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Fighting the PEL

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GUEST,Hecate 26 Nov 02 - 05:49 AM
The Shambles 26 Nov 02 - 05:56 AM
Hecate 26 Nov 02 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,Bill, AfM 26 Nov 02 - 07:23 AM
The Shambles 26 Nov 02 - 07:43 AM
The Shambles 26 Nov 02 - 07:47 AM
The Shambles 26 Nov 02 - 07:51 AM
The Shambles 26 Nov 02 - 07:53 AM
The Shambles 26 Nov 02 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 26 Nov 02 - 12:57 PM
GUEST 26 Nov 02 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 26 Nov 02 - 01:08 PM
GUEST 26 Nov 02 - 01:26 PM
The Shambles 26 Nov 02 - 05:36 PM
The Shambles 26 Nov 02 - 05:44 PM
The Shambles 26 Nov 02 - 05:50 PM
The Shambles 26 Nov 02 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 27 Nov 02 - 04:56 AM
The Shambles 27 Nov 02 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 27 Nov 02 - 09:42 AM
The Shambles 27 Nov 02 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 27 Nov 02 - 12:21 PM
The Shambles 27 Nov 02 - 01:27 PM
The Shambles 27 Nov 02 - 04:53 PM
GUEST 27 Nov 02 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 27 Nov 02 - 06:20 PM
The Shambles 27 Nov 02 - 07:35 PM
The Shambles 27 Nov 02 - 08:21 PM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 28 Nov 02 - 04:32 AM
The Shambles 28 Nov 02 - 05:05 AM
Hecate 28 Nov 02 - 06:02 AM
The Shambles 28 Nov 02 - 06:24 AM
The Shambles 28 Nov 02 - 10:32 AM
The Shambles 28 Nov 02 - 10:42 AM
The Shambles 29 Nov 02 - 06:48 AM
Grab 29 Nov 02 - 08:19 AM
The Shambles 29 Nov 02 - 10:00 AM
The Shambles 29 Nov 02 - 02:25 PM
The Shambles 30 Nov 02 - 03:09 PM
The Shambles 30 Nov 02 - 08:02 PM
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Subject: Fighting the PEL
From: GUEST,Hecate
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 05:49 AM

Please use this thread to post specific ideas about tactics for trying to thwart this evil bill. Mine are going in below.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 05:56 AM

Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport.
Contact Details
http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/culture__media_and_sport/c

7 Millbank London SW1P 3JA

Tel 020 7219 6188 or 020 7219 5739

Email cmscom@parliament.uk


FAX 020 7219 2031

Clerk                   Fergus Reid       Tel: 020 7219 6120
Second Clerk             Nerys Welfoot    Tel: 020 7219 6924
Second Clerk             Olivia Davidson   Tel: 020 7219 6924
Committee Assistant      Anita Fuki       Tel: 020 7219 5739
Committee Secretary      Fiona Mearns      Tel: 020 7219 6188


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: Hecate
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 06:00 AM

Right, things to try.....

We are not alone. Many other local arts groups and cultural events are going to suffer. Get on to your local arts council - at town level, and find out what other groups there are. I phoned round some local amateur dramatics people last night and it was news to most of them. Even if it doesn't affect them personally, they may well care enough about the principle to get letter writing. Currently story telling, sports and the like are largely free from this but some are going to get nobbled by the new legislation, make sure they know about it.

If writing to your MP is a non-starter - Labour MPs seem unwilling sometimes to challenge fellow party members, and if you have one of them (I suspect I do) find out who your conservative candidate is and ask them for help - they should be able to get some local media attention and will probably be delighted to have an opportunity to gripe about the 'nanny state' and to show their labour MP up.

When you write letters, don't talk about folk, talk about 'arts and cultural events in the community' - we aren't alone, and folk isn't sexy in the eyes of politicians.

If your club is likely to fold when/if the legislation goes through, write to your local paper and tell them so.

Write letters to the editors of national newspapers. We need media attention, and letter writing might get us a journalist or two willing to really look into it.

The other thing I thought of, I am not sufficiently clued up to be able to try. Is there anything in the European laws on human rights that we could use here? Anything about rights to freedom of expression? There will be laws about freedom of speech, and I suspect this bill would make it very hard for a load of people to gather in a public place and sing protest songs.

There doesn't appear to be an exemption for hospitals, so this will harm the music in hospitals initiative. It will also be an issue for gigs in nursing homes, old people's homes, sheltered accomodation and the like, so see if you can round up any protesters from that quarter. The more exemptions they have to write in, the less viable the bill becomes.

Given his comments, I believe Kim Howells has a personal aversion to live music, there's no point trying to appeal to the man, he has a prejudice and an opportunity to experss it.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: GUEST,Bill, AfM
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 07:23 AM

The reading is today in the lords - email all the lords you can find, bishops, MPs, I have started with local, who are onside and then move to emailing MP's who have festivals or clubs I have been to in there constituencies. the more letters they get, the more emails, the better, do not get too longwinded write often asking questions.
check out action for music website for ideas

Bill


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 07:43 AM

On the Action for Music site you can join a Yahoo email list that will enable all of us to work together.

http://www.geocities.com/actionformusic/

List of all MPs and their emails.

http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/alms.htm


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 07:47 AM

You can watch the House of Lords now.

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/holvid.asp


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 07:51 AM

More usful links and info the HRA angle can be found (somewhere) on the following Links to all PEL threads


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 07:53 AM

PEL threads links to all of them


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 07:59 AM

Link to where you can find the names of all the 233 MP's who signed EDM 1182.

http://www.does4you.co.uk/EDM%201182.htm


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 12:57 PM

Can someone technical compile a lost of all MPs email addresses.

Then if I wrote an email I could paste that list into the "To" field and send it to all of them.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 01:02 PM

Richard,

I think that would be considered as 'spamming' and would perhaps do more harm than good.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 01:08 PM

The governmnet has declared war on us. Let's return the compliment.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 01:26 PM

Maybe, but spamming isn't a very effective weapon


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 05:36 PM

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199798/ldbrief/ldcontac.htm

The link above is to the Parliament site and details how to contact individual Lords (and how to address them).

It may be useful to read the Hansard account of today's proceedings and to contact the Lords that do seem to understand what is going on.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 05:44 PM

The Hansard record of the Second Reading of the Licensing Bill in the Lords should be on the fooling link after 08.00am.

http://www.parliament.uk/hansard/hansard2.cfm


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 05:50 PM

I like 'fooling' link.

This was the first reading.

Thursday, 14th November 2002.
The House met at eleven of the clock: The CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES on the Woolsack.
Prayers—Read by the Lord Bishop of Gloucester.
Licensing Bill [HL]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to make provision about the regulation of the sale and supply of alcohol, the provision of entertainment and the provision of late night refreshment, about offences relating to alcohol and for connected purposes. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a first time.—(Baroness Blackstone.)

On Question, Bill read a first time, and to be printed.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 06:02 PM

If writing to your MP is a non-starter - Labour MPs seem unwilling sometimes to challenge fellow party members, and if you have one of them (I suspect I do) find out who your conservative candidate is and ask them for help - they should be able to get some local media attention and will probably be delighted to have an opportunity to gripe about the 'nanny state' and to show their labour MP up.

I have been writing to my (new labour) MP, even before he was elected at the last election. I think it would be fair to say that I have had to work hard to get him to what he has, but the key is to keep on at it.

They may also be more willing to help if you can arrange a number of letters etc, say from the individual members of your club or session.

The thinking is that whatever (sensible) ammendments the Lords may make to the Bill, will be very difficult to get through the Commons, so informing and keeping the pressure on our MP's is most important.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 04:56 AM

I have put Hamish in touch with my former (lawfirm) partner Robin Bynoe and I think they are together working on various members of the house of lords.

Robin is also an entertainment law and intellectual property man, and a folk musician (flautist)


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 06:04 AM

What the House of Lords had to say in the Second Reading of the Bill, 26 November.

http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld199900/ldhansrd/pdvn/lds02/text/21126-05.htm


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 09:42 AM

I set out below a copy of a private email I sent to some others moments ago.

"I spoke to Vicki Berry of "BBC SouthEast Today" today in another context. Her email is as above.

I think I may have succeeded in interesting her in the lunacies of the entertainment aspects of the Government's reform of licensing law - the death of folk music, the regulation of a single acoustic player in a pub, not to mention the licensing of carol-singing and church fun-raising concerts.

But she needs a local South East angle to hang it on.

Can she please have the name and contact details (including landline and mobile) of someone to talk to her about this from the Broadstairs perspective? Her email address is above.

Don, Clive, and Doug:

Don please email her your contact details (including landline) as the new organiser of the united Maidstone folk scene. I have mentioned you.

Clive please email her your contact details (including landline and mobile) as a local RNIB activist who is interested in the effect on the visually impaired. I have mentioned you.

Doug, I am sorry I did not think of the "local" angle on you first, but since you are one of the local folk superstars - a professional to boot, and an experienced local reporter of the local folk scene - and nearly got your one-man-show completely sabotaged at Broadstairs by the 2-n-a-bar rule, can you also please send her your contact details (including landline and mobile).

This is a big opportunity to get the reform of the two-in-a-bar rule on the map locally as well as a good follow up to my letter printed in the Express on Monday. Go for it!


Thanks all."


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 11:49 AM

Letter Published 26 November 2002 in the Daily Telegraph.

Click here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?view=HOME&grid=P18&menuId=-1&menuItemId=-1&_requestid=198733

And look for 'Licensing to kill choirs'.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 12:21 PM

I reckon the following new paragraphs in Schedule 1 (drafted by me) might fix it.

"Insert new paragraphs 10A, 10B, 10C and 10D in Schedule 1 Part 1

Unamplified Music incidental to certain other activities.

10A        The provision of entertainment consisting of the performance of live music (and not comprising or including the playing of recorded music) is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act, if and to the extent that the conditions specified in paragraph 10B below are satisfied, if and to the extent that it is incidental to some other activity which is not itself –
(1)        a description of entertainment falling within paragraph 2, or
(2)        the provision of entertainment facilities.

10B        The conditions referred to in paragraph 10A above are: -
(1)        the other activity referred to in paragraph 10A above is the subject of and being undertaken in accordance with a licence granted under this Act; and
(2)        the number of persons undertaking the activity referred to in sub-paragraph (a) above does not exceed 100 or such other number of persons permitted to be present in accordance with the licence also referred to in sub-paragraph (a) above; and
(3)        subject to paragraph 10C below the live music being performed as aforesaid is not in whole or part by means or with the assistance of (or by means or with the assistance of a system comprising or including) electrical or electronic amplification: -
(a)        provided; nor
(b)        made more readily audible; nor
(c)        made audible or more readily audible in any other place than the place or part of a place in which the performance is occurring;

10C        For the purposes of paragraph 10B(3) above: -
(1)        the live performance of music by the playing of a portable musical keyboard device which performance is made audible solely through loudspeakers contained wholly within the device in question shall be treated as if electric or electronic amplification were not used therein; and
(2)        a musical keyboard device shall be deemed not to be portable unless: -
(a)        it is brought to the place of performance solely for the purposes of the performance in question and removed therefrom within one after the performance in question; and
(b)        the rated output power of the amplification therein shall not exceed 20 watts (RMS) per channel and the number of channels shall not exceed two.

10D        The Secretary of State may by order delete add to (either by way of addition to a provision or the addition of another provision) take from alter adapt and/or amend paragraphs 5 to 10C above."


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 01:27 PM

I suggest it is even easier than that. But then I am not a lawyer.

At this stage, you just take away all the exemptions!

You just make sure that all premises are certified as safe for any activity, then you never have to define entertainment or what is licensable. As pracically everything is to be now anyway.

Owners and licensees can decide not to provide any activity, but all public premises would be safe, if they decided to.

Or is that far too simple?


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 04:53 PM

A few edited highlights, well the bits on music. [The full debate is on the link above.]

The first bit from Baroness
Blackstone is the same old stuff but may provide some ammunition.
Baroness Buscombe's reply (following) was better.

Baroness Blackstone
Again, it is not just about liberalisation and consumer choice: the new
system represents a vast improvement over the old and will remove some of
its unintended adverse effects.

For example, under existing legislation, establishments may sell alcohol
late at night only if it is ancillary to other activities, usually music and
dancing. That has led to the development of a relatively narrow night-time
economy, patronised for the most part by the young.

Our proposals will improve the diversity of provision, leading, we hope, to
a broader demographic profile late at night, with potentially desirable
associated benefits. Ending fixed closing times will remove the incentive to
drink as much as possible before 11 p.m. and reduce the density if drinkers
on the streets, at take-aways and at taxi ranks at peak times, something
that, we know, contributes to crime, disorder and nuisance.

It is equally important that people should be safe when they go to a place
of public entertainment. Badly run entertainment can be a nuisance, and the
Bill provides for modern, light-touch controls here, too.

We understand concern about the effect of the abolition of the "two in a
bar" rule, under which pubs did not have to obtain a public entertainment
licence to put on live music by one or two performers. We are removing that
rule because it is anachronistic. It is perfectly possible for a single
performer using amplified instruments to generate more noise than, say, a
chamber quartet of unamplified musicians. It is unfair on performers and on
local residents.

The Bill's provision for a single, integrated licence means that premises
wishing to put on live music need not, as is currently the case, apply for a
separate permission, often at great cost. Costs can vary across England and
Wales by thousands of per cent.

In some places, a public entertainment licence can cost as much as £20,000.
Instead, a permission to provide entertainment in that way would be an
integral part of the premises licence, so there would be no additional cost
for live music above the cost of the premises licence itself, regardless of
how many musicians are involved. If the industry makes full use of the
reforms on offer, there will be a huge increase in the opportunities for
musicians to perform.

Baroness Buscombe:
The Secretary of State, Tessa Jowell, stated in a press release on 15th
November this year:
"The Bill is also good news for the hospitality industry-it should lead to
savings of nearly £2 billion in its first ten years by cutting out red
tape".
How so? Has there been a cost benefit analysis for this?

I clearly recall the Secretary of State, Tessa Jowell, welcoming the
"evidence-based approach" to scrutinising draft legislation made by the
Joint Industry Committee on the draft communications Bill. We trust
therefore that this approach has been followed by the Secretary of State
with regard to licensing reform.

Local communities are rightly concerned by the implications of the change.
We also see the complete overhaul of legislation as a leap in the dark by
the Government and would therefore welcome some hard evidence to assuage our
fears concerning the impact of longer drinking hours or else some mechanism
for monitoring the effects of the legislation.

On a similar note, it is important to articulate the interests of those who
may be subsumed by the greater good of licensing reform. I am referring here
to the conditions in the legislation which restrict the performance of live
music.

We have long campaigned for the abolition of the two-in-a-bar rule-a rule
that was brought into law in 1961 as a liberalising measure to allow two
musicians to work in a licensed premise without a licence. In our efforts to
remove that restriction to only two musicians operating without a licence,
we never imagined that the Government would change it to insist that even
one would require a licence.

Further, the Bill in its thoroughness appears to necessitate a licence for
such harmless activities as church bell ringing, band rehearsals, musical
concerts in churches and even carol singing.

The wording of the Bill suggests that payment to musicians may be sufficient
to trigger licensing. If that is the case, tens of thousands of private
wedding receptions, parties and corporate functions would become illegal
unless licensed.

We are told at paragraph 20 of the draft guidance that it will recommend
that,
"proper account be taken of the need to promote live music, dancing and
theatre for the wider cultural benefit of communities generally".
At this stage, I am severely doubtful that this legislation, notwithstanding
it has moved from the preserve of the Home Office to the DCMS, will promote
these cultural interests.

There are many more issues that we will need to address in Committee; for
example, the question of capacity on premises seems ill thought through and
needs careful consideration


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 05:45 PM

Dear Shambles,

Any chance of starting a thread that the average user can understand?

Very few of us actually appreciate what you're saying. Your current approach isn't doing the cause any good at all. At times I wish that the government would pass a law that made Shambles shut up.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 06:20 PM

Dear Guest.

You wish to revel in your stupidity? Please do. Somewhere else.

Sham is putting in good work on behalf of every folk musician in England and Wales - even if I don't always agree with him on every point.

And yes, Sham, it is too simple. If all pubs had to be safe for a Rolling Stones concert, we'd have a lot fewer pubs, and nowhere at all to play because the few remaining pubs would all want the big name bands.

And the government won't wear it.

And the Licensed Victuallers' Association woudl blow a gasket.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 07:35 PM

Richard

When the Rolling stones played Wembley Stadium this would have to be made safe for them.

If the Rolling Stones were to play a pub, of course the pub would have to be made safe for them.

If you or I were to play the same pub it should be made safe for that.

Are you suggesting that we should have unsafe premises and that this makes any sort of sense.

Premises should have the option of whether they provide music or not but surely no licencee should be given the option of running premises that can later be claimed, by the Local Authority to be unsafe.

I think our noble Lords would be a little surprised to think that the Government and the pubs are making an argument in favour of having unsafe premises. If you are right, that is exactly what they are doing.

The alternative is that after all this fuss and increased revenue, you or I playing non amplified for charity in a pub, can make the premises unsafe. Does that make any sense?

When stated aims of the Licensing Reform Bill, currently receiving a Second Reading in the Lords are - public safety, prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of public nuisance, and protecting children from harm.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 08:21 PM

The principle is long established, under current legislation, that premises are inspected and made safe for public entertainment with PEL, even though no (live) music is ever intended to take place there.

As Baroness Blackstone said in the Lords.
For example, under existing legislation, establishments may sell alcohol late at night only if it is ancillary to other activities, usually music and dancing. That has led to the development of a relatively narrow night-time economy, patronised for the most part by the young.

As the problem she raised is set to get worse, why not just continue this principle? Then the only places that could be claimed to be unsafe, would in fact be the ones that the Local Authority had demonstrated were unsafe or too close to homes to provide entertainment etc.

Baroness Blackstone again

Instead, a permission to provide entertainment in that way would be an integral part of the premises licence, so there would be no additional cost for live music above the cost of the premises licence itself, regardless of how many musicians are involved.

I am surprised to find myself in agreement, up to a point. That point is that the Government have strangly made it possible to opt out of the entertainment element and create the risk of premises that can later claimed to be made unsafe by one person singing there.

Take that option away and the measures will work in practice. It is totally wrong in principle, but this Government do not seem to have any of those and it will stop us having our current problems.

No I don't think non amplified music needs any controls but I suspect it is too late to prevent most of the Bill from being imposed on us.

Making all music licensable is not too far from what they propose to do anyway. So if all (suitable) public premises have to have a licence that enables all live music making - So be it.

I want to be able to make music but I do not want to make it in unsafe premises. I strongly believe the public must first have safe premises. Do that and all these definitions of what is entertainment, become redundant and Schedule 1 of the Bill can be confined to the dustbin.

The bottom line are the pubs prepared to spend the money to bring all premises up to standard and do the Local Authorities have the resourses (and the will) to ensure they do?

I think the answer is no. So we have the Bill's endless defintions about what is licensable entertainment - and will still have unsafe premises.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 04:32 AM

It is not just pubs.

And the level of precautions that need to be taken for Rolling Stones gig are greater than those that need to be taken for events with no audience such as my singing.

If you say every place (not just pubs) has to be suitable for a Rolling Stones gig, the local village or church hall will have to change beyond recognition or shut. Not an option.

It does not work.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 05:05 AM

No Richard, that is not what I am saying.

I am making the simple point that all premises should be made safe for the public (by the local authority), for its activities and the measures reqired to do that, will depend on the both activity and the premises.

Having unsafe premises is not an option.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: Hecate
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 06:02 AM

A few observations - I think campaigning to 'liberate' acoustic music and/or events where under 100 people are gathered is a very good line to take. We need to fight this legislation with some specific and helpful responses rather than just saying 'it isn't nice please don't do it.' well considered alternatives are going to be of much more use to us.

The second point is a bit of good news for me - I managed to get a 'local folk club could close' piece in my local rag, the upshoot of which was an offer from a venue slightly out of town - free function room, licensed property. public awareness does get results, even if it wasn't the ones you were looking for.

Point three, if the license will automatically come with pub licensing at no extra cost, that's no bad thing, but we need some consideration of venues other than pubs - church halls, street events, community centres, one off events etc - what will the cost be like for them and equally importnatly, how long will it take to get a license and how will they be worked out?

We need clearer information on how the granting of such licenses will be decided as well - currently it all sounds a bit vague and needs pinning down.

The more we can force them to ammend and reconsider, the better chance that this will run out of palirmentary time and go back to the drawing board.

And finally, if it does get implemented, it isn't the end. Just remember the poll tax, that went away agin.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 06:24 AM

What the House of Lords had to say in the Second Reading of the Bill, 26 November.

http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld199900/ldhansrd/pdvn/lds02/text/21126-05.htm

Don't make the mistake that this idiot did, that this debate ended when they switched to talking about the Firemans' Despute. The Licensing debate, continued for long after this.

You can hear what Dr Howells had to say on premises other than pubs.

You can listen to him on Radio 4, on the following link. Click on the 'baseball cap' item. He is on afer that.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listen/listen.shtml


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 10:32 AM

This from Hamish Birchall

For circulation

Various people have asked me to provide guidance for a letter to be sent to MPs or Peers. I would always say it is best to write your own letters because standard letters get binned. With that caveat in mind, however, here is a short letter which Musicians' Union members, or indeed anyone with an interest, can adapt for their own purposes to send to MPs. It could easily be modified for interested Peers as well (bearing in mind that many are in fact sympathetic to MU members concerns). The address of the House of Commons is London SW1A OAA, and the House of Lords is London SW1A OWP. You can also fax MPs direct from www.faxyourmp.com:

Dear

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell says that the Licensing Bill is 'a major plank in the government's drive in the Queen's Speech to tackle antisocial behaviour'.


That is a laudable aim, but it doesn't really explain the Bill's requirement that all live music in churches, except where incidental to a religious meeting or service, should be a criminal offence unless licensed. The are only four licensing aims: the prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of noise nuisance, public safety, and the protection of children from harm. Is there any evidence that church concerts are a serious problem on any of these four counts? If not there is no justification for extending licensing control.



Private carol concerts raising money for charity would, likewise, become illegal unless licensed, in churches or anywhere else. Carol singing, out and about, would similarly become illegal unless licensed. The maximum penalty for unlicensed performance would be a £20,000 fine and six months in prison. These measures cannot be described as deregulatory or liberalising.



Culture Minister Kim Howells claims abolition of the two in a bar rule is necessary because 'one musician with modern amplification can make more noise than three without'. Why then is he proposing that one unamplified performer in a bar should become illegal unless licensed? And, if unamplified performers must be so controlled, why will amplified broadcast entertainment, which includes not only sport but music, be exempt? Nothing in the Bill requires licensees to disclose the provision of broadcast entertainment, or jukeboxes, or to disclose the amplification power of the equipment used. There are, of course, many more noise complaints about recorded music than about live music.

The Musicians' Union believes that, as far as incidental live music in bars and restaurants is concerned, a simpler solution would be to adopt the Scottish licensing regime. In that country no prior permission or licence is required for live music in that context, providing it finishes within permitted hours. Public entertainment licensing applies after permitted hours and in all premises whose main business is music, or music and dancing. Noise and safety legislation regulating such premises applies across the whole UK.

Yours etc


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 10:42 AM

URGENT - PLEASE COPY THIS PAPER AND PASS IT ON TO ANYONE INVOLVED IN THE ARTS


LICENSING BILL
– A threat to all performing arts

Everyone involved in the performing arts, whether amateur or professional, should be aware of the grave threat posed to their activities by the Licensing Bill at present before Parliament.   The media have concentrated their attention on liberalisation of drinking hours, while the more draconian provisions of the Bill affecting public performance have been largely ignored.

All premises in which performing arts activities take place, whether used frequently or only occasionally, will require a licence from the local authority.   Licences will be granted only after inspection by the police, fire authority, health and safety inspectors etc, consultation with local residents and interest groups, and approval by the local authority.   Churches, schools, village halls, libraries, pubs, restaurants, even private houses will have to pay up to £3,000 for a licence. Performances for members of clubs or for charitable purposes are also affected, as are recording studios and rehearsal rooms. Any performance in unlicensed premises will be a criminal offence.

One group seriously affected by this legislation will be drama groups who use their local hall for performances.   Few hall management committees would be willing to make a costly application for occasional public performances when their premises can be booked, without the need for a licence, for other activities.   With no venue to perform in, many drama groups will cease to exist.

Any building to which the public are admitted should meet requirements relating to health and safety, law and order and noise nuisance, whether it is used for entertainment or for any other purpose. No other country imposes such specific restrictions on artistic activities. Counsel retained by the Musicians' Union has stated that this legislation is incompatible with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, relating to freedom of expression.

At the forefront of the campaign for licensing of public entertainment are organisations representing local authorities, for whom this legislation would attract a considerable inflow of funds. Members of these organisations have been active on the committee which formulated the Licensing Bill, while bodies representing arts interests have been refused representation.

The present legislation in relation to public houses permits no more than two performers at a time to entertain in premises that do not have a Public Entertainment Licence – the celebrated 'two-in-a-bar' rule. The following are just two of many examples of over-zealous interpretation of this regulation by local authority officers: a landlord fined £500, with more than £1,500 costs, for allowing four of his regulars to sing 'Happy Birthday'; another threatened with court action when patrons were seen to be 'tapping their feet' to, and therefore being 'entertained' by, unauthorised music. Under the Licensing Bill, 'two-in-a-bar' will become 'none-in-a-bar', providing even more opportunities for 'jobsworth' interference in harmless activities.

In view of the 'freedom of expression' issue, this legislation is to be considered by the House of Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights.   Please write to the Committee with your views, quoting particularly any examples where the proposed legislation will affect your activities.   The address is:
Paul Evans, Clerk, JCHR, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.   


Paper prepared by John Smedley
Organiser, Sevenoaks Summer Festival
PO Box 398, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3YB
fjohnsmedley@aol.com


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 06:48 AM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listen/listen.shtml

They seem to have fixed the link. If you look for 'Listen' and then look for the licensing item, you will be able to hear the good Dr's wisdom.

You can make a contribution there too on the message board on the subject. More messages there may mean more future coverage, which we badly need.

Can you please help?

Yes YOU.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: Grab
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 08:19 AM

I've just read through the whole of the Hansard section concerning the Bill. A quote from Lord Monson:-

"When I glanced at the Bill about 10 days ago I thought that it was a bit of a curate's egg but still basically edible... I feel that this particular egg needs a lot of legislative heat treatment before it can be safely consumed. How fortunate the nation is to have so many talented legislative masterchefs in this House ready and willing to apply remedial treatment to the Bill at later stages.

This pretty much sums up the Lords' reaction to the Bill. There were three Lords who used their ten minutes primarily on the music front, and several others flagged this as a secondary concern (public order being their primary concern).

Off-topic, but personally I'd rather see the Lords running the country than the Commons. The non-elected peers have got a damn sight more common sense than any elected representative! :-)

Regarding John Smedley's note:-

Licences will be granted only after inspection by the police, fire authority, health and safety inspectors etc, consultation with local residents and interest groups, and approval by the local authority... Any building to which the public are admitted should meet requirements relating to health and safety, law and order and noise nuisance.

And this is bad for why? I really would like to know how considering the concerns of the police and fire services for the safety of customers and the concerns of local residents over inappropriate licensing can be a bad thing? One Baroness, I can't remember who, mentioned that she assembled "literally a busload of local residents" every year to complain about the licensing of a local pub notorious for violence, and their concerns were rejected every time. Giving residents a stake in the licensing is surely the only way of solving those problems.

Churches, schools, village halls, libraries, pubs, restaurants, even private houses will have to pay up to £3,000 for a licence.

Where does this number come from? The only number I've seen so far was in Hansard, where a figure of £100-500 was mentioned for a one-off event such as a rave. And the proposal is and always has been that the license to stage music comes for free with the license to run a pub. In other words, the suggestion that it will cost a publican £3,000 to stage live music is, to put it *very* politely, misleading.

The concern about churches, cafes etc which do not have a liquor license and so do not get this for free are perfectly correct though, and this was one of the points raised in the Lords. This is one place I where I do agree with John Smedley and Shambles - the Bill obviously hasn't considered this as a separate case, and it should do.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 10:00 AM

The Lords debate (well the music bits) can be found on UK music ned tour help.

The following is where you can contact John Smedley and ask him.
fjohnsmedley@aol.com

I honestly think that It is Dr Howells an Co that require questioning about the sums. For that is where the figures, or lack of them are coming from. After all this time should we really have to speculate on the fee levels.

Not that from his showing on Radio 4, that Dr Howells would appear to know any of the answers.

Perhaps Grahame you could ask him (via your MP),about the one thing in the Bill you and I do appear to agree on?


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 02:25 PM

Thanks to Pete Shaw.
This from The Church Times.

'Pay to play' licence could cost local churches dear
by Rachel Harden.


THE government proposes making parish churches buy licences to put on concerts that are not considered to be worship. If the Licensing Bill goes through, it could cost the Church of England at least £2.6 million a year.

The Bill, which had its second reading this week, aims to regulate the whole licensing system. Churches and cathedrals would have to pay to stage concerts and other community events, if they put on more than five a year. Local authorities would grant licences only if the churches conformed to fire and safety measures, which could be costly.

The fee for the licence would be left to the discretion of the local authority. Churches in London currently have to apply for a licence, but there is no charge for this.

On Tuesday, the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, attacked the Bill in the House of Lords. The legislation, he said, could affect anything from the Brownies' end-of-term concert to a large-scale choral event.

The White Paper leading up to the current Bill, Bishop Chartres said, had "included the encouragement of both tourism and rural communities. The role of churches and cathedrals in drawing visitors to different parts of our country is well documented, while the contribution made by activites held in church buildings to life in rural communities is incalculable."

No church, he said, would want to evade regulations intended to ensure public safety, but "we do have concerns that over-regulation of entertainment in buildings which do not seem to present safety problems when used by congregations will deter parishes and others from hosting community events."

The Archbishops' Council is so concerned about the proposals that they have contacted every diocese, asking for comments on the Bill, which goes to the Committee Stage next month.

A report, Rural Mission, released this month, shows that almost half of rural churches are regularly used for musical entertainment as distinct from church worship. This, says the report, is an important way of making links with the local community.

Communities in Truro diocese, in Cornwall, rely heavily on the use of church premises, said the Diocesan Communications Officer for Truro, Jeremy Dowling, on Tuesday. If the Bill went through in its present form, it could be disastrous. "A church like St Endellion, in north Cornwall, which hosts an international music festival at Easter and in August, would be stuck. The festival goes on for 13 days.

"The Government wants churches to be used more for the community. but then introduces these charges. I do not think this Bill has been thought out at a practical level," Mr Dowling said.

Nick Bates, administrator of St Albans Cathedral, said on Tuesday that music in the diocese was "vibrant". The cathedral hosted about 25 concerts a year, "and there are performances in most local churches. If they are told that, to satisfy licensing conditions, they must change seating and so on, for safety, many will say, 'I am sorry, we can't do that.' Our mission to use our buildings for cultural events, and to link up with the community, will become very difficult."

The Council for the Care of Churches had taken up the matter, a Church House spokesman said. "It is asking the dioceses for concrete evidence about who, in church life, would be affected."


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 03:09 PM

With God now on our side can we supply some letters to the Times in reply to Dr Howells latest attempt to disguise the fact that he has no idea of what he doing?

Please consider sending a response to The
Times letters@thetimes.co.uk

or by post:
The Editor The Times 1 Pennington Street London E98 1TA
Phone: 020 7782 5000

The following from the House of Lords, is what appears to have awoken Dr Howells from his slumbers.

5.57 p.m.
The Lord Bishop of London:

>Snip>

The second issue is, in sympathy with other speakers, that, although the drafters of the Bill state a laudable intention to empower residents, there is a concern from bodies like the Open All Hours Group that the effects of the legislation will burden residents. The Minister, Dr Kim Howells, is on record as stating that:
"The Local Authorities will not have the discretion they currently enjoy to refuse a licence or impose a condition in the absence of a reasonable objection to the licensee's operating plan".

That will force local residents to become the principal protagonists in time-consuming and lengthy battles about individual licences. Surely, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, in particular said, it would be preferable to allow local licensing authorities sufficient discretion to formulate local policies which respond to local conditions.

The other interest which I seek to declare is as the chairman of the Church Heritage Forum, which brings together a number of Church and statutory bodies. At present, concerts and similar events within a place of worship are exempt from the need for licensing, always with the exception of London, which has enjoyed another regime under which a licence is required but no fee is payable if the entertainment concerned is of an educational character or given for a charitable purpose.

One of the stated intentions of the Bill is deregulation. Therefore, I ask what the justification is for introducing a new layer of regulation and expense for community activities. Where is the evidence of abuse that justifies removing an exemption which Parliament provided in 1982? I have seen nothing in the explanatory papers which even begins to address the question of places of worship or the implications for them.

I appreciate that the Bill provides that entertainment incidental to a religious service will be exempt from licensing. I am glad that we are not being asked to consider such a Soviet-style proposal. But the kind of concerts and plays which would seem to be caught by this legislation would, as far as I can see, range from the Brownies' end-of-term concert to the Three Choirs Festival.

No church would want to avoid regulation intended to ensure public safety. However, we have concerns that over-regulation of entertainment in buildings which do not seem to present safety problems when used by congregations will deter parishes and others from hosting community events. That would of course run counter to government policy, as expressed recently in the paper A Force for our Future, which urges the wider use of heritage buildings for community activity and the DCMS emphasis, which I applaud, on social inclusion.

Other key objectives which emerged from the White Paper leading up to the Bill included the encouragement both of tourism and rural communities. The role of churches and cathedrals and other places of worship in drawing visitors to different parts of our country is well documented, while the contribution made by activities held in places of worship to life in rural communities in particular is incalculable.

Looking at the likely costs of this extension of regulation, I do not believe that some of the fears that have been expressed are at all unwarranted. The Government's own assessment suggests that a charity holding two events a year could expect to pay £40 per annum or £400 over 10 years. As for full licensing, it is not clear from the examples given in the Government's regulatory impact assessment whether a church or a cathedral would be more likened to a pleasure boat at the lower end of the scale or to a night club at the higher end. But in the following calculations I have at every stage taken the minimum figures. They could of course be substantially more than I have calculated.

From the figures provided in the assessment, we can assume that each fully licensed church and cathedral and other place of worship—I am in consultation with friends not only in other Christian Churches but in the Chief Rabbi's Office and the Muslim Council so this is not a narrow or denominational point—will have to pay £300 for the initial licence and including annual inspection fees £800 over a 10-year period.

The Church of England alone has more than 16,000 parish churches. If 10,000 were able to manage with temporary events notices for four concerts a year, the cost of that would be £800,000.

If the remaining 6,000—a conservative figure—sought a full licence, and many churches hold at least half a dozen concerts a year, the initial cost would be a minimum of £1.8 million. That gives a minimum total of £2.6 million in the first year alone and for the Church of England alone. I must emphasise that I am not seeking to make a merely denominational point, but to express concern on behalf of all places of worship.

The figures seem small in comparison with the sums often under discussion in your Lordships' House, but for voluntary organisations they represent a significant new burden and involve more onerous administration. The present Government have sought to be generous to those charged with the upkeep of the nation's inheritance of historic places of worship. The DCMS has been active in concert with the Chancellor, for example, in attempting to lighten the burden of VAT payments on repairs to listed buildings. The faith communities are grateful for the £3.8 million of relief already granted by the end of August.

My plea is a very simple and modest one: that the value of those tokens of support for the huge voluntary effort which goes into sustaining the inheritance of the whole community should not be substantially diminished by that fresh burden. I hope that the noble Baroness will be able to take the opportunity of the Committee stage to restore the present regime for places of worship.


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 08:02 PM

Have you heard all this somewhere before? The Times readers haven't. Perhaps some letters to the Times may help?

Howells – Letter to Times - November 30, 2002

Intended purpose of Licensing Bill
From the Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport


Sir, The Licensing Bill would not criminalise impromptu or spontaneous singing (letters, November 27). What it would do is ensure that, where music and dancing are to be a regular feature at a venue, local residents would have the opportunity to air their concerns with the local licensing authority before a decision was made.

The Bill would improve the opportunities for musicians to perform in public venues. The Government does not accept that certain types of music, for example acoustic folk music, are never noisy and should therefore be excluded from the new licensing regime.

The licensing authority would have the power to impose necessary and proportionate conditions in order to protect residents and customers.

The Licensing Bill would allow people to have a good night out and enjoy themselves, while making sure that those that wish to stay in for a peaceful evening can do so.

Fees for licences will be set centrally by the Secretary of State under secondary legislation, and it would be open to her, where appropriate, to set fees at a reduced level for charities and religious groups or indeed to decide that they should be waived.

Some churches fear that disproportionate and costly conditions may be attached to licences. However, under the Bill all licensing authorities would be required to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State. And it is intended that this will make clear that it would be wholly inappropriate to attach disproportionate conditions to licences affecting churches and other charitable institutions.

Yours sincerely,
KIM HOWELLS,
Department for Culture,
Media and Sport,
2-4 Cockspur Street, SW1Y 5DH


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 08:46 PM

These are the original Times letters that started the debate there. Perhaps some more letters can appear there, to keep the debate going?

The Times November 27, 2002

Implications of new Licensing Bill
From Mr Howard Jones


Sir, It is not only music in churches which is placed in jeopardy by the proposed Licensing Bill (report, November 23). The proposals will criminalise any musical performance in a public place without a performance licence. This will include carol singing, morris dance displays, and informal song and music sessions including pub sing-songs.

These are not commercial events. England's heritage of traditional music and song is in danger of being stamped out by this unnecessary legislation.

The licensing requirements have nothing to do with public safety — no one has explained why a pub which is perfectly safe for people to sit in and talk suddenly becomes unsafe if they burst into song. Neither will it achieve its purported aim of public order — one might think that a bar full of football fans has more potential for disorder than a few acoustic folk or jazz musicians, but a licence will not be required to show TV programmes. There is already legislation to deal with both public disorder and noise nuisance.

This legislation will do what the Puritans failed to do 350 years ago and stamp out informal music and dance in this country. Anyone who values our musical heritage and community participation in musical arts must protest against this Bill.

From Dr G. M. Leuty

Sir, On Sunday mornings the choir sings during the service at our city centre church. The Department of Culture graciously concedes that no licence is needed for this "entertainment".

Sometimes on Saturday mornings the choir gives a "Coffee Break Concert" for passing shoppers, with a retiring collection for a local charity. The building, music and coffee are the same, but the congregation is smaller.

In future the retiring collection may have to be spent on a licence rather than charity. What good purpose is to be served by this?


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 09:05 PM

This from Hamish Birchall

The Times has published a letter from Culture Minister Kim Howells defending the Licensing Bill (see above). Please consider sending a response to The Times letters@thetimes.co.uk



or by post:
The Editor The Times 1 Pennington Street London E98 1TA
Phone: 020 7782 5000

Here are some key points for your replies:

The Licensing Bill is draconian: any organised singing, out and about, or even in private if to raise money for charity, would become a criminal offence unless licensed. Even carol singing is caught. Max penalty: £20,000 fine and six months in jail.

The Minister says the Licensing Bill will ensure people can 'stay in for a peaceful evening', but he is proposing to exempt broadcast music or sport on widescreen tv and large sound systems.
Combined with 24-hour opening this has major noise implications for local residents.

Over 80% of noise complaints are caused by noisy people outside bars, most other complaints are about noisy recorded music - criminalising musicians will have no effect on that problem.

Does this explain why the government has hastily commissioned a study into the noise implications of licensing reform, which will not be complete until Spring 2003 at the earliest?


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Subject: RE: Fighting the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Nov 02 - 09:19 PM

The Licensing Bill is draconian: any organised singing, out and about, or even in private if to raise money for charity, would become a criminal offence unless licensed. Even carol singing is caught. Max penalty: £20,000 fine and six months in jail.

Dr Howells
Sir, The Licensing Bill would not criminalise impromptu or spontaneous singing (letters, November 27).

Perhaps Dr Howells can be asked, in the pages of the Times, exactly how? Maybe he is referring to the 'impromptu or spontaneous singing' that can take place (unlicensed) on the back of a moving road vehicle?


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