New Clause. — (Relief from Entertainments Duty.)

Orders of the Day — Finance Bill. – in the House of Commons at on 2 July 1923.

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(1) Entertainments Duty within the meaning of Section one of the Finance (New Duties) Act, 1916, as amended by any subsequent enactment, shall not be charged on payments for admission to an entertainment as respects which it is proved to the satisfaction of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise—

  1. (a) that the entertainment is provided by a society which is not established or conducted for profit; and
  2. (b) that the society by which the entertainment is provided is a society established solely or partly, either—
    1. (i) for the purpose of promoting the interest of any industry; or
    2. (ii) for the purpose of promoting graphic art, sculpture, or arts craftsmanship; or
    3. (c) that the entertainment consists solely—
    1. (i) in the case of a society of the description mentioned in paragraph (b) (i) of this Sub-section, of an exhibition of the products of the industry for promoting the interest of which the society exists, or of materials, machinery, appliances, or foodstuffs used in the production of those products, or displays of skill by workers in the industry in work pertaining to the industry; or
    2. (ii) in the case of a society of the description mentioned in paragraph (b) (ii) of this Sub-section, of an exhibition of works of graphic art, sculpture, and arts craftsmanship, or of one or more of such classes of works, executed and exhibited by persons who practice graphic art, sculpture, or arts craftsmanship for profit and as their main occupation, or of displays of skill by such persons in such arts or crafts; or
    3. (iii) in the case of a society of the description mentioned in paragraph (b) (iii) of this Sub-section, of an exhibition of articles or displays of skill which are of material interest in connection with questions relating to the public health;

or consists solely of such exhibitions or displays of skill together with a performance of music by a band.

(2) In this Section— The expression "sooiety" includes a company, institution, or other association of persons by whatever name called;The expression "industry" includes a branch of an industry and includes agriculture;The expression "agriculture" includes horticulture and live stock breeding:The expression "live stock" includes animals of any description.—[Sir W. Joynson-Hicks.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

When this Measure was last before the Committee I had the privilege, on behalf of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, of announcing certain concessions on the Financial Clauses. I am glad to have the opportunity now of moving the necessary new Clauses to give effect to the concessions which were then announced. The new Clause, the Second Reading of which I am now moving, deals with the Entertainments Duty, and this arose in consequence of an Amendment put forward by some of my hon. Friends, including the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman), to the effect that agricultural shows where they have a band should be exempted from the duty. I accepted that Amendment, but after going more closely into the matter I find that there is no reason why we should not exempt other things. We could not very well allow this concession in the case of a band at an agricultural show and not allow it in the case of a public health exhibition or an industrial exhibition. I have now drafted the new. Clause wide enough to allow bands at all those exhibitions. We have also gone a little further in the direction of exempting certain other institutions from these irritating restrictions and we have kept them out of the purview of the Entertainments Duty. I do not think that the loss to the Exchequer will be very great, and the concession will be most useful to those people who want to organise these various entertainments. The original Clause did not include entertainments held in connection with the mining and the fishing industry, but these are exempted under this new Clause.

The original Clause was held to apply to picture exhibitions, but not to wood carving or enamelling, but I want to sweep all these restrictions away. There was another part of the Clause which provided that the exhibition organised by a society should be solely far the purpose of looking after a particular industry. The result of that was that if a horticultural show was held in a village and was run by the local horticultural society it was free of the Entertainments Duty, but if the same show were run by a women's institute in the village, it was not free of the duty. I have swept that away. It was also curiously held in regard to industrial shows that the products of the industry could be exhibited but not the skill of the operator. The most astonishing thing in connection with that was that, although you might exhibit milk, for instance, you could not have an exhibition of milking at an agricultural show. That we have swept away also. Lastly, there was the point raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford with regard to driving and riding competitions at agricultural shows. These will also be swept out of the purview of the Entertainments Duty, provided they are in connection with the improvement of the breed of horses. If the riding and driving competitions are competitions of horses and not of drivers or riders then they will be free from the duty, but if, on the other hand, they are in the nature of a circus, where two or three men, one after another, exhibit the same horse jumping, to show the skill of the men, that would be an entertainment and it would have nothing to do really with improving the breed of horses. I am trying to deal with all these matters in one Clause. The whole of these anomalies will be cleared away, and I hope it will make things a good deal easier, not merely for industrial, but also for agricultural shows throughout the country.

Photo of Mr Thomas Griffiths Mr Thomas Griffiths , Pontypool

I would like to ask as to musical entertainments in schools and at festivals. Will they be brought under these exemptions? If you have a performance given by school children, I think the possession of a certificate of the Board of Education should free it from the duty. Then, again, with regard to musical festivals; people in different districts in Wales are trained perhaps for 12 months and at the end of the time have a musical festival. It is a labour of love; indeed, they incur considerable personal expense, and—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speak up!"]—I think they should be exempted. [HON. MEMBERS: "We cannot hear you!"] You keep quiet, I am speaking loudly enough. What I am trying to point out is that in these cases the schoolmaster may give his spare time for 12 months to training the children, and they ought to be allowed to have their entertainment at the end of that period free of the duty. Surely this class of entertainment is entitled to be exempted.

Photo of Colonel Charles Burn Colonel Charles Burn , Torquay

Has the right hon. Gentleman considered the case I sent to him of a school treat at which there is an inclusive charge for tea? I wrote him a letter a few days ago, giving him details, and I got a very charming reply, saying that the matter would be very carefully considered. This is a really genuine case for exemption. A school treat is not a money-making business. The sole object is to give pleasure to the children and their relatives, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will decide in favour of exemption in these cases.

Photo of Mr Ernest Evans Mr Ernest Evans , Cardiganshire

I wish to call attention to the case of musical festivals arranged by schools. I want to draw particular attention to an institution which has been formed in Wales and which for some years has been doing a very great educational service to the country. I refer to the National School of Music which is associated with the University of Wales and is directed by Dr. Walford Davies. It is of great educational value. It sends lecturers throughout the country. What usually happens is that, in the afternoon, the lecturer, who is sent out by the University, will deliver a lecture illustrated by either vocal or instrumental music. Then in the evening there is a public performance. As far as the lecture is concerned, no charge is made for admission, but at the evening performance there is a small charge. There is, however, no idea of making a profit in the matter from beginning to end. The school I am referring to was started by people interested in music for the purpose of educating the Welsh people, who are supposed to have a certain aptitude for music. The whole purpose of the school is educational. We have been trying to get its entertainments exempted from the duty, so far without success, and the ground on which we have been refused is that they are entertainments, pure and simple. It seems rather extraordinary to lay it down that, because a thing is enjoyable, therefore it cannot be educational. We have heard of boys in schools enjoying their education, and surely, to lay it down that a thing which is enjoyable is not educational, is an extraordinary position for a great country like this to take up. A very great injustice is being done to this school, which owes its existence to the munificence of Members of this House and others interested in music, and it is not right it should be penalised by having to pay the duty on its performances, which are entirely educational.

Photo of Mr Edmund Turton Mr Edmund Turton , Thirsk and Malton

I thank my right hon. Friend for having so loyally carried out his pledges to the Committee, and I can assure him his concession will give very great relief to the smaller agricultural societies. I am particularly glad for the concession he has made in regard to exhibitions of milking and horse shoeing. I had brought to my notice only last year the very hard case of a small agricultural show which, because of the Entertainments Duty, could not afford to engage a band, but which, because it had an exhibition of shoeing horses by three or four shoeing-smiths was swooped down upon by the Government and made to pay the duty. I am very glad that my right hon. Friend has met what was a real grievance, and I beg to thank him most heartily.

4.0 P.M.

Photo of Mr Oswald Mosley Mr Oswald Mosley , Harrow

I only rise to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether this Clause covers an Amendment which I have on the Paper in relation to school sports?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

No, the hon. Member can move that Amendment later.

Photo of Mr Alfred Hill Mr Alfred Hill , Leicester West

I wish to ask a question relating to flower shows. The Corporation of the City of Leicester for many years have been responsible for holding a flower show, the profits from which have been devoted to the provision of public music in the parks. We are rather anxious to know exactly where we stand with regard to those shows. We have also held swimming sports. There are no profits made. Every halfpenny made out of these flower shows and swimming sports goes towards the provision of music in the parks, and I may say that the rates have been saved many thousands of pounds as the result.

Photo of Sir John Butcher Sir John Butcher , City of York

I desire to associate myself entirely with what has fallen from my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk (Mr. Turton) in thanking the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Financial Secretary for the concession which they have made with regard to agricultural shows. I doubt not that it will be appreciated all over the country, and I am quite sure that there is no place where the concession will be appreciated more than in Yorkshire itself. There is one not wholly unimportant point in this Clause relating to relief from the Entertainments Duty, to which I should like to call attention. By the Clause as it stands, if a society which is not run for profit holds an art exhibition, where the exhibitors are entirely professional, then it is exempt from the Entertainments Duty, but if any of those art exhibits be produced by amateurs, then the exhibition is subject to the duty. I venture to think that is a defect in the Clause as it stands which requires amendment. These art exhibitions are not only exempted from the duty in the interests of the exhibitors, but also in the interests of the public at large. The art exhibitions have a great educational value, particularly in the provincial towns, and cause a great deal of interest from a purely educational point of view among the citizens in the places in which they take place. Therefore, it appears to me most important to encourage these art exhibitions by societies not formed for profit in every possible way, and I am going to ask my right hon. Friend to extend the exemption which is now granted to exhibitions where the exhibitors are entirely professional to exhibitions where there are some amateurs as well.

I may tell my right hon. Friend that I have already come across a case in which this has been of considerable importance. There was an art exhibition in the City of York this year. There were a considerable number of exhibits by professional men and there were also a few by amateurs. On writing to the Customs Department, or whatever was the proper office, the Secretary was told that they could not have exemption, because there were amateurs exhibiting at the exhibition. I appeal to my right hon. Friend that he might make this concession. I do not think that it would cost him much—I should think it would cost an infinitesimal amount—and by doing so he would give great satisfaction to many persons in the places where these exhibits are held. I, therefore, hope that he will give me a favourable answer. I have an Amendment down on the Paper to this effect, but, if the Clause were carried in its present form, I should be unable to move it. Therefore, I propose, after the Clause has been read a Second time, to move to omit paragraph (ii) of Sub-section (1) in order to carry out my object.

Photo of Colonel Herbert Woodcock Colonel Herbert Woodcock , Thornbury

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether we may understand that the words of paragraph (iii) of Sub-section (1), displays of skill … in connection with questions relating to the public health, include swimming entertainments? Swimming entertainments were mentioned a moment or two ago by my hon. Friend the Member for West Leicester (Mr. Hill). May I say that swimming clubs have done a great deal of good in promoting swimming, which is not only a healthy exercise, but a most useful thing in saving life and enabling children to save themselves. Swimming clubs have very small incomes, and they rely on their entertainments, in many cases, to keep going. During the last few years some of them have had to close down, because the Entertainments Duty has swallowed the whole of their profits. If swimming entertainments be allowed free of the duty, then a vast amount of good will be done in encouraging the teaching of swimming.

Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

Like all the other Members who heard the announcement by the right hon. Gentleman some time ago, I was very glad, because I thought that it was going to help all these agricultural associations which are having their shows at the present time. Since then, however, I have come to have some doubts as to whether the concession is as real as it at first appeared to be. I had a case submitted to me, and I passed it on to the Treasury, who sent it to the Customs Department. I have now been informed that it is not entitled to the exemption. As far as I can see the show is an ordinary country agricultural show with exhibitions of cattle and horses, and ending up with a few competitions. The reply which I have received simply says that the exemption will not apply in this particular instance. At the present time there are shows being arranged all over the country. I am quite certain that the committees of these shows, in most cases, will be ready to drop one or two items if a clear indication be given as to what items debar them from getting this exemption. I am quite sure that the Treasury desire to help these associations, and my suggestion is that they should do something to give these committees and associations a clear indication as to what they can do. If a clear indication were given now, it would help a great number of these associations who at the present time are drawing up their programmes and are at a loss to know how to proceed.

Photo of Sir Joseph Lamb Sir Joseph Lamb , Stone

As an agriculturist and a Member of the Agricultural Committee, I should like to thank the right hon. Gentleman for the way in which he has met the representations made by the Agricultural Committee on this question. There is one other item which I should like him to clear up, namely, the question of educational exhibits at agricultural shows. I am a Member of the Education Committee and of the Agricultural Society of my county, and we have for many years had very extensive exhibitions of the work which has been done by the children in the rural schools and by the pupils at the farm schools and at the County and Provincial College. We have recently had a notification from the Excise Department that if we continue to hold these exhibitions we shall not be exempt from the Entertainments Duty. I sincerely hope that the right hon. Gentleman will clear up this matter—I have given him full particulars—so that we may have it settled once and for all that exhibitions of work done by children in rural schools shall not be debarred from the benefit of this concession. I may say that we make no charge for admission. We make arrangements that the children of the various schools shall attend the exhibitions under their respective teachers free, and that the parents also may visit them and know the work which is being done and which is of considerable value in the county.

Photo of Mr John Hinds Mr John Hinds , Carmarthen

I am sure this concession which has been made with regard to agricultural shows will be well received in all parts of the country, but I wish to reinforce the point made by the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Griffiths) with regard to school children's concerts and also the recitals in connection with the school of music and the University of Wales. We are very glad to know that a band is to be allowed in connection with agricultural shows, but, if there be a choir of the children in the place of a band, then apparently the Entertainments Duty is to be charged. Why in the world should there be that difference? We like to hear the voices of the children just as much as the music of a band. The request of the hon. Member for Pontypool, therefore, is a reasonable one, and I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will see the consistency of meeting the point. All these concerts and recitals bring in very little money. They are often given for charitable purposes—for hospitals and infirmaries and so on—and to charge people who have worked very hard in connection with them is very irritable indeed. I desire to ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider the question of these musical recitals in connection with the school of music and the University of Wales. Dr. Walford Davies works very hard, and these recitals are given to show what the pupils can do at the end of the term and to make these concerts subject to a duty of this kind is neither right nor proper. I do therefore appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to sweep away all these irritating points which have been so obnoxious.

Photo of Mr Edward Ruggles-Brise Mr Edward Ruggles-Brise , Maldon

Would the right hon. Gentleman give a clear indication as to what is meant by paragraph (iii) of Sub-section (1), for the purpose of promoting public health"? Do these words cover athletic sports held at horticultural shows? They are a very necessary adjunct as making for the success of these shows, and it would be a thousand pities if there were any doubt left in the minds of those who are now making their final arrangements for the shows to be held during July and August as to whether or not they are to be permitted to have athletic sports in connection with the shows. I hope very much that the right hon. Gentleman may be able to assure the House on that point, and that a very useful means of promoting public health may not be taxed in future.

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

Probably the House will have to be content with the concessions already announced in the proposed new Clause, and I rise only to ask whether the Financial Secretary does not now recognise that the almost unanimous sense of the House is in favour of wider and more substantial concessions than have yet been indicated. I should like to join in the appeal which the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Hinds) has made for more reasonable treatment of this question by the Government in the future. While I think that, in general, the permanently established institutions for entertainment — theatres, concert halls, cinemas, and so on—have a real grievance in this matter, I think that, apart from the question of giving any substantial relief to these institutions just now, it would be proper that the Government should recognise that at least those purely temporary and occasional forms of entertainment which are not organised primarily for the purpose of making a profit, but for the purpose of carrying on a custom or meeting local necessities, should be entirely exempt from the Entertainments Duty. I suggest that concerts or entertainments or other ventures of that nature, which are not carried on in the ordinary trade or commercial sense, were never intended at the beginning to be subject to the Entertainments Duty, and that, therefore, where they are only occasional and intermittent, and are carried on for non-profit-bearing purposes, they ought to be free from this particular duty.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury Lieut-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury , Wolverhampton Bilston

I only want to raise one definite point, and, in doing so, I associate myself with some of the other hon. Members who have already spoken. This month and next month a number of horticultural and flower shows will be held, and I would ask for a definite ruling as to what exactly will be the nature of the exemption in the case of these shows. I have already received various letters asking me whether this or that show will be exempted. I have one here from a farmers' and market gardeners' protection society. This society holds a flower show once a year, and gives prizes for allotment gardens, allotments on waste lands, and children's gardens. In order to make it a success they have a band and sports, and I understand that the fact of their having sports rules them out of the operation of this Clause. I do not know whether it would be possible to stretch Sub-section (1, c), which refers to displays of skill. I do not know whether sports can be looked upon as displays of skill, but if the sub-section could be stretched to that extent I think it would meet with the approval of a great many Members of this House. These flower shows are run purely for the purpose of the improvement of gardens and to encourage the growing of flowers throughout the country. Such work is especially necessary in the Black Country, a portion of which I represent and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to do what he can to give this exemption. It is not from these shows that the large proportion of the duty is obtained, but from theatres and cinemas. This small concession would cost only a few thousand pounds a year, but it would prove of infinite advantage to those who organise these shows, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to give us a definite ruling in regard to them.

Photo of Mr Richard Wallhead Mr Richard Wallhead , Merthyr Tydfil Merthyr

I desire to support the plea that has been made for the removal of the tax upon such things as school entertainments. It is good that the improvement of horse-breeding should be encouraged, and also that encouragement should be given to the exhibition of flowers, but it does not seem to me to be quite logical, while admitting that the tax should be removed from shows of that description, to put it upon the cultivation of the human voice and the encouragement of music. I speak for a constituency in a country where choral singing is a marked feature of the social life of the people. The school children are encouraged to go in for choral and individual singing, and it seems to me to be unwise to put a tax upon the admittance of the parents and friends of the children who go to see them begin their career as vocalists and instrumentalists, in the towns of South Wales in particular. I plead with the right hon. Gentleman to see his way to removing the tax in these cases. I do not think he will derive a great amount of money from entertainments of that description. Again, it seems to be out of all proportion, in the case of educational entertainments, to take ½d. in the case of a 2d. entertainment. A tax of 25 per cent. is out of all proportion in such a case, particularly where the entertainment is of a purely educational character. If the right hon. Gentleman could see his way to removing this vexatious tax, of which, probably, in the cases to which I am referring, one-half goes in expenses of administration and collection, I am sure it would be a boon to the large number of people concerned, and a credit to his own office.

Photo of Captain Reginald Berkeley Captain Reginald Berkeley , Nottingham Central

I am anxious to enlist the sympathy of the Financial Secretary for a type of society which is not established or conducted for profit, and which, therefore, comes within the first paragraph of Sub-section (1) of this Clause, but which seems to be barred by the qualifications laid down in the other two paragraphs. The particular society I have in mind is one in which I personally take a great interest, and in which, I believe, the Financial Secretary also takes a great interest, namely, the League of Nations Union. It might quite well happen that such a society, for the purposes of its educational work in the country, might wish to arrange an exhibition or some similar entertainment, and it seems to be to be perfectly reasonable to ask that some allowance should be made in this new Clause for meeting such a case. There are other societies besides the League of Nations Union which are entitled to consideration. There are, for instance, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Aborigines Protection Society, and so on. Such societies are not conducted for profit, but for educational purposes, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to see his way to insert in the Clause such modification as may be necessary to meet these cases. As regards the particular class of exhibitions to which most reference has been made, namely, horticultural societies' exhibitions, these will soon be taking place in large numbers, and I should like to ask whether it would be possible to insert in this new Clause a provision that it shall have effect as from the date on which it receives the approval of this House, so that it may not be held over until the Finance Bill has received the Royal Assent.

Photo of Captain Reginald Terrell Captain Reginald Terrell , Henley

I should like to associate myself with those hon. Members who have been pressing the Government to remove the Entertainments Duty from horticultural shows, even though they include sports. I do so for two main reasons. In the first place, sports, in connection with these shows, are somewhat of the nature of an advertisement, the object of which is to attract people to the shows, and there is no doubt that that is the main object of holding sports in such cases. In the second place, it seems a pity to interfere with any of these shows, which do much to brighten up the life of those who live in the villages in agricultural districts. At the present time it is very hard indeed to get enough people to live in rural districts. On these two grounds I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, if possible, thus to extend the concessions which he has already made. Of course it may be said that it would cost too much. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman, in his reply, would tell us exactly how much it would cost if the Government were to stretch a point and remove the Entertainments Duty entirely from horticultural shows.

Photo of Mr George Lambert Mr George Lambert , South Molton

I am very grateful to to the right hon. Gentleman for this concession, but I should like him, in his own interest, to make it clear exactly how far it goes. In regard to agricultural societies, in which I am specially interested, it is not clear, and I feel quite certain that what will happen will be that societies which have arranged their exhibitions will expect, from the announcement of the Government, not to be called upon to pay Entertainments Duty, and that they will then suddenly be swooped down upon by some Revenue officer, and great will be their indignation when they find that they are liable. When will this concession take effect? Assuming that an agricultural show is held now, in the month of July, will it be free of tax? I should also like the right hon. Gentleman to give a clear definition of the kind of societies to which the con- cession will apply. In an instance that was given by an hon. Member just now, a pony race was included. I can see the difficulties that the Treasury would have in making exceptions, and can understand that, if they excluded a pony race, they might have to exclude some great race meeting. What I should like the right hon. Gentleman to do, however, is to give a clear definition, for the benefit of the agricultural societies in the country, of exactly what is taxable and what is not taxable, so that they may clearly understand. If, after reading the concessions which the Government are making, they find themselves suddenly called upon to pay the tax, they will feel that they have a great grievance. Among the exemptions included in the Clause is a display of skill by the workers in the industry concerned in work pertaining to the industry, but I assume that trotting competitions at an agricultural show would be excluded. That is one of the things that I want to know. Another instance that was mentioned was a foot race for agricultural labourers. These are difficult questions, but I would ask my right hon. Friend, in his own interest and in the interest of the Government, to make matters as clear to us as he can, because I am quite certain that there will be immense dissatisfaction in the agricultural community if, when they have been thinking that they are excluded, they are suddenly called upon to pay the tax.

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, that we ought to have a clear definition of what is included and what is not. I understood the Financial Secretary to say that in the case of horse shows some might be taxed and some might not—that if a show were connected with horse-breeding it might go untaxed, but that anything in the nature of a circus would be subject to the duty. Has my right hon. Friend thought under what category a thing like the Royal Military Tournament comes under—an annual affair to help military and naval charities and to help the training of the Army and the Navy?

Lieut.-Colonel WATTS-MORGAN:

I agree with what has been said by my hon. Friends with regard to musical entertainments, but there is a further point I should like to put to the right hon. Gentleman. Some of us who are deeply interested in ambulance work, especially in connection with mining and railways and so forth, have promoted societies, mainly of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. We find we have been hampered in promoting competitions, which we hold three or four times every year. There are expenses, although we get contributions from other sources, and we have to make a little charge, and if there is a band, and especially if we have foot racing competitions, which are tests of endurance and skill, I want to know if they will come under the purposes of promoting the public health in Sub-section (1, iii).

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

A good deal of misapprehension appears to exist. This Clause does not deal with charities at all. It is an industrial Clause dealing with industrial, agricultural, trade and mining shows, and things of that kind. Questions of charity—and the military tournament is a charity—all come under another Clause of the existing law, and they are exempt under certain conditions which were fully debated in Committee. With regard to the Welsh question of song, I remember a most eloquent speech by the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Griffiths) on the Committee stage, in which he spoke of the sea of song drying up and degenerating into a small trickle. That does not come under this Clause. In the case of flower shows, horticultural shows and agricultural shows, the whole question depends upon whether the show is really for the purpose of improving horticulture or agriculture, or whether it is an entertainment, pure and simple. I have had given me by the hon. Member for Central Aberdeen (Major McKenzie Wood) a catalogue of an agricultural show. There are different classes of cattle, different classes of horses, different classes of sheep, and so forth, and then there is a series of afternoon events, some of which I am quite clear do not come within the conditions of this Clause. For instance, a Shetland pony race I do not think could be said to come within the conditions of an agricultural show, and you can hardly say musical chairs on horseback has anything to do with improving the breeding of horses. It is a question of the skill of the man who is riding, and in fact it is a pure bona fide entertainment to attract people to the show. If you want an agricultural show to be exempt from Entertainment Tax, it must be purely an agricultural show and must not have side shows with musical chairs on horseback, pierrots, fat women or anything of that kind. All these must really be swept out if you want exemption from the tax.

Photo of Mr George Lambert Mr George Lambert , South Molton

In the case of an ordinary agricultural show, if you have a jumping competition or a trotting competition, is there anything in the Clause to prevent it being exempted?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

Not at all. If there were three or four men riding the same horse, the prize being given to the man who jumped best, that would not be exempt, but if it is jumping to encourage proficiency in the breeding of hunters and so forth, that is an agricultural purpose, and it would be exempt. A trotting competition in the same way.

Photo of Mr James O'Grady Mr James O'Grady , Leeds South East

You exempt the fat woman at the show at the Empire Exhibition. There is a Clause especially for that purpose.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

When we come to the Clause relating to the Empire Exhibition the hon. Member can put a question.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

Sports are clearly an entertainment, and do not, and cannot, come within the provision of this Clause.

Photo of Mr Joseph Batey Mr Joseph Batey , Spennymoor

Then the concession means nothing.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

If the hon. Member does not like it, he can vote against it. I have taken a great deal of trouble to try to clear away many of the difficulties of this Entertainments Duty. It is not encouraging the Minister. I had given no promise in regard to many of these questions. I have only given one promise in regard to the band at agricultural shows. When I inquired into it, I found there were a great many small and irritating questions which could be removed for the benefit of agricultural and horticultural shows, and then hon Members suggest that the Clause is no good at all. Then there is a question raised by the hon. and learned Member for York (Sir J. Butcher) about professional and amateur. There we come to a very difficult question where to draw the line. My hon. and learned Friend wrote me fully on the subject, and when I read his letter I was rather concerned. This is really an industrial Clause for the encouragement of trade and commerce, and I had to draw the line somewhere. One cannot say amateur shows are really for the improvement of trade and commerce and they should be subject to Entertainments Duty, because they are really in the nature of entertainments. Where they are trade shows, whether agricultural or motor shows or shows of any handicraft work for people who have to earn their living, I want to exempt them from the Entertainments Duty.

Photo of Mr Francis Broad Mr Francis Broad , Edmonton

What about allotment shows by amateurs?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

Clearly shows of allotments come under horticultural shows.

Photo of Mr Francis Broad Mr Francis Broad , Edmonton

They are all amateurs.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I admit the Clause is rather complicated. There are two heads to it. One relates to horticultural and agricultural shows and the other to trade shows. Horticultural shows come under one head and trade shows under another.

Photo of Mr John Potts Mr John Potts , Barnsley

Is the right hon. Gentleman of opinion that the training of hunters is a reasonable thing to put in?

Photo of Mr Stanley Tubbs Mr Stanley Tubbs , Stroud

Do we understand that if the circus stunt is eliminated from any of these local shows, they are exempt?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

An agricultural show, pure and simple, is exempt, but if the circus element is introduced into it, that makes it liable to Entertainments Duty. The hon. Member opposite can know very little about horse breeding. One of the main avenues of horse breeding for farmers is the breeding of hunters, and if hunters have to be tested by their proficiency in jumping—I am speaking of the animal—that is distinctly an agricultural purpose and stands to benefit agriculture. I think I have answered all the questions put to me. If there is any doubt in the mind of any hon. Member whether any particular show comes under these conditions, the best thing would be to write to the Board of Customs and Excise, and if he does not get a satisfactory answer he can write to me. The Clause might have come into operation sooner if hon. Members had not asked so many questions. As soon as the Bill passes it will come into operation.

Photo of Captain Reginald Terrell Captain Reginald Terrell , Henley

If the Entertainments Duty were removed altogether, even in cases where sports are held, how much would it cost the Exchequer?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I do not know, because I have not gone into the question.

Photo of Mr Stanley Tubbs Mr Stanley Tubbs , Stroud

Having regard to the important question of getting out advertisements, as a large number of these shows take place in the August Bank Holiday week, could we have a definite understanding now that this will go through?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

That is a matter for the House.

Question, "That the Clause be read a Second time," put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time.

Photo of Sir John Butcher Sir John Butcher , City of York

I beg to move, in Sub-section (1, c), to leave out the words, (ii) in the case of a society of the description mentioned in paragraph (b) (ii) of this Sub-section, of an exhibition of works of graphic art, sculpture, and arts craftsmanship, or of one or more of such classes of works, executed and exhibited by persons who practice graphic art, sculpture, or arts craftsmanship for profit and as their main occupation, or of displays of skill by such persons in such arts or crafts; or. This raises the question of exhibitions of amateurs. My right hon. Friend justified the Clause in its present form by saying exemption would be given to all exhibitions similar to that given to trade shows. I think these are at least similar as the case of horticultural exhibitions, where there is no difference made whether the exhibitors are amateurs or professionals. They are exempt from duty whether they are entirely one or the other or a mixture of both, and when my right hon. Friend says exemption is given to art exhibitions because they are in the nature of trade shows surely they are of an educational nature, perhaps at least as much as trade shows. Having regard to the fact that undoubtedly the educational element enters into it would be not consider what the cost would be and if possible make that concession? I do not know whether it could be introduced in another place, perhaps it could; but I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, having regard to the educational value of these art exhibitions, to grant this exemption.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I am afraid the hon. Baronet's Amendment would defeat his purpose, because it would leave out paragraph (ii), and would take away the benefit which we have given to the professional people. That, clearly, would not do. I know what the hon. and learned Baronet means; he wishes to include within the terms of the concession the amateur art exhibitions. I explained in my last statement that I fear that is impossible. It all comes back to the old difficult question of where you should draw the line. If you included the amateur in what is really a concession for the benefit of the trade, then you have to admit the amateur all along the line. There, again, you would have to admit societies run by amateurs, whereas this is really a concession to the trade.

Photo of Sir John Butcher Sir John Butcher , City of York

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman what is the distinction between this case and that of the horticultural exhibition? In both instances there are amateurs exhibiting.

Amendment negatived.

Clause added to the Bill.