HC Deb 09 June 1921 vol 142 cc2088-9W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the extreme depression in the theatrical world to which the Entertainment Duty has contributed; and whether he will cause inquiries on the operations of this duty to be made systematically with a view to bringing relief to the industry in the next Budget?


Representations on this subject have already been made to me by various entertainment interests and have been carefully considered.


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether a village working-class club, in which smoking concerts are held occasionally amongst the members themselves and no charge is made for visitors who may happen to be introduced on the occasion, is liable to be assessed by the Customs and Excise Department for Entertainments Duty upon one-fourth of all annual subscriptions to the club; and whether a demand for payment of arrears of Entertainments Duty on this basis on all club subscrip- tions, whether each member concerned attended a smoking concert or not, paid on or since 1st January, 1919, up to date is in accordance with the practice of the Department?


I am unable to say whether liability to duty arises in a particular case without a full knowledge of the facts. But I would explain that under Section 1 (4) of the Finance (New Duties) Act, 1916, Entertainments Duty is chargeable on such part of the subscription to any club as appears to the Commissioners of Customs and Excise to represent the right of admission to entertainments in respect of which Entertainments Duty is payable, and such entertainments include club concerts, notwithstanding that they are open only to members and their guests. The duty is not charged on a fixed proportion of the annual subscription, but varies according to the circumstances; and it is payable in respect of each subscription which confers on the member the right of admission to taxable entertainments, irrespective of whether the right is exercised or not. As regards the last part of the question, a claim for arrears arises if tax due for past years has not been paid.