HC Deb 05 July 1978 vol 953 cc613-6

Brought up, and read the First time.

"(1) If a person carrying on a trade has since the passing of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 incurred expenditure in respect of a sports stadium used for the purposes of the trade, then, if—

  1. (a) at the time when the expenditure was incurred the stadium was of the description specified in subsection (1) of section 1 of that Act but no designation order under that section had come into operation in respect of the stadium; and
  2. (b) the expenditure was incurred in taking steps which the local authority for the area in which the stadium is situated certify would have fallen within subsection (1)(a) or (b) of section 49 of the Finance (No. 2) Act 1975 (relief for safety expenditure at a designated sports stadium) if such an order had then been in operation and a safety certificate had then been issued or applied for.
subsection (1) of the said section 49 shall have effect in relation to the expenditure mentioned in that subsection.

(2) All such adjustments shall be made by discharge or repayment of tax as may be required for giving effect to the relief available under this section for expenditure incurred before the passing of this Act.

(3) Any disclaimer or claim under section 41 (3) of the Finance Act 1971 in respect of the relief available under this section for expenditure incurred before the passing of this Act, and any claim for relief (or additional relief) under any other provision of the Tax Acts which is made in consequence of the relief available under this section for such expenditure, shall not be out of time if made within twelve months after the passing of this Act.

(4) Any provision of regulations made under section 6(1)(b) of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 (power of local authorities to charge fees) shall, with the necessary modifications, apply to the issue of a certificate for the purposes of this section as it applies to the issue of a safety certificate.

(5) In this section "sports stadium", "safety certificate" and "local authority" have the same meaning as in the said Act of 1975.

(6) The Tax Acts shall have effect as if this section were contained in Chapter I of Part III of the Finance Act 1971.".—[Mr. Denzil Davies.]

Brought up and read the First time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine)

I understand that the new clause, as printed, requires a slight amendment.

Mr. Denzil Davies

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

As you have indicated, Mr. Deputy Speaker, there is a misprint on the Amendment Paper as a result of which a few words have been left out.

The omission follows the word "expenditure", five words from the end of subsection (1). The words which have been omitted are as it has effect in relation to expenditure". I hope that that can be put right without the need for a manuscript amendment.

The clause arises as a result of a new clause moved in Committee by my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, East (Mr. Dunnett), who pressed upon the Government the need to extend the relief given for expenditure incurred in connection with safety certificates at sports grounds. My hon. Friend referred especially to the problems at football grounds, but this covers all sports. It was due to my hon. Friend's persistence and the cogent arguments that he put forward in Committee that I was able to accept his suggested new clause in principle, subject to certain drafting deficiencies which had to be put right. The clause meets that commitment and the substance of the points made by my hon. Friend, and I am happy to move it in pursuance of that commitment.

Mr. Jack Dunnett (Nottingham, East)

I thank my right hon. Friend for so completely implementing his undertaking to me in Committee. All football clubs and many other athletic clubs will be extremely grateful for this considerable concession.

Mr. Graham Page

I join the hon. Member for Nottingham, East (Mr. Dunnett) in welcoming the clause, and I congratulate the hon. Member on his persistence.

The clause will be of great value in my area to football clubs and, as the Minister said in Committee, not only to football clubs. Rugby Union, Rugby League and all other sports clubs which have large stadia will welcome it.

Mr. Peter Rees

I add my congratulations to the hon. Member for Nottingham, East (Mr. Dunnett), to whose perception we owe this new clause.

I do not wish to add a jarring note, but the fact that the Minister had to suggest a manuscript amendment makes it appropriate to comment on the rather unseemly haste with which we are being asked to consider these new clauses. I know that they are relieving new clauses, but it is always necessary to scrutinise the scope of them from the Opposition Benches.

I see that the capital allowances are to be offered to persons carrying on a trade. There may be situations—they certainly do not occur in my constituency, but they might in others—where a sports ground has been leased to a sports club. Would the lessor, if he introduced the safety precautions, be entitled to capital allowances? I know that if one leases plant and machinery one is entitled to them, but perhaps this is a new extension of the allowances, and it would be interesting to have the assurance of the Minister of State that that kind of case, exceptional though it may be, is covered by the new clause.

Subject to that, I am sure that on behalf of sportsmen throughout our constituencies, we are able to give the clause a warm welcome.

Mr. Denzil Davies

I cannot give the hon. and learned Member the assurance that he seeks because I do not know. I shall certainly find out. It is not our intention to deny this relief to anybody. If, in fact, on the strict interpretation of the clause such relief is being denied, no doubt we can look at it and perhaps deal with it through an extra-statutory concession or by Inland Revenue Practice.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

Further consideration adjourned.—[Mr. Frank R. White.]

Bill, as amended in the Committee and in the Standing Committee, to be further considered tomorrow.