§ 37. Mr. BAKER
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that a number of theatres and other places of amusement which, prior to the reduction of the Entertainments Duty were charging 1s. and 1s. 6d., inclusive of duty, have not made a reduction in price equivalent to the duty reduction; and whether he will take whatever steps are called for in the matter?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Snowden)
A few alleged instances of the kind referred to by my hon. Friend have been brought to my notice, but, as the Financial Secretary to the Treasury informed him on the 7th May, before making my Budget proposals I obtained an undertaking from a representative deputation of the entertainments trade that if the Entertainments Duty were reduced the public would get the benefit, and I have no reason to think that that undertaking will not be generally fulfilled.
§ Sir K. WOOD
Has the right hon. Gentleman inquired into the case which I brought to his notice in connection with Lord's cricket ground on Saturday last, and other cases? The right hon. Gentleman used the word "alleged"; is he aware himself that these are cases where the reduction in the duty is going into the pockets of the proprietors of amusements?
§ Mr. MILLS
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the Dartford division of Kent, instead of reducing paces in conformity with the reduction of duty, the managements are revising the number of cheaper seats, and including them with what were formerly the higher-priced seats, which is an outrage and a violation of the principle?
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
I can hardly be expected to know what is taking place in the Dartford division, but I have hail a number of instances brought to my notice where it is alleged that the reduction of duty is not passed on—to the consumer, shall I say? I am making inquiries into the matter, and I can assure the House that if, upon the information I get—which, of course. I will substantiate—I come to the conclusion that action is necessary. I shall not hesitate.
§ Mr. COMPTON
Will the right hon. Gentleman issue a list of the houses in default in order that the public may boycott them?
Sir F. HALL
Are we to understand, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer 2308 says he will take action, that the Government are to decide what prices a manager is to charge for seats?
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Surely at the present stage the House might give me a little time to make inquiries into this matter. The reduction of duty only took place a fortnight ago, and I. cannot be expected to assume that all allegations brought to my notice are accurate without inquiry. As I stated, if I see ground for taking action, I shall take what action I think is possible. I do not think it fair for hon. or right hon. Gentlemen opposite, or any Member of the House, to ask me at this stage what action I shall take.