not in Scotland and that maybe that accounts for the remarks he made. I sincerely appeal to the Chancellor to accept the case I have made on behalf of the clubs, without worrying him with details of which he must be well aware. I appeal to him most sincerely to reconsider this tax and to announce, when he replies to this debate, that he will not make this new imposition at this time.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Philip Noel-Baker (Derby, South)
I want briefly to reinforce the arguments which have been submitted by my hon. Friends and by two hon. Members opposite. I would say to hon. Members opposite that while I agree with much that they say, while the concession to amateur sports would, of course, be welcome, we think the Chancellor ought to drop his lamentable proposal both for professional and amateur sports. If hon. Members opposite will vote as they have spoken, perhaps they can decide the Chancellor's mind for him.
I want to reinforce one illustration already given by hon. Members on both sides of the House. I think it shows that while the case which was put from every quarter in the Committee stage was strong, that case has now become absolutely overwhelming. I speak of 1289 boxing. Let the Chancellor consider the figures which have been given by my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner). The official figures of the British Boxing Board last year indicate that with the tax as it was, 184 promotions out of 737–25 per cent.—failed to pay their way.
The Boxing Board and their delegates from all quarters of the country since the Committee stage have considered how this extra duty could be paid. They are absolutely satisfied that they cannot pass it on to the public, and that is why they give the other figures which were quoted by my hon. Friend, that of the first 50 promoters who answered the questionnaire 30 said that they would not go on at all, 11 said they were in doubt and nine said they would try one more promotion before they made up their minds.
What does that mean? It means that the vast majority of all boxing tournaments will not happen next year. It means that all the smaller tournaments and the medium tournaments, which are the real nursery of boxing, will utterly collapse with disastrous results for boxing, and for the Chancellor, too, because he will not get that £100,000 which came to him a year ago. Nothing can be more certain than that in this matter he is killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
May I reinforce another argument that has been put to the Chancellor—an argument ad hominem, an argument which I hope will appeal to his better self, the self that we knew in 1944. When he was Minister of Education he recognised in the Act of 1944 the educational contribution which could be made by sport. That was a great stimulus to the development of coaching schemes throughout the country. I am glad to say that I think we have finally abandoned our old hypocrisy about "specialisation" and we now recognise that coaching is essential to the full enjoyment and development of any sport. But coaching schemes depend upon money, money depends on gate receipts, and gate receipts are grievously affected by the Entertainments Duty.
It is because that was true that the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1946, wanting to carry out the purpose of the Education Act, wanting to make coaching 1290 schemes effective, and wanting to get the full educational contribution that can come from sport, reduced the rate of Entertainments Duty which sport must pay. He did so in the light of a memorandum prepared by the Central Council for Physical Recreation. I have had the privilege of serving on the Council for many years. It includes representatives of 35 governing bodies on sport. It is really the highest authority in the country on this kind of subject.
The Central Council welcomed very warmly the reduction of the duty in 1946. They said that it gave great satisfaction and encouragement to the governing bodies. They said—and I know from personal experience of various sports that it is true—that that concession would lead to a great development of coaching schemes. The Council now say that this 100 per cent. increase that the Chancellor proposes has come as a serious and unexpected blow, that it will have very serious results, that it will paralyse the administrative system and the coaching schemes of these governing bodies, that it hits nearly all the governing bodies and nearly all the individual clubs.
I hope the Chancellor will reflect on what he is doing. In four weeks from now the best team we have ever had will go from here to the Olympic Games. Since the Education Act, 1944, and the tax concession of 1946, and largely because of those enactments, we have had a great all-round advance in Britain in many forms of sport and physical recreation. The advance in numbers taking part, in interest and in performance is an asset of great value—I would say of great moral value—to the nation as a whole. The Chancellor is imperilling—he may be destroying—what has been achieved, and I beg him once more to reconsider and desist from what he proposes.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
I think it may be useful if I intervene at this stage. The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith), in a model speech both for brevity and clarity, moved this Amendment, and he referred to the undertaking which I gave on the Committee stage.
I then said that I would do my duty by undertaking to review the aspect of the tax in relation to football and other sports in the light of the evidence I could 1291 collect—evidence from clubs as to what the effect would be on their future and evidence of their ability or inability to pass on the tax to their supporters. I undertook to do that before the Report stage. I went on to say that I could give no specific undertaking of a definite concession, but after what I had heard I thought it would have been wrong of me not to undertake to look at this matter again in order to see the effect of what had been suggested. That is the basis of what I am now going to say.
We have had a further very searching inquiry into the effect of what is our policy, namely, that the most logical system, after the lengthy debates on the Finance Bill of last year, would be to group all sports together. The House will remember that last year there was very great pressure on behalf of speedway racing. The whole structure of the tax was thought to be unsatisfactory, and therefore the result of the review, which was undertaken partly under the late Government and partly concluded under our Government, for which I take responsibility, is that all sports should be grouped together logically so that we could have as much fairness as possible, instead of taxing some of them under one scale and some under the other. That is the system which I advocated on the Committee stage, and I will give the House the results of the investigation that I have made as to whether any alteration can or cannot be made in this system.
First, I want to look into the argument of the hon. Member for St. Marylebone (Sir W. Wakefield) in which he referred to the possibility of omitting the amateur clubs. I have, of course, read his Amendment to page 2, line 45. Among other things, he states in that Amendment that an amateur must beone who participates and always has participated in sport solely for pleasure and for the physical, mental or social benefits he derives therefrom. …and that an amateur is one who does not expect anymaterial gain of any kind direct or indirect. …I have examined whether that definition would work, and whether we could abstract the amateur side of these sports and drop them on to the lowest scale of 1292 all. But I must honestly confess that I find it unworkable.
I find it unworkable to frame an Entertainments Duty upon a situation that might arise if an amateur club played a professional club, in which case we should get into a muddle. I also find that it would be impossible—I have consulted the national authorities—to be absolutely certain whether it would be right or wrong to pay the duty if one member of the team had in the past accepted some reward or honour, in which case he would invalidate this description and he would invalidate the particular contest, in which case the duty would have to be charged.
The result is that, despite a considerable amount of labour, I have been quite unable to discover a definition of an amateur on which it would be possible to work. Therefore, I must say most regretfully that while I shall go on searching during the coming year and shall keep this matter in mind—and one does not know what wonders there may or may not be in the next Budget—I cannot find any description of an amateur which will enable me to differentiate in that way.
Coming to the main issue, which is whether or not we should impose Entertainments Duty on the logical basis that all sports are treated the same, the results of my inquiry are broadly as follows. We have taken extra evidence by contact, in the case of Association Football, with the Football League and the Scottish Football League—which I hope will be a comfort to the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. Hoy)—and they, like all the other bodies, do not like the tax. I should like to say that at the beginning, in case I say anything which may give a wrong impression of the attitude of the members of these bodies. They do not like this tax.
But it is interesting to note that the Football League, in a letter of 10th June, have announced to Football League clubs that they propose to raise the prices from 1s. 6d. to 1s. 9d. unless the Chancellor amends or withdraws the proposed tax increase. It therefore appears that, subject to the decision I shall shortly announce, they have already made up their minds to the inevitable. We have also taken evidence from the Rugby Union—and this is an answer to the point which was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for St. Marylebone.
1293 Here I should like to make the point that most of the arguments which have been raised in this debate have been concerned with the effect of this tax upon the clubs themselves. Very little has been said about the effect on the spectators. Of course, the spectators are not going to like paying an extra 3d., and the person who imposes that tax has to take the consequences. I realise that; but the main argument has been that the clubs are going to suffer. My evidence from the Rugby Union is that only a small proportion of the clubs represented charge more than 1s. for admission, and they are therefore in no way affected by the duty.
That is the answer to the point made by the hon. Member for Coventry, South (Miss Burton). The small clubs will not be affected by this duty to a very alarming extent. The Rugby Union has 1,400 member clubs. A circular was sent round by the Union to an unspecified number of these clubs and it brought 48 replies which, I suppose, is a small sample on which we can work. Of those, 12 were from clubs which took no gate money. Some clubs evidently find it difficult to pay their way and have to resort to voluntary subscriptions, whist drives and so forth in order to raise funds, but it would appear that the Entertainments Duty is not the only factor over the whole range of the clubs in this sphere.
The hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Hardy) has raised the question of the Rugby League. We have been in touch with the Rugby League and have had the benefit of advice from their accountants. They say that average attendances have tended to decline. I do not think that is due entirely to the taxation question. From the price structure which they showed us and which I examined—and this is a point which J should like the House to note—it would appear that if the duty is increased in the way suggested, clubs would be left better off by some £40 a match on last season's average gate. This would be about 5 per cent. of the takings at the increased prices and there is nothing to suggest that attendances would decline by a greater proportion than the gain that would be made.
I want to make the point that in fact the clubs are not going to suffer by this increased taxation. Out of a 1s. 6d. 1294 entrance fee they retain 1s. 5d. at present. Out of a 1s. 9d. fee they are going to retain 1s. 5½d. The irony of the position—which was not observed when I spoke previously—is that the effect of this increase in taxation is going to give a douceur to these clubs. Many of the arguments, especially those put by the hon. Member for Huddersfield, East (Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu), have been that clubs are going to go down seriously, but I am afraid that my inquiries, which have been of the most detailed character, do not bear out that fact. I think the House should take this argument into account when considering what will be the effect of this duty.
The right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker) referred to the Central Council for Physical Recreation. We received evidence from them on behalf of 38 governing bodies. While it is true that they, again, do not like the tax, I do not believe it will have the dire effects which the right hon. Gentleman suggests, and I certainly do not think that it will have the disastrous effect upon the younger generation which he foresees. If I thought that I should not have gone on with it. We have also had evidence from the Amateur Athletic Association. They are anxious about attendances but I do not think they have yet apprehended that the level of increase will not be more than 2d. or 3d., and I think they can manage that.
We have had evidence with regard to boxing. Here I come to the points which were made by the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner) and the hon. and gallant Member for Knutsford (Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport). They were seen by my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary and they forecast the most dire results for boxing. I cannot quite make out whether it would be more dire in relation to the dearer seats, some of which cost up to five guineas each, or in relation to the cheaper seats, where admission is some 2s. 3d. or 2s. 6d.; but in either case they foresee very dangerous results.
My difficulty is that I do not see how I can differentiate between boxing and some of the other sports to which reference has been made. I will certainly watch the position with regard to boxing, but my evidence is that the position is 1295 not so serious as that which has been put, quite sincerely, by the hon. Member for Leicester, North West and the hon. and gallant Member for Knutsford.
§ Mr. Janner
I should like to ask the Chancellor what evidence he has received to support what he is now saying. Has he taken into consideration the fact that, in addition to the amount of revenue which will be lost, assuming calculations are correct, there will be the additional rebates to be made for the purpose of taxation in relation to those who have to close down those particular commitments into which they have already entered. I should like to know what evidence the Chancellor has.
§ Mr. Butler
I have simply taken what evidence I have had, both from the interview which the hon. Gentleman himself attended and from other sources.
There is one generalisation which the House would do well to master at this stage and that is that all the troubles in which our sports find themselves do not depend solely upon taxation considerations. For example, when we were talking about cricket I indicated that some of the lack of attendance at cricket was certainly not due to the Chancellor, but due to having less bright cricket. Similarly, all the troubles in boxing, with all the difficulties of its promotion, are not entirely due to taxation. The same thing applies to the troubles of the Rugby Union, Rugby League and other sports. They are not entirely due to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
When we were discussing Purchase Tax, one would have thought that the whole question with regard to Lancashire and everything else depended on the Chancellor of the Exchequer and upon taxation. In fact, all these troubles are not solely attributable to taxation. If a trade or a sports is going up or down, it is not necessarily due to the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the day.
Now I want to consider what would be the effect of the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment. He says that any entertainment which consists of games or other sports should be charged at the lowest rates. That is presumably what we shall have to divide upon. My own view is that that would be an impossible Amendment to interpret. Does the right hon. 1296 Gentleman regard horse racing as a sport? If he is not going to bring down the tax on horse racing—and it is ill defined in the Amendment—I calculate the cost at £1½ million to the Exchequer. If he does contemplate bringing down the tax, the cost will be about £2¼ million. In either case, I am unable to accept the Amendment.
Hon. Members will say, "Why can you not put forward some alternative Amendment which tries to divide one sport from another?" We have tried to divide the sports on the following different lines, and we have failed in each case. First, live sports. Then we have to decide which are live and which are not. Surely speedway racing is pretty live—and yet it is suggested by many hon. Members that speedway racing should be taxed at a different rate from football.
Then we took ball games, for example. Are they to be divided? If so, we should have a higher taxation on swimming, boxing and athletics than on water polo, billiards and netball. I do not believe that differentiation will work. I am trying to find some logical basis for the tax. Then we tried sports which are betting and those which are non-betting, but if we do that we have to consider whether we mean off-the-course betting, as in the case of football, where there are football pools, or on-the-course betting, where the betting is susceptible to tax as a separate entity from the sport. In any scheme that we consider we find that it is almost impossible to get a logical division between the sports.
I want to say this most seriously to the House. It would have been very convenient to me and, indeed, to the Government, and would have saved a great deal of Parliamentary time, if I had made some fictitious distinction between these sports. It would have saved Parliamentary trouble if I had taxed some differently from others. But in my opinion, nobody who holds my office and expects to levy taxation on the people can do so unless he has some basis on which to stand and unless he retains the confidence of those unfortunate people who have to pay the tax.
I realise that this may be an unpopular decision, but, as I have said, I could find no method of differentiating between the sports. If I think further, before next year, and particularly if I take the advice 1297 of the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) and look thoroughly through the whole Entertainments Duty, I should not be surprised if I have an idea, but I cannot honestly find any now, either to differentiate in the case of amateurs or to find a way of differentiating between sports as such.
All I have done about cricket is this. Not only cricket but all summer sports were not, so to speak, in time to be taxed owing to the manner in which their tickets had been issued during the summer. We therefore did not impose the tax on them this summer. In my opinion it is essential to go forward with the scheme as we are now and then to consider the future of summer sports and the future of the duty as a whole at the time when we have an opportunity, next year.
Meanwhile, I am afraid that I cannot indicate to the House, in all good conscience, that I have any alternative basis upon which I can stand and upon which the tax can be levied, and I must therefore ask the House to come to a decision.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
The right hon. Gentleman's speech was most disappointing, not only because of its negative conclusion but also because of the extreme weakness of the arguments which he put forward. I must confess that I did not think that he was at his best. At the end, he said he had no more ideas at the moment. No doubt he is very tired, but that will not help the football clubs and the other organisations for whom we speak.
To say, for example, as an excuse for not doing anything, that the football clubs have already announced that they will put up their prices—in other words, they assume that the Government will retain their majority in the House—is not a serious argument. Nor, if I may say so to him, is it a serious argument to say that all the trouble with sport is not due to taxation. Nobody ever said it was. What we say is that this extra taxation will do serious damage.
In the third place, I must confess that the Chancellor's picture of himself as a bountiful Minister, helping the clubs by encouraging them to put up their prices and so be better off, did not seem to me very convincing. I think that the right hon. Gentleman is more convincing in the role of the harsh parent who has to be 1298 unpopular than in the other role of Father Christmas which he assumed a little earlier.
What are the arguments here? There is no serious financial argument. After having given away about £50 million in the course of these debates, it is impossible for the Chancellor to say he can make no further concession, not even one that costs only £1,500,000, which is what our Amendment would cost.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
The right hon. Gentleman has given a figure which should not gain currency. There is no such figure during the course of this financial year. The maximum limit of the reduction on the original Budget figure is £10 million.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
I do not wish to get into an argument about that at this stage, although I shall certainly attempt to return to it. If I remember rightly, there was £17 million in the Purchase Tax concessions and £24 million in the case of the Excess Profits Levy.
§ Mr. Butler
That bears out exactly my remarks, because the £17 million was in a full year and the £10 million applies to this year. Again, the differentiation between the increased Profits Tax and the reduced E.P.L. falls on next year.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
Let us say that £50 million has been given away for next year. If the right hon. Gentleman prefers to say that he cannot give so much away on Entertainments Duty this year but that he will give it next year I am sure that we shall be perfectly happy.
§ Mr. Butler
The figure of £50 million is a gross exaggeration and does not take into account the adjustments in the Profits Tax.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
I want to get back to the Entertainments Duty. Let us say that in a full year the concessions are only £40 million or, if the Chancellor prefers it, £30 million. It is still a vast amount, and I am bound to say that in this sphere, with all the consequences which have been expounded so ably by my right hon. and hon. Friends, there is no financial argument which we can take very seriously.
The real argument which the right hon. Gentleman brings forward is the one I might call the demarcation argument. 1299 Here, the right hon. Gentleman was less than frank with the House. In the Committee stage, when we moved an Amendment which reduced the taxation in the case not only of football and other sports but also in the case of racing, to the lowest level, he used as a powerful argument against the Amendment the fact that it was absurd to give away all this money to horse racing, to speedway and to greyhound racing. All the emphasis in his speech was on the fact that it was, no doubt, an excellent thing to help sport but not to help racing.
Now the right hon. Gentleman says that he cannot distinguish between the two. We put down this Amendment precisely because of his speech on the last occasion, and if he likes to change round and say that everything must be taken together, after all, then, of course, we shall be quite happy for him to move a manuscript Amendment bringing the tax down for all of them to the lower level; but I do not think that he is inclined to do that.
Let us look at this demarcation problem. The right hon. Gentleman says he cannot distinguish between one sport and another. What is to be the position of cricket? He told us the tax would not be imposed on cricket this year, but if there is always to be this massing of all sports together and if no distinction is to be drawn, what is to happen next year? Is this a faint hope which is offered to cricket clubs? I see that the hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Ashton) is becoming very interested in this part of the argument. Is it a faint hope which they are offered and nothing more? What position will the Chancellor be in next year? The only conclusion I reached is that he did not expect to be there next year.
Reverting to the hon. Member for Chelmsford, I must say this to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I know the hon. Gentleman is his Parliamentary Private Secretary and I think he is still a member of the M.C.C. Committee, if not its chairman—I gather he is a member. I may remind both the hon. Member and the Chancellor that the hon. Member was very good at football and hockey, too. He certainly played for Cambridge at both sports and I am not sure that he was not captain of Cambridge in both.
1300 8.30 p.m.
I am disappointed with them both. The hon. Gentleman might at least have stuck to some of his earlier loves, instead of concentrating on cricket alone. Look at the difficult position he will be in next year, if he is still there, and if the Chancellor has to withdraw the concession because he cannot draw any distinction between cricket and other sports.
Suppose we say that sports must be taken together. What reason is there for saying that cricket, football, boxing and all those other sports must pay a higher tax than theatres and music halls? That is the real point, and the Chancellor has not given us any words of defence at all. I do not see how we can hold the position and, year after year, go on insisting that amateur athletics pays a higher tax than the play in the West End, or musical comedy, or anything of that kind.
There really is no argument whatever. The Chancellor might at least have made some attempt at a defence tonight instead of putting up these very specious arguments. In the circumstances, I do not suppose that he will be surprised—he seems already to know—that we shall divide the House on this question. I express the hope that some hon. Members opposite who have spoken with great feeling and passion on this matter will have the courage of their convictions.
It may be that it will bring the Government down; that is not absolutely certain, but it would be a great triumph for sport and for all the things for which the hon. Member for St. Marylebone (Sir W. Wakefield) and other hon. Members stood. We look forward to their assistance. If that fails we shall pursue this fight and, as the hon. Member for Tynemouth (Miss Ward) said last night, the troops will go out into the country and we shall certainly tell the country what the Chancellor has done.
§ Mr. James MacColl (Widnes) rose——
§ Mr. MacColl
I only want to put two very short points to the House. The first is to express agreement with the Chancellor. I am sure that he has taken the right decision in not trying to draw an arbitrary line between amateur and professional sport. The arguments that have been put to the Committee show that it could not possibly work. It is 1301 useless to base a definition on the history of people who never at any time participated in sport for money but solely for pleasure. To apply a definition of that sort to every match would be quite a hopeless undertaking, and would cut out the great League fixtures where the professionals always play.
The other point I want to deal with is what the Chancellor said about the effect of his proposals upon the Rugby League. It seems that the Chancellor has never heard of elasticity of demand. He thinks that all we have to do is to increase the admission fee and we shall therefore be better off, because it always pays to have taxes put on. In Lancashire and Yorkshire, where Rugby League football is played, there is an acute industrial situation because of the Chancellor's financial policy, and these clubs will have a very bad time in maintaining their position even without the doubling of taxation on admission fees, as the Chancellor is doing.
I want to make a concluding point about these Rugby League clubs. Many of them are very small. With clubs like the Featherstone Rovers the whole population are concerned, and they take an active pride in the club. It is as communal and social an amenity as you could have. That applies to many of the small clubs. They cannot expand because they have already got most of the local population. The financial reason for doubling the tax on admission in this cruel way seems thoroughly short-sighted and foolish. If the Chancellor is slow in making up his mind as to what can be done to deal with the situation I suggest that he might consider leaving the whole thing untouched until the next Budget.
§ Mrs. E. M. Braddock (Liverpool, Exchange)
I do not want to hold up the Division, but following the Chancellor's statement about boxing I think there ought to be figures on record, in view of the fact that the Boxing Board of Control are firmly of the opinion that the additional 100 per cent. tax will put out of
§ commission two-thirds of the present boxing tournaments.
§ I am not referring to exhibitions by the big promoters, who only promote very occasionally and draw large amounts of money, but to the small promoters running regular boxing contests and giving a great amount of pleasure to people who are fond of boxing. I think these figures ought to be on record, so that if the Chancellor has to look at the position later he will find that accurate details have been given of the income and expenditure of a large percentage of the small promoters.
§ Halls throughout the country in the small provincial areas generally hold about 1,200. At admissions of between 3s. 6d. and 15s. 6d. the total income from those 1,200 seats is approximately £400. In the first place, the Entertainments Duty will work out at approximately £130. That means that the promoter is left with about £270. He has to expend about £200 of that on a programme that will attract the 1,200 visitors. That leaves him with £70 out of which he has to pay about £25 for the M.C. and the stewards, etc. That leaves him with £45. Then he has promotion fees, Boxing Board of Control and other fees to pay, which make it an impossible proposition to run at a profit.
§ In view of the fact that the Chancellor is asking the people of this country to work harder, it is wrong to make it possible for the small pleasures they have—is this case boxing—to be closed down; and if they are closed down quite a lot of the taxation which now accrues from boxing through the small boxing groups throughout the country will disappear. I hope, therefore, that he will keep an eye on the situation and, if he finds that they are closing down in any great numbers, further consider the matter.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 244; Noes, 266.1305
|Division No. 169.]||AYES||[8.38 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Bacon, Miss Alice||Benson, G|
|Adams, Richard||Baird, J.||Beswick, F.|
|Albu, A. H.||Balfour, A.||Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Bins, G. H. C.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Hartley, P.||Blackburn, F.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J||Blenkinsop, A.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Bence, C. R.||Blyton, W R|
|Ayles, W. H.||Benn, Wedgwood||Boardman,(H|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|Bowden, H. W.||Hughes, Emrys (S Ayrshire)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hynd, H (Accrington)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Rankin, John|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Rhodes, H.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Janner, B.||Richards, R.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Carmichael, J.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Champion, A. J.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Chapman, W. D.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Ross, William|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Royle, C.|
|Clunie, J.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Schofield, S. (Barnsley)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Coldrick, W.||Keenan, W.||Short, E. W.|
|Collick, P. H.||Kenyon, C.||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Cove, W. G.||King, Dr. H. M.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Kinley, J.||Slater, J.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Cullen, Mrs A.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Daines, P.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Snow, J. W.|
|Dalton, Rt Hon. H.||Lewis, Arthur||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Lindgren, G. S.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Deer, G.||Logan, D. G.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Delargy, H. J.||MacColl, J. E.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Dodds, N. N.||McGhee, H. G.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Donnelly, D, L.||McGovern, J.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||McInnes, J.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||McLeavy, F.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Ewart, R.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Manuel, A. C.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Finch, H. J.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Mayhew, C. P.||Tomney, F.|
|Follick, M||Mellish, R. J||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Foot, M. M.||Messer, F.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Forman, J. C.||Mitchison, G. R.||Viant, S. P.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Monslow, W.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Moody, A S||Watkins, T. E.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon H. T. N.||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Weitzman, D.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Morley, R.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Glanville, James||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mort, D. L.||West, D. G|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Moyle, A.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Mulley, F. W.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Grey, C. F.||Murray, J. D.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Nally, W.||Wigg, George|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P J||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Oldfield, W. H.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)||Oliver, G. H.||Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Orbach, M||Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)|
|Hannan, W.||Oswald, T||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Hardy, E. A.||Padley, W. E.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Hargreaves, A.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Williams, Rt. Hn. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Hastings, S.||Pannell, Charles||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Pargiter, G. A.||Williams, W T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Parker, J.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Paton, J.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Herbison, Miss M||Peart, T. F.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Holman, P.||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Wyatt, W L.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Poole, C. C.||Yates, V. F.|
|Hoy, J. H.||Popplewell, E.|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Porter, G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Pearson and Mr. Arthur Allen.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Barber, A. P. L.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Barlow, Sir John|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton)||Baxter, A B.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Aster, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe)||Beach, Maj. Hicks|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Baldwin, A. E.||Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Banks, Col C.||Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)|
|Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)||Hay, John||Osborne, C.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Heald, Sir Lionel||Partridge, E.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Heath, Edward||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Birch, Nigel||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Higgs, J. M. C.||Peyton, J. W. W|
|Black, C. W.||Hill, Dr Charles (Luton)||Pickthorn, K. W. M|
|Boothby, R. J. G||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Bowen, E. R.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Brains, B. R.||Holt, A. F.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Hope, Lord John||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hopkinson, Henry||Redmayne, M.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Horobin, I. M.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Howard, Greville (St. Ives)||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Bullard, D. G.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Hurd, A. R.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Butcher, H. W.||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Russell, R. S.|
|Butter, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Carson, Hon. E.||Jennings, R,||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Channon, H.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Scott, R. Donald|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Kaberry, D.||Shepherd, William|
|Cole, Norman||Keeling, Sir Edward||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Lambert, Hon. G.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Lambton, Viscount||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Law, Rt. Hon. R K.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H||Speir, R. M.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Lindsay, Martin||Spans, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Linstead, H. N.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Llewellyn, D. T.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Storey, S.|
|Digby, S. Withheld||Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.)||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D||Low, A. R. W.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Summers, G. S|
|Donner, P. W.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Doughty, C. J. A||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Drayson, G. B.||McAdden, S. J.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Drewe, G.||Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)||Teeling, W.|
|Dugdale, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||McKibbin, A. J.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Duthie, W. S.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Erroll, F. J.||Maclean, Fitzroy||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Fell, A.||MacLeod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Finlay, Graeme||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Tilney, John|
|Fisher, Nigel||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F||Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Foster, John||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Mannhigham-Buller, Sir R. E||Wade, D. W.|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Markham, Major S. F.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Gage, C. H.||Marples, A. E.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Maudling, R.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr S. L C||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Waterhouse, Capt Rt. Hon. C.|
|Glyn, Sir Ralph||Mellor, Sir John||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Godber, J. B.||Molson, A. H. E.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Wellwood, W.|
|Cough, C. F. H.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||White, Baker (Canterbury)|
|Gower, H. R.||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Williams, Rt. Hon Charles (Torquay)|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Nicholls, Harmar||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Gridley, Sir Arnold||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Grimond, J.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Wills, G.|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Oakshott, H. D.||York, C.|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Odey, G, W.|
|Harvey, Air Cdre A. V. (Macclesfield)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Antrim, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Mr. Vosper and|
|Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Orr, Capt. L. P. S||Mr. Richard Thompson.|
Amendments made: In page 3, line 26, leave out "this section provides," and insert:
the provisions of this section charging duty on the second scale provide.
§ In line 27, leave out "it," and insert "they."
In line 36, leave out "this section provides," and insert
the provisions of this section charging duty on the second scale provide.
§ In line 37, leave out "it," and insert"they."—[Mr. Boyd-Carpenter.]
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
I beg to move, in page 3, line 39, to leave out "thirty-first day of August," and to insert "thirteenth day of September."
This Amendment and the next Amendment are tabled to carry out the undertaking given by the Chancellor during the Committee stage that he would at this stage introduce Amendments to postpone the operative date of the increases in duty on certain games and sports. As my right hon. Friend then explained, the object was to secure that the increases did not take effect prior to the end of the current first-class cricket season.
Apart altogether from the general question of the incidence of the duty upon cricket, there was the fact that in respect of the small number of matches which take place in the early part of September arrangements had already been made for the printing of tickets, and considerable inconvenience would follow if the rate of duty was raised. My hon. Friend the Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Mr. Spearman) raised in this connection the position of the Scarborough Cricket Festival. If the House accepts this Amendment, that Festival will be protected from the effect of the rise in the duty. It will also have the more gratifying consequence of exempting from the increase the Kingston-upon-Thames Cricket Festival in the first week in September.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendments made: in page 4, line 30, leave out "thirty-first day of August," and insert:
thirteenth day of September.
In line 39, at end, insert:
(c) notwithstanding anything in the last foregoing paragraph, the repeal of the First Schedule to the Finance Act, 1951, shall not affect duty in respect of entertainments held
before the twenty-seventh day of July, nineteen hundred and fifty-two.—[Mr. Boyd-Carpenter.]