HC Deb 09 November 1939 vol 353 cc424-5W
Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that serious losses are being caused to hotels and other premises all over the country by the order that no dinners, dances, concerts or other entertainments are permitted; what is the object of this order; and will he take steps to put a stop to this interference with the ordinary engagements and entertainments of the people?

Sir J. Anderson

No such order is in force, and I am glad to have this opportunity of removing the misapprehension which seems to persist in some quarters on this matter. Ordinary social gatherings have never been prohibited, and it is not the policy of the Government to discourage them. The general order for the closing of places of entertainment, which was made on the outbreak of war in view of air-raid dangers, was only in operation from the 3rd to the 8th September. From that date onwards the restrictions have been progressively relaxed, and the only restrictions now in force are those requiring places of entertainment to close at 11.0 p.m. and limiting the number of cinemas and theatres open in the evening in the central area of London.

The object of these limitations is to lessen the traffic and transport difficulties which arise if large numbers of vehicles are running till a late hour at night, and to reduce the dangers, including traffic dangers, incidental to the congregation of large numbers of persons in the Central London area under war conditions. The order applies only to premises which are used for the purpose of entertainment to which the public are admitted on payment, and does not affect hotels at all except as regards any entertainment for which a separate entrance payment is made.