HC Deb 18 March 1958 vol 584 cc1066-7
8. Mr. Janner

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many cinematograph theatres are now unemployed as such or completely closed; and what proportion of the total this represents.

Sir D. Eccles

The information is not available in the form requested. After allowing for new and re-opened cinemas, the net number closed during the year 1957 was 175. The number of cinemas now open is 4,085.

Mr. Janner

Is the President of the Board of Trade aware that there is a serious danger that a large number of cinemas will close in the near future and that the industry is being seriously affected by the heavy tax imposed on it? Will he advise the Chancellor of the Exchequer to see that removal of the tax takes place when the Budget is presented?

Sir D. Eccles

I am aware of that situation, but that question ought to be put to the Chancellor.

Mr. Tiley

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the concern about this matter on both sides of the House and in the country and that small cinemas can no longer carry this crushing burden in their struggle for existence?

Sir D. Eccles

I agree that cinemas are having a difficult time.

Mr. Jay

Is there anything to prevent the President announcing the Government's proposed tax concessions in advance of the Budget this year?

18. Mrs. Slater

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many cinemas have closed in North Staffordshire since 31st December, 1956.

Sir D. Eccles

Three, Sir.

Mrs. Slater

Is the Minister aware that, in addition to those he mentioned, others are about to close, and that this is an indication of what is happening generally? In view of the difficulties of the small cinemas, will he not ask his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give sympathetic consideration to the total abolition of Entertainments Duty?

Sir D. Eccles

My right hon. Friend may have heard what the hon. Lady has said.