HC Deb 29 October 1919 vol 120 cc711-2W
Captain BOWYER

asked the Home Secretary whether he will reconsider the question of the prohibition of the sale of confectionery in theatres after 8 p.m.; whether he is aware that sweetmeats purchased in theatres arc entirely consumed on the premises; whether, in view of the fact that there is now no shortage of confectionery in the country, that small retailers can obtain as large a supply as they can dispose of by sale, and that the present prohibition of sale in the theatres after 8 p.m. is not protecting the retail trader but is merely preventing the consumption of sweetmeats in theatres during the evening performance, the restrictions in question can now be removed; and whether he will take steps to extend the sale of sweetmeats in the theatres up till 11 p.m.?


I have carefully considered this question, but regret that I do not see my way to amend the Early Closing Order on this point. When the Order was originally made it did not interfere with the sale of confectionery in theatres, but strong representations were subsequently received from the confectioners that an unfair advantage was being given to theatres and cinemas over the ordinary confectionery shops and that the trade of these shops was being substantially prejudiced, and it was decided after inquiry that the only course was to deal with the sale of confectionery in places of amusement on the same footing as the sale in shops. I am satisfied that if the Order were now relaxed as suggested, a similar situation would result, and that it is not practicable to differentiate in this matter between places of amusement and the ordinary retail shops.