§ Amendments reported (according to Order).
§ Clause 1:
§ Provisions as to cinematograph entertainments.
§ (5) This section extends to every area in which places licensed by the authority having power in that area to grant licences under the Cinematograph Act, 1909, were, within the period of twelve months ending on the sixth day of October, nineteen hundred and thirty-one, opened and used on Sundays for the purpose of cinematograph entertainments, in pursuance of arrangements (not being arrangements relating only to specific occasions) purported to have been made with the authority, and shall also extend to any borough or county district to which it may be extended by an order laid before Parliament in accordance with the provisions of the Schedule to this Act, and approved by a Resolution passed by each House of Parliament.
LORD RHAYADER had given Notice to move to insert the following new subsection:
(6) This section shall also extend to every county area in which places licensed by the authority having power in that area to grant licences under the Cinematograph Act, 1909, were within the period of twelve months aforesaid opened and used on Sundays for the purposes aforesaid for occasional performances conditional upon the profits being applied to charitable purposes provided that no licences for such occasional performances shall be granted in excess of twenty-four in any one year.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, the Amendment which I put on the paper I do not propose to move, though it was designed to meet a point raised in Committee on the Bill. Further consideration made it appear that perhaps it opened the door more widely than is desired. I therefore propose to move it in an amended form. I propose to leave out of subsection (5) the words "(not being arrangements relating only to specific occasions)" and to insert at the end of the subsection:
Provided that, if in any area the arrangements in pursuance of which places were so opened and used as aforesaid related only to specific occasional entertainments, then, unless and until it is extended to that area by such an order as aforesaid, this section shall extend to that area subject to the modification that the powers thereby conferred shall not be exercised with respect to more than two Sundays in any year.
The Amendment in its new form will enable the Middlesex County Council and other county councils who have been issuing occasional licences for Sunday performances to continue that practice. There seems to be no real reason to deprive them of a power which they have exercised discreetly in the past and I put this Amendment down in the hope that it would be more acceptable to the Government and that they would be willing to agree with it in another place. It does not extend the powers of the councils, but merely enables them to continue doing what they have been in the habit of doing. Unless this Amendment or something like it is in the Bill the County Councils of Middlesex and the West Riding and others will be deprived of powers they have exercised in the past. I beg to move.
Clause 1, page 4, line 2, leave out from ("arrangements") to ("purported") in line 3 and at the end of line 8 insert the said proviso.—(Lord Rhayader.)
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, as the noble Lord says, the Government are able to meet the difficulty which was brought forward on the Committee stage by accepting this manuscript Amendment which does not go so far as the original one, but which, I think, goes far enough to remove the grievance to which attention was called. As your Lordships appreciate, the point is that in certain areas there had been a practice of granting a special licence for a particular Sun- 740 day without there being any general Sunday opening, and it is desired to preserve that power because otherwise the effect of the Bill would be that any area in which there had been such an occasional licence would have to go without the privilege or else use the machinery in the Bill to obtain leave to open on every Sunday. It is to avoid that difficulty that the Amendment is brought forward. The power conferred is limited to two Sundays in the year so that I do not think it is capable of abuse, and it does help such a case as that of Birmingham, where there is the Cinema Hospital Sunday, without altering the whole of their procedure. I hope your Lordships' House will think we have met the difficulty fairly. I understand that our concession meets the approval of Middlesex and the West Riding Councils, and I believe of the other areas which are concerned, and I would respectfully commend it to your Lordships' acceptance.
LORD FAIRFAX OF CAMERON
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble and learned Viscount for having met us in such a gracious way. We are most grateful to him. I should like to have had three times, but still twice in the year is very satisfactory. We appreciate how much this means in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where 30 per cent. of these takings go to the hospitals and 20 per cent. go to the poor children's outings, in these difficult times, and we thank the noble Viscount.
§ VISCOUNT ULLSWATER
My Lords, speaking on behalf of one of the charities assisted by these occasional licences for cinematograph performances I desire to thank the Government, and the noble and learned Viscount, for the concession which has been made. I felt on the last occasion when this matter was before the House that it resulted very unfairly to the charities that had been in the habit of obtaining benefit from these occasional performances, and although I quite realised the strong arguments put forward by the noble and learned Viscount, in opposition to the Amendment then moved, I felt that it left the charities in some considerable difficulty, and I am glad to think that this Amendment will relieve them of that. Therefore I beg to thank the noble Viscount.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.741
§ Then (Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended) Bill read 3a, with the Amendments, and passed, and returned to the Commons.