HC Deb 19 February 1953 vol 511 cc1419-21
3. Mr. Short

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the fact that the small concession and alteration in incidence of Entertainments Duty granted last year actually resulted in a gain to the Treasury, if he will give favourable consideration to a reduction in this tax, especially on the lower-priced seats.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I cannot accept the statement in the first part of the Question; and so far as the second part is concerned, I cannot anticipate my right hon. Friend's Budget proposals.

Mr. Short

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that unless some help is given to the cinemas a great many small cinemas will have to go out of business? Will he not give an undertaking at least to ask his right hon. Friend to consider the position of the cinemas?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

My right hon. Friend will, of course, consider the position of the cinemas, about which I saw a deputation of the exhibitors as recently as yesterday. I do not think his consideration is helped by the introduction of a false premise such as that in the first part of the Question.

Mr. Short

On a point of order. The hon. Gentleman talks about a false premise. I shall be very glad to give him the facts on which that premise is based.

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of order.

20. Mr. Swingler

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent revenue from Entertainments Duty on cinematograph performances is falling, owing to decreasing attendances at cinemas.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Revenue from Entertainments Duty on admissions to cinemas has declined by about 5 per cent. in recent months, owing to several factors, including both decreasing attendances and the reduction in the rate of duty provided for in the Finance Act. 1952.

Mr. Swingler

In view of that position, and in view of the considerable crisis looming in the film industry owing to uncertainty about the future of the Eady scheme and of declining attendances at the cinemas, would the hon. Gentleman make a break with tradition and anticipate the Budget statement?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

No, Sir.

Mrs. Castle

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that cinema attendances in the Lancashire area have been falling drastically as a result of reduced earnings by cotton workers and the rising cost of living? Will he give sympathetic consideration to the request of the cinemas for a reduction in Entertainments Duty?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

As I said in my original answer, it would be quite unrealistic to explain the fall in attendances by any one single factor. There are a number, possibly including those mentioned by the hon. Lady, and television and so on.