Plans to scrap entertainment licences put forward

 
Estelle and Kano at the Jazz Cafe in 2007 A change in the rules could prove a boost for live music

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Pubs, clubs and other small venues offering live music would no longer have to apply for an entertainment licence, under government proposals.

The plans - going out to consultation - would apply to premises in England and Wales with a capacity of under 5,000.

Ministers say the changes could also apply to school and charity events.

Licences would still be required for boxing, wrestling and sexual entertainment, and the rules on alcohol supply and sales would not be affected.

The government says the consultation paper on activities defined as "regulated entertainment" under the Licensing Act 2003 is part of its attempt to eliminate red tape.

Punch and Judy

Existing regulations cover venues hosting live and recorded music, which normally have to apply to their local council for a licence, plays, dance, film screenings and indoor sports.

Start Quote

If there's no good reason for any of the rules and restrictions in this important area, our presumption should be to scrap them”

End Quote John Penrose Tourism Minister

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the Licensing Act 2003 removed the so-called two-in-a-bar rule, which had allowed two musicians to perform in a pub without needing an entertainment permit, and this was one example of how it "ended up potentially criminalising a harmless cultural pastime".

"The various musicians' and other performers' unions are extremely concerned that all these obstacles reduce the scope for new talent to get started," it added.

Tourism Minister John Penrose said changes could provide an "important source of new income to struggling businesses such as pubs, restaurants and hotels".

He said extra costs and red tape had also been imposed on school plays and discos where ticket sales went to Parent Teacher Association funds, Punch and Judy shows, street artists, park brass bands and restaurant pianists.

He said current laws had resulted in "inconsistent, illogical and capricious" distinctions between types of events and regulation should be required only where it was needed to keep events safe.

Mr Penrose added: "Before we press ahead, it's important we get the views of those working in the industry, and to make sure that the principles of public safety, prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm are safeguarded.

"Our starting point is a simple one: If there's no good reason for any of the rules and restrictions in this important area, our presumption should be to scrap them."

John Smith, general secretary of the Musicians' Union, welcomed the move.

"At the very least, we hope that the result will be to implement an exemption for small venues putting on live music with fewer than 200 people in attendance, which we have been lobbying for for many years now," he said.

"We therefore also support the proposals outlined in Lord Clement-Jones' Live Music Bill, which state that an exemption to the Licensing Act should take place when 'the live music entertainment takes place in the presence of an audience of no more than 200 persons'."

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 152.

    Licence = noun, license = verb

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 151.

    In a world where hard work, commitment and talent counts for nothing, and your economic potential in the eyes of industry dinosaurs counts for everything, this is surely good news for those bands playing for mere scraps most nights of the year, opening up a lot of potential doors in place of those that have been closed through buyouts of many licensed venues by advertising agencies.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 150.

    As neighbours of a pub which used to make our lives a misery with loud, live bands, we are horrified that we might have to put up with this again. It is essential that no private home environment should be affected by unwanted noise from a local business.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 149.

    Gee, thanks BBC. Today's lead stories: Blair denies that action in Iraq & Afghanistan cause Islamic radicalization, Hague wants to back out of the EU, Lawson wants rid of the 50% tax band, and Sinn Fein holds its first party conference in NI ... and what is offered as a topic for debate? Music in pubs - nice to know that the Beeb's right on the pulse of important issues :-(

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 148.

    Good idea, as long as pub landlords are considerate neighbours (which most are because their neighbours are potential customers).

    I think that there is a fundamental difference however between a 5,000 people venue and a pub. The rules should be graduated. Small to medium Pubs shouldn't need a licence, but big inner city clubs must be made to obtain one.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 147.

    Paul_of_Surrey :
    Venues should only be allowed to play music if they have adequate sound insulation-such that the "music" is not audible beyond the grounds of the venue.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pubs aren't pro recording studios, although I hear they're building a pub on the moon, maybe you will be ok with that.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 146.

    I can remember that idiot philistinic zionist Welshman - Kim Howells wasn't it? - bleating on that he "couldn't think of anything worse than sitting in a pub listening to three folk singers from Somerset". He brought in the act they now want to repeal. I'm all for limiting "noise leakage", but I hope Howell rots for trying to kill off live music in favour of football on big screen TVs.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 145.

    I am all for anything which might replace karaoke.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 144.

    As long as events are properly setup and disturbance does not go on past 10pm I cant see an issue. If you live near a pub then noise is to be expected. I live near several.

    What is really bad is when a pub that has put on bands and live music for years gets a new neighbour who complains to the council and the music gets shut down. If you dont like noise then dont buy a house next/near to a pub!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 143.

    Maybe the MPs should try living next door to some of these pubs, they would soon think again. The noise and the drunks make my life hell on a weekend.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 142.

    This has been long over due, The government should also look at the PRS who are a private society that collect money for performances from new artists only too payout millions to featured artists. I understand it covers jkeboxs and covers but come on. Do those top performers need to get money from those starting out?
    For those complaining British Music is one of this countries biggest exports.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 141.

    The current licensing laws allow an impartial balance to be struck between the reqirements of licensed venues and their neighbours by an independant body. Why change it?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 140.

    "don't want to hear an ear-piercing din, every week.

    Nobody can sing, nowadays. Its all rubbish"

    I assume you`re refering to the "talent" pumped
    into your living room via X Craptor /Plop Idol every week'
    Or the Ad Nausiating racket from your ocal Disco Pub/Karaoke

    Try extricating your self from your armchair pulpit and find a local live music venue.. you might be pleasantly suprised..

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 139.

    133 jonbanjo

    I have nothing against acoustic guitars as such. Perhaps I should have said:
    Venues should only be allowed to play music if they have adequate sound insulation-such that the "music" is not audible beyond the grounds of the venue.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 138.

    130.dr dave
    56 Minutes ago

    When you moved to your current house did you ever consider it is next to a pub? probably not, but no good moaning now is it. Like those who reside next to a railway or motorway, it's a bit noisy and I HAVE TO SHOUT when we are in the garden. I lived next to a pub for 20 years, only moved due to work, it's better than a motorway and the air is cleaner.

  • rate this
    -14

    Comment number 137.

    An excuse for people to make money (probably untaxed cash payments) at the expense of polluting the local environment with yet more noise in the evening and at night.

    This licence repeal will be a regressive step for the quality of life for the majority of those living in the affected communities.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 136.

    114.hagman72

    What about residents that live near venues that regularily break the terms of their licence? Their will be no safe guards in place and these will venues will make life even more hellish for locals!!!!


    +++
    Dont be ridiculous, of course residents will be protected, this just removes about 1 cm of stupid red tape which is still kilometres deep

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 135.

    128.Paul_of_Surrey
    Venues should only be allowed to host live music if they have adequate sound insulation-such that the "music" is not audible beyond the grounds of the venue.


    +++
    Well if noise pollution is bad, then what about emissions pollution, maybe motorists should be made to hose exhaust fumes/emissions back into their cars instead of into others faces & lungs.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 134.

    131.colind6
    21 Minutes ago
    What safeguard will there be for nearby residents whose residential amenity is adversley affected by intrusive music flooding their homes?


    +++
    Or,

    what safeguard will there be for those who do not want to be affected by peace & quiet pollution!!!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 133.

    128. Paul_of_Surrey

    Venues should only be allowed to host live music if they have adequate sound insulation-such [...]

    ---
    Preventing music above a set level "leaking" from a property might be reasonable but why only live music? Why not use a measured sound level instead?

    Or do you believe that say an unamplified acoustic guitar live is louder than a pub disco or juke box at full blast?

 

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