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Clause 9—Entertainments Duty Declared To Be Chargeable On Certain Payments)

Volume 155: debated on Tuesday 20 June 1922

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For removing doubts it is hereby declared that Entertainments Duty within the meaning of Section one of the Finance (New Duties) Act, 1916, is by virtue of that Act chargeable on the following payments, that is to say:

  • (a) payments for admission to an entertainment made to a person other than the proprietor of the entertainment; and
  • (b) payments of rent made in respect of an interest in any premises which is primarily acquired for the purpose of securing admission to an entertainment;
  • and accordingly in that Section the expressions "the proprietor of the entertainment" and "the proprietor" shall include and be deemed always to have included any person on whose behalf payments for admission to an entertainment are received.

    Perhaps it will be, convenient if I mention that this is a declaratory Clause for removing doubts and does not raise the whole question of the Entertainments Duty. That comes up when the new Clauses are dealt with. The hon. Member (Mr. Newbould), I think, understands that, but I thought it advisable to intimate it to the Committee.

    I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to add the words

    "Provided, however, that the Entertainments Duty within the meaning of Section one of the Finance (New Duties) Act, 1916, as amended by this Clause, shall not be deemed to extend, and shall not apply in the case of any exhibition of a cinemato- graph film or films generally described as a 'trade show' where such exhibition is mainly or primarily attended by persons to view such film or films for the purpose of trade."
    The Clause has for its purpose the removal of doubts. I am not quite sure what doubts it purports to remove, but it raises in my mind one fresh doubt, and it is in order to get that removed that I have put down the Amendment. In the cinema trade it is customary to hold trade shows. It is done in this way. The proprietor of a cinema theatre lets it to the owner of a film in order that it may be shown to the trade. It is done mainly for the purposes of trade. It is quite true that these exhibitions are not necessarily confined strictly to people engaged in the trade. The actors and actresses who have played in a. film and their friends may attend a trade show. Various people on the fringe of the industry but not directly associated with it may attend those trade shows. But the real purpose of the show is for the trade purpose of exploiting the particular film or films shown, and all my Amendment is intended to ascertain is that paragraph (b) is not intended to apply to these trade shows. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer accepts my Amendment he loses nothing at all and merely clears away a doubt which this Clause certainly raises—a Clause which has for its purpose the removal of doubts. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will either accept the Amendment or assure me that the Clause will not have the effect which I fear it may have.

    I think I can give the hon. Member the assurance he desires. If there be any doubt at all, and it is thought necessary to put in the words he asks, or something like them, I shall be very glad to do so on the Report stage, but my present state of mind is that no such qualification is required, for the kind of show he has described is entirely outside the purview of the Clause and could not in any circumstances be brought within it. The kind of circumstances in which these shows are held do not create the first requisite which makes the duty apply, namely, that of attendance at an entertainment, because in point of fact they are not attending an entertainment in the ordinary sense of the term, but attending a show for the purposes of the trade. In the next place, there is no charge for admission at such trade shows, and accordingly the very thing upon which the Entertainments Duty is levied, namely, the charge for admission, does not exist. Accordingly, as it appears to me at present, and as I am advised also, there is no necessity at all for the words the hon. Member proposes.

    I readily accept the right hon. Gentleman's assurance, but I would point out that paragraph (b), as drafted, says:

    "Payments of rent made in respect of an interest in any premises which is primarily acquired for the purpose of securing admission to an entertainment."
    The exhibitor pays rent for the purpose of securing admission to a trade show. Whether you can call a trade show an entertainment or not is in doubt, but seing that these trade shows take place at West End cinemas or theatres and they have 2,000 people in, there is a doubt in my mind. I shall be satisfied if the right hon. Gentleman will look into it, and if the doubt exists make the necessary Amendment. I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.