The following from Hamish Birchall
In a remarkable u-turn the Local Government Association has announced
qualified support for the live music bill, which has today passed its
Committee stage in the House of Commons: http://bit.ly/ve6Uu0
Two minor technical amendments were agreed during Committee which
require the bill to return, briefly, to the House of Lords. But there
is every expectation that it will move to Report and 3rd reading in the
Commons early next year. If enacted, entertainment licensing would no
longer apply to most performances of live music to audiences of up to
200, between 8am and 11pm. In alcohol-licensed premises, that freedom
could be subject to conditions if there were problems.
For years the LGA has been hostile to any relaxation of entertainment
licensing for live music. But faced with a government committed to
cutting red tape, and the more radical exemptions recently proposed by
DCMS in a public consultation, it would seem that the bill represents an
acceptable deregulatory compromise - for live music at least.
One factor in the LGA u-turn is likely to be their belated recognition
that, under the existing Section 177 of the Licensing Act, many
conditions relating to live music are not in fact enforceable in bars
and restaurants where the maximum permitted capacity is 200.
The complexity of the s177 provision has been widely criticised and
indeed misunderstood by licensing authorities and residents' groups
alike. The Act's live music provisions generally remain difficult to
interpret - one reason, no doubt, why the LGA itself mistakenly suggests
today in its press statement that a small unamplified gig in a room
within a theatre would not be covered by the bill's exemptions.