HC Deb 28 January 1958 vol 581 cc189-90
25. Mr. Swingler

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent actual receipts from entertainments tax on cinemas in the first three quarters of the current financial year were greater or less than his estimates.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Derick Heathcoat Amory)

It is not the practice to split up into shorter periods Budget estimates given for a complete financial year.

Mr. Swingler

Has not the new Chancellor been informed that there has been a very sharp fall in cinema attendances, which, with the closure of cinemas, must mean a fall in the revenue from this tax? As it will become clear to himself and his advisers very shortly that the yield from this duty shows diminishing returns, will he consider whether or not the rate is much too high?

Mr. Amory

In reply to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, I would say that I think we must wait and see how the remainder of the year works out. It is not quite as simple a matter as a fall in attendances because, as the hon. Gentleman knows, the prices of seats have gone up during the year. As regards the second part, I shall, of course, take this, with all other taxation matters, into consideration between now and the Budget.

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:


To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give an estimate of the average annual receipts in entertainments tax over the previous five years from the 352 cinemas which have closed since the beginning of the financial year 1956–57.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Swingler.

Mr. Swingler

On a point of order. Mr. Speaker. Perhaps I may correct the figure in the Question. It should show that 353 cinemas have closed down, because I overlooked the Scala cinema, in Dawlish, in the constituency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. Amory

I regret that this information is not available.

Mr. Swingler

Is the Chancellor aware, as no doubt he may be, that there are not now any cinemas in his own constituency paying the duty, because they have either closed down or are exempt under the rural scheme? Would he consider spreading this benefit to the rest of the country?

Mr. Amory

I am not quite sure that the facts as indicated by the hon. Gentleman are correct.