HC Deb 06 March 1958 vol 583 cc1313-4
6. Mr. Swingler

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the loss of tax revenue in the current year due to falling cinema attendances.

Mr. Simon

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given him by my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) on 19th December, 1957.

Mr. Swingler

Will the Financial Secretary now agree that it is clear, if the present rate of tax is maintained, that there will be diminishing returns and that this illustrates the serious situation in the cinema trade? Has he made his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer fully aware of that?

Mr. Simson

I received a deputation yesterday from the industry, and I have passed on the representations that they made to my right hon. Friend.

8. Mr. Swingler

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in view of the position in the film industry as a result of the sharp decline in cinema attendances, he will undertake personally to meet representatives of the industry before making any decision about changes in entertainments tax in his forthcoming Budget.

Mr. Simon

I have really already answered this Question. On behalf of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, I had the pleasure of receiving yesterday a deputation from the industry, and have given to my right hon. Friend a full account of their representations.

Mr. Swingler

In thanking the Financial Secretary for that reply and for what he has done, may I ask whether the Chancellor will reconsider his decision not to receive this deputation, in view of the very serious decline in the cinema trade and the possibly grave repurcussions on film production which will result from it? Will not the Chancellor dive personal attention to the representatives of the all-industry tax committee, which is very perturbed about it?

Mr. Simon

My right hon. Friend has, of course, given personal attention to this problem, and will continue to do so. If I may say so, I think that the deputation yesterday understood very well the pressure on my right hon. Friend's time at present.

Mr. G. Jeger

Would the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that this Question requires very urgent consideration and that a victory for cinemas would be acclaimed on all sides?

Mr. Simon

I rather think that the implications of that question are meant to anticipate the Budget statement.