The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #58909   Message #942747
Posted By: The Shambles
29-Apr-03 - 10:49 AM
Thread Name: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
The following to my (poor) MP.

Labour MPs who wish to trust in the advice given to them by official advisors (who have an agenda and wish their advice to be correct), stand to be compromised, if they do not question this advice. An official line of defence (or excuse), that events were already covered by the current legislation is not the same thing as taking the opportunity to present us with true deregulation and the sensible entertainment licensing we are so badly in need of.

If the whole Bill is such a nutritional sandwich, then can you please examine it, eat it or arrange to test it first? Before blindly voting to expect us to be the guinea-pigs that find out exactly how the poison, that you are fully aware it contains, will affect us?

As the hoped for increase in the entertainment licensing take-up figure, also remains an untested and risky gamble, why the indecent haste to make it, when there are sensible alternatives? But most of all - why does the clear, blatant dishonesty continue, when it is so obviously and unnecessarily damaging, both your Government and Party?

As demonstrated in the following - the advice that forms the plank of the inadequate Government defence of this over-regulatory, inconsistent, illogical and dishonest Bill, is simply factually incorrect.

The following is a copy of letter from Mark Gibbens of EFDSS to Dominic Tambling of the DCMS.

>Dear Dominic,

This morning I received clarification on the situation for folk dance (in fact any folk arts) on public land from Birmingham University lecturer and author of Entertainment Licensing Law and Practice, Colin Manchester (see below). He appears to verify EFDSS' understanding of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 that folk dance on public land is *not* currently caught by entertainments licensing, except in Greater London.

I would like to draw your attention particularly to the statement by the then Home Office Minister Timothy Raison, "the controls extend only to entertainments on private land, because in practice there are already means of controlling events which take place on land which is not in private ownership".

In the light of this clarification, do you still stand by your statement, "Folk dance in the open on public land is already licensable in Greater London and in the parts of the country where the local authority has adopted the appropriate parts of Schedule 1 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982."?

Surely a government that was serious about the words "consistent" and "deregulatory" would make it a priority to bring London into line with the rest of the country, rather than extending London's extra regulation to everywhere else?

Best wishes,

--- Original Message ---
From: "Colin Manchester"
To: Mark Gibbens
Sent: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 07:34:49 +0100
Subject: RE: Folk dance on public land, and entertainments licensing

Dear Mark,

My understanding is the same as yours and there is a statement by the Home Office Minister at the time the 1982 legislation was passed to the effect that the controls only extend to activities on private land.

I refer to this in my book on Entertainment Licensing Law and Practice and I have copied and pasted the relevant section below:

"2.19 By para 4(1), 'an entertainment to which paragraph 3 applies shall not be provided except under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted under this paragraph by the appropriate authority.' An entertainment to which para 3 applies is any public musical entertainment which is held wholly or mainly in the open air at a place on private land in an area in which paras 3-4 have effect(1).

The purpose of this provision is to enable local authorities to exercise some measure of control over open air pop or rock concerts or festivals held in their area(2). Control extends only to those entertainments held on private land and does not cover ones which take place on public property.

During the course of the legislation's passage, the Home Office Minister Mr Timothy Raison remarked that 'the controls extend only to entertainments on private land, because in practice there are already means of controlling events which take place on land which is not in private ownership'(3), although it was not stated what those controls were.

Land is private, for the purposes of the licensing provisions, 'if the public has access to it (whether on payment or otherwise) only by permission of the owner, occupier or lessee.'(4) Thus a licence may be required for concerts staged in areas to which the public generally have unrestricted access, such as parks, if access is restricted and a charge for admission made.

In the case of concerts held in parks, it is likely that the concert will be held wholly in the open air, but the licensing provisions also cover entertainments held mainly in the open air. Thus concerts held in football stadiums, a not uncommon venue for such entertainments, will fall within the provisions of paras 3 and 4.

(1)       Paragraph 3(1).
(2)       See HOC 98/82, App A, para 4: 'its primary aim is to regulate pop festivals, but outdoor concerts and other outdoor entertainments in which music is a substantial ingredient could also come within the provisions.' Whilst music at pop or rock concerts or festivals will feature live performances, it should be noted that there is no requirement in either para 3 or 4 that the music is performed live.

The requirement to obtain a licence should have equal application where recorded music is played in the open air on private land.

(3)       HC Deb, Vol 26, Col 1139 (2 July 1982).
(4)       Paragraph 3(2)(b).


Colin Manchester