§ 10. Mr. Swingler
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer his latest estimate, taking into account reduced attendances at cinemas, of the cost in a full year of the recent reduction in entertainments tax on cinemas and of the total abolition of the tax, respectively.
§ Mr. Powell
It is not the practice to give estimates of the out-turn of taxes before the end of the financial year.
§ Mr. Swingler
Will the hon. Gentleman look into this question to see what is happening? Is he aware that already in the first six months of this financial year another 100 cinemas have been closed and that the reduction in Entertainments Duty on cinemas has done nothing to arrest that decline? Will he, therefore, consider very seriously the abolition of that tax in the near future?
§ 12. Mr. Rankin
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been collected from Entertainments Duty on cinema admissions for this year to the nearest convenient date; and what was the amount for last year over the same period.
§ Mr. Powell
£26.7 million and £32.1 million in the eleven months ended 30th November in 1957 and 1956 respectively.
§ Mr. Rankin
If I have followed them correctly, I take it that the figures given represent a fall for this year up to date. Is the Financial Secretary aware that at the same time the admissions to cinemas up to date represent a figure so low that it has not been equalled in the last 584 20 years? Does he realise that the policy that is being pursued in connection with the cinema industry will rapidly drive the exhibitor out of business and also affect production and make us still more dependent on American film production? Is that what the hon. Gentleman wants to achieve? If not, will he say what he proposes to do about it?