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Cinemas (Sunday Opening)

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 10 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many places rejected at a poll proposals for Sunday cinemas between 1932–39 and since the war; and how many of these places have since voted in favour of Sunday cinemas.

Local authorities who hold polls at which the majority votes against the Sunday opening of cinemas are under no obligation to inform my right hon. Friend of the result, and accordingly I am unable to furnish the information for which my hon. Friend asks.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the population of the areas in England and Wales allowing Sunday cinemas; and what is the population of those areas prohibiting Sunday cinemas and the percentage these totals are of the total population.

The only figure I can give my hon. Friend relates to areas in which the licensing authorities have power to allow the Sunday opening of cinemas. The population of these areas is approximately 28 million, i.e. 65.2 per cent. of the estimated population of England and Wales on 31st December, 1948.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what number of authorities in England and Wales allowed Sunday cinemas when the Sunday Entertainments Act of 1932 came into force; what number then introduced them before the war; and what number have introduced them since.

According to my right hon. Friend's information, the Sunday opening of cinemas was allowed, before the Sunday Entertainments Act, 1932, came into force, by five county councils (including London) throughout their areas, and, elsewhere, by the appropriate licensing authorities in 159 areas, comprising 10 county boroughs, 49 boroughs, 31 urban districts, 41 rural districts and 28 petty sessional divisions.Between the commencement of the Act and the outbreak of war, power to allow Sunday opening was obtained by the local authorities in 80 areas, comprising two county boroughs, 44 boroughs, 29 urban districts, and five rural districts.During the war period, temporary power to allow Sunday opening was obtained, under D.R. 42 B, by the local authorities in 288 areas, comprising 50 county boroughs, 85 boroughs, 114 urban districts, and 39 rural districts. Of these 288 local authorities, 249 (comprising the councils of 50 county boroughs, 74 boroughs, 95 urban districts and 30 rural districts) have now obtained Sunday opening orders of permanent effect. Since the outbreak of war, and, almost exclusively since the end of hostilities, 98 other local authorities (comprising the councils of 15 county boroughs, 35 boroughs, 37 urban districts and 11 rural districts) have obtained orders of permanent effect.The present position is that Sunday opening is allowable by five county councils throughout their areas and, elsewhere, in 586 areas, comprising 77 county boroughs (out of 83), 202 boroughs (out of 280), 192 urban districts (out of 554), 87 rural districts (out of 434) and 28 petty sessional divisions.