§ 17. Mr. G. Jeger
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that certain restaurants and night clubs are advertising cabaret shows of two hours' duration on which no Entertainments Duty is payable; and, in view of the anomalies which this situation creates, whether he will now extend this tax exemption to theatres and music halls.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
Cabaret shows are not, as such, exempt from Entertainments Duty, but if there is no payment for admission to an entertainment, whether at a restaurant or elsewhere, no liability to duty arises. I do not regard this as a ground for the repeal of the duty on theatres and music halls.
§ Mr. Jeger
Is the Chancellor not aware that this is really evasion of the law which at present applies to music halls and theatres? Is he aware that the two hours' cabaret entertainment, which is about the normal length of an entertainment in a music hall, is given for high charges at restaurants without the payment of Entertainments Duty? Will he not look at the question again and remove the anomaly by exempting live entertainment in music halls and theatres from tax?
§ Mr. Butler
I look at the problem more than I look at cabarets, and I find it to be a very difficult one indeed to which to give a simple answer. The point is that where there is no payment for admission to an entertainment, whether at a restaurant or elsewhere, no 181 liability to duty arises, and I see some difficulty in altering the law on that point, but I will certainly bear it in mind.
§ Mr. Robens
Would it not be the case that part of the charge for the meal must include some part of the cost of the entertainment provided?
§ Mr. Butler
That is precisely one of the facts which my officers find it most difficult to ascertain.