§ 28. Mr. Rankin
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the Grand Central Cinema in Main Street, Rutherglen, which has a seating capacity of approximately 1,000, closed down at the end of December, 1957 whether he is also aware that this cinema in the last six years paid in entertainment tax almost £20,000; and, in view of this and other instances of which he has been informed by the hon. Member for Govan, what steps he proposes to take to prevent more cinemas from closing.
I am aware that this cinema has closed and I will bear in 967 mind what the hon. Member has said, but I cannot anticipate my Budget statement.
§ Mr. Rankin
Without asking the right hon. Gentleman to anticipate his Budget statement, may I ask him what he thinks should be done to stop the situation continuing to deteriorate?
No—if I did that I might conceivably anticipate my Budget statement. That is the difficulty. I should like to assure the hon. Member that I shall get just as tired of using those words in the next two months as he will be of hearing them.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I appreciate that the Chancellor cannot anticipate his Budget statement, but will he undertake to consider the problem of the cinemas, which are subject to all sorts of difficulties? They are the only form of entertainment outstanding to which Entertainments Duty applies. Will the right hon. Gentleman give the matter special consideration, in view of the real troubles that these folk are going through?
Yes, I can give the right hon. Gentleman the assurance that I will consider the present impact of Entertainments Duty, together with all other taxes, during the course of the review that I shall be making.
§ Commander Donaldson
While associating myself with the general point of the questions which have been asked, may I ask my right hon. Friend to keep in mind the more particular difficulties of cinemas in small boroughs, which provide entertainment for the countryside, especially in agricultural areas, where there is a great necessity for some reduction in taxation?
Yes. That is a fair point, and I can give my hon. Friend an assurance that I will keep it in mind.
§ 34. Mr. Rankin
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the cinema industry about the fact that the Regal Cinema in Ayr, the Standard Cinema in Partick, Glasgow, the Gaumont Cinema, King's Park, Glasgow, the Majestic, Govanhill, Glasgow, the Paragon in Gorbals, the B.B. Cinema, Coatbridge, the Rio, Craigneuk, Picture House, Dunoon, Astoria, Paisley, the Plaza, Wishaw, Afton, Connol Park, and the Waverley, Wishaw, 968 have all closed down during 1956–57 as a result of the incidence of Entertainments Duty; and what reply he has made.
§ Mr. Rankin
Is not the Chancellor aware that during the last two days his Department received representations from the All Industry Tax Committee and that some representations were contained in a letter from myself? Is he further aware that the closing of these cinemas in Scotland represents a serious depreciation in the amount which he will now collect from the statutory levy and therefore, as a result, what is given to the producers of British films will also be considerably diminished? Is he aware that the present policy will lead to the destruction of the cinema industry, and does he not now realise that this can be stopped only by the total abolition of the Entertainments Duty?
I take note of what the hon. Gentleman has said. I remember the reference in his letter to me on these matters, but the Question he asked was whether we have received representations about these particular cinemas from the trade. If we have had such representations in the last day or two, I will certainly look into the matter.