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further 'dangers' with the PEL

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GUEST,peteofebor 21 Feb 03 - 05:57 AM
AggieD 21 Feb 03 - 06:06 AM
DMcG 21 Feb 03 - 06:11 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Feb 03 - 04:21 AM
The Shambles 22 Feb 03 - 05:29 AM
The Shambles 22 Feb 03 - 05:34 AM
The Shambles 22 Feb 03 - 05:39 AM
The Shambles 22 Feb 03 - 05:41 AM
The Shambles 22 Feb 03 - 05:44 AM
Kernow John 22 Feb 03 - 06:44 AM
Folkiedave 22 Feb 03 - 07:56 PM
The Shambles 23 Feb 03 - 03:54 AM
DMcG 23 Feb 03 - 03:58 AM
DMcG 23 Feb 03 - 04:00 AM
Folkiedave 23 Feb 03 - 02:20 PM
The Shambles 25 Feb 03 - 12:19 PM
The Shambles 05 Mar 03 - 06:43 AM
Dave Bryant 05 Mar 03 - 07:09 AM
Dave Bryant 10 Mar 03 - 05:52 AM
Nigel Parsons 10 Mar 03 - 06:03 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Mar 03 - 12:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Mar 03 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 10 Mar 03 - 05:41 PM
Steve Parkes 11 Mar 03 - 09:02 AM
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Subject: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: GUEST,peteofebor
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 05:57 AM

So PEL is to be administered by local councils, and will be straightforward ???
Some years ago I tried to start up a session in a pub in York, but the landlord said he could not allow it as he did not hold an entertainments licence. On enquiring about getting one , he was told that the premises would need to be inspected by the Fire Brigade for fire safety reasons, and was told he would probably need extra fire exits to be instaled. The pub is a listed building, so back to the council for planning / listed buulding consent.... result .. he did not apply and there was no session .. I might be a lively player, but my melodeon has never yet caught fire...
   The serious point is haw many other local government departments are going to try to get involved ? Fire inspections.. Health & Safety..listed building consent etc.. I fail, to see why it is intrinsically more dangerous to have a pub-full fo people listening to folk music than it is to have a pub-full of people watching Manchester United V Leeds United..


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: AggieD
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 06:06 AM

I thoroughly agree, having walked past pubs when they are showing big screen football etc. the state of the punters is far more rowdy & drunken than any song session can raise even with a rowdy chorus.

I think that any form of entertainment whether live or screened should be subject to the same licencing laws.


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: DMcG
Date: 21 Feb 03 - 06:11 AM

But didn't Rolf Harris's accordian catch fire some months ago? That's what's behind all of this, I see now .... *GRIN*


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 04:21 AM

What is not dangerous - viz acoustic music, does NOT need regulating.

Even if it did, the preservation of folklore ought to require some major moderation of regulation for thos cultural activities that merit preservation


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 05:29 AM

From the month-long campaign the Western Morning News has been running.
http://www.thisisdevon.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=116762&command=newPage

09:39 - 01 February 2003

A husband and wife team who run a traditional Cornish pub fear the Licensing Bill could put them out of business.

Pat and Neville Allen have run the Angarrack Inn, near Hayle in Cornwall, for three years.

Evenings at the inn are often spent with Mr Allen, an ex-music teacher, entertaining his customers with a song on the pub's piano, something he feels is now under threat.

He said: "Live music makes such a tremendous difference to the atmosphere. And the thing that worries me is that under the terms of the new legislation I am going to need a licence to play my own piano, if the public are watching.

"I can understand larger events needing a proper licensing system but surely I don't need to go through all that time and expense for the odd sing-song?

"We are only a small business and we can't afford much. It will probably just mean the music will have to stop."

Mrs Neville is concerned that without live music, customers will turn away and their livelihood will suffer.

She said: "There are only about 200 dwellings in the whole village.

"Because there is no shop or post office the pub is the only amenity and has a very important role to play in bringing people together.

"We've had some great evenings in here but that could all stop. A tradition would go and that would be a tragedy.

"If we suddenly need a licence for any entertainment we want to put on it just won't happen. Our regulars may go elsewhere and trade will suffer.

"We are talking about a good old-fashioned social activity. When tourists come to the region and visit the pubs they should be entertained, to show them how friendly it is down here and what a wonderful place it is to spend some time.

"Why threaten that? It is a total headache and could put us out of business."


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 05:34 AM

09:38 - 01 February 2003

A huge shake-up of licensing laws could have a disastrous effect on music venues and community tradition, according to musicians, MPs and publicans.

The Licensing Bill - the biggest increase in control of live music for more than 100 years - was introduced by the Government in November. Launched as a "central plank in the drive to tackle antisocial behaviour", it is currently being discussed in the House of Lords and could be law by 2004.

The broad aim of the Bill is to reduce binge drinking and alcohol-related crime and disorder by deregulating opening times. But it also dramatically increases the licensing of live music performance with the introduction of a new "premises licence".

The legislation will require all venues which provide entertainment and are open to the public to buy one. They will cost between £100 and £500, with an annual charge of between £50 and £100.

The "two in a bar rule" - which has existed since 1899 and allows a pub to have one or two performers play without needing a licence - will also be abolished.

David Heath, Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome, who has spoken out against the Bill in Parliament, said: "The fact that licensing is being modernised is welcomed. The current laws are archaic and did need addressing, but we certainly didn't want it to be replaced with this.

"They keep saying it will be easier and cheaper but we still don't know the costs involved. They could have made it so much easier by saying all unamplified music could be performed without the need for a licence. But of course that would be too easy. It is insulting and livelihoods are at stake."

Musicians fear that without the two-in-a-bar exemption the number of music venues will drop dramatically.

Andy Souch, a solo performer who has been playing folk music on the Westcountry pub circuit for nearly a decade, said: "This legislation is incredibly worrying. It is hard enough to get a gig in the first place but if this becomes law more than half the pubs I play in won't book me. Live music is something we should cherish and encourage, not destroy."

The new licence will replace six existing licensing regimes - alcohol, public entertainment, cinema, theatre, late-night refreshment house and night cafe - with a single measure.

Currently, publicans go to their local authority for an entertainments licence and a magistrate for a liquor licence. Now, they will approach their local authority for one licence and specify whether they want to provide entertainment.

The Government claims this will make it easier and sometimes cheaper - depending on the local authority - for landlords to apply for their licence. But because the two-in-a-bar rule is to be abolished, musicians fear publicans will not apply for the right to provide entertainments.

Margaret Thomas, Cornwall branch secretary of the Musicians' Union, said: "The problem is that when a landlord wants to provide music, he or she has to undergo stringent security checks from police, health and safety and the fire service. The bottom line is that many of them won't bother going through all that for the sake of a bit of live music. So where a pub might now have the occasional duo or solo artist on, under this law it won't happen because they do not like all the extra bureaucracy.

"Local authorities will also be under intense pressure to be seen to be addressing concerns about noise, even if the risk is minimal or non-existent. Conditions are bound to follow, and the cost implications will remain a significant deterrent, particularly for smaller venues."

Village halls, church halls and school halls are often exempt from paying for an entertainments licence because they are registered charities.

But under the new legislation, they will lose that exemption and be charged to put on concerts, plays, recitals, films and many other forms of entertainment, if a charge is made for entry.

So a school or village hall, charging £1 to raise money for charity, will be forced to either pay for a full annual licence, which could cost up to £500, or apply for a temporary notice and be restricted to five events a year. Village hall officials have said the extra costs will only add to the their deepening financial crisis.

Peter Harding, a spokesman for Devon Community Council, which manages the village hall network, said: "Village halls will be forced into applying for full premises licences or risk being caught out part-way through the year when the quotient of five is used up.

"Currently, village halls are exempt from payment for public entertainment licences, but the new legislation would introduce fees costing halls tens of thousands of pounds a year.

"These new charges could prove disastrous for committees already struggling to raise the money to keep their halls open and in good repair."

There had been fears that churches would be subject to the new law, but Culture Minister Kim Howells has since retracted that and offered churches an exemption.

The Government has also allayed fears that spontaneous music - singalongs, happy birthdays etc - will be subject to a licence.

But under the new legislation a premises requiring a licence is termed as "any place". Private functions will therefore be licensable if the public is admitted or a charge is made.

The maximum penalty for unlicensed performance will be a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgwater, said: "This Bill is an extremely worrying measure. I simply cannot understand how anyone could entertain the idea of making simple pleasures in life so very difficult."


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 05:39 AM

09:00 - 04 February 2003

One of the longest-serving landlords in North Devon fears that proposed changes to licensing laws will send his costs soaring.

Barry Shingler, who has run Marshalls pub in Barnstaple for the past 15 years, is backing the WMN's campaign to challenge the Government's Licensing Bill.

If the Bill becomes law, nearly all forms of public entertainment will need a licence.

Mr Shingler said: "All we want to do is give people a choice. We certainly don't make money out of it.

"It's a bit of harmless fun with a great tradition - so why make it so complicated?"

Mr Shingler currently takes advantage of the "two-in-a-bar rule", which allows him to host one or two performers in his pub without having to buy an entertainment licence.

The proposed new law will scrap this exemption, forcing him to apply to his local authority for a new "premises" licence.

Mr Shingler said: "The expense will send my costs soaring. As soon as I tell the council I want to provide entertainment, I will have to undergo extra checks from fire, police and health and safety.

"They will no doubt insist on expensive alterations. Is all that really necessary so that one person can play a guitar on a Sunday afternoon?"

A singer who regularly performs at the pub is Glenn Scoffield, from Barnstaple. He said: "I've been in the business for nearly 35 years and I've never heard of anything like this.

"I used to be able to get three gigs a week, the phone was ringing all the time. Now it is a struggle to find places that will put you on.

"This Bill is just making a bad situation worse, if not impossible. We need landlords like Barry who are prepared to take a chance on music and use their imagination." Under the new law, live music "in any place" will be illegal unless a licence or temporary entertainment notice is obtained.

Anyone staging unlicensed events will be liable to penalties of up to £20,000 and six months' imprisonment.

Mr Shingler said: "I have heard that a new premises licence will cost something like £240. And what for? The right to have a musician on once a week and create a good atmosphere.

"We've never had any complaints about noise before, so why is it being made more difficult?" Regulars at the pub say it would be a "tragedy" if the live music had to stop.

Steve Badcock, from Barnstaple, who has been drinking at Marshalls for a number of years, said: "The music here is great. It makes a change and is a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon. It's a traditional place with a warm atmosphere and that is something worth protecting.

"Pubs are all starting to look the same wherever you go - drab interiors and Sky television. If they all end up like that it would be tragic."

Publicans' representatives fear the added cost and bureaucracy the Bill would impose may force closures. Joe Duthie, chairman of the West of England Licensed Victuallers Association, said: "We are very worried about fees going through the roof.

"Small pubs need to be able to operate in a way that allows them to maximise their potential.
"The overhaul of the licensing laws are a golden opportunity to create flexibility, not add to costs which could put pubs under."

09:00 - 06 February 2003

The landlords of a traditional Westcountry pub believe the Government's new Licensing Bill is "totally unworkable".

Wayne and Colin Richens, who run The St Michael's Mount Inn, in St Barripper near Camborne, Cornwall, are joining the WMN campaign to demand the Government amend the Bill, widely seen as a threat to live music in pubs.

Wayne said: "We have as much acoustic music on as we possibly can. Most pubs seem to settle for Sky television and karaoke. Not here, no way. We offer something more traditional and want to keep it that way."

One of the Bill's proposals is to abolish the ancient two-in-a-bar rule, which allows one or two performers to play in a pub without the landlord needing an entertainments licence.

Wayne said: "One of our regular performers is a 70-year-old man who plays Rolling Stones' songs on an accordion. Under this Bill we would need a license to let him perform. It's crazy and completely unworkable."

The new licensing regime will create one central premise license, combining alcohol and entertainments, and distributed by local authorities. A landlord would apply to their authority for the licence - costing up to £500 - and specify whether they want to provide entertainment.

But musicians fear publicans will be put off applying for the right to stage music because of the clearance needed from police, fire, health and safety, the local authority, and local residents - which may come with expensive conditions.

Wayne said: "Every month we host an evening called Revival 2000. It showcases acoustic, blues, roots, and ethnic acts.

"All the musicians play just one or two at a time, and it bothers nobody. But all that would just have to stop."

And it is not just landlords and musicians that are concerned by the Licensing Bill.

Brian Williams, from Kingsand, in Devon, helps to produce albums which are sold to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

He believes the Bill represents an infringement on basic human rights.

He said: "The cultural map of this country is under threat. The right to perform music, song or dance is an intrinsic part of an individual's right to the freedom of expression.

"Absolutely everyone who cares about the future of music should join the WMN campaign."

The next Revival 2000 night at St Michael's Mount Inn is on Friday, starting at 7.30pm.

"Come and enjoy it before they make it illegal," said Wayne.


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 05:41 AM

09:00 - 17 February 2003

A Westcountry landlord believes proposed changes to licensing laws will deny young musicians their "first platform" to success. Ralph Gabbatiss, landlord of the Jacob's Ladder Inn in Falmouth, has said his customers are "horrified" by the Government's Licensing Bill.

He said: "When I have explained what the WMN campaign is all about people are dumbstruck. They can't believe that the music here might have to stop because of Government intervention. This is a platform venue for many young musicians. It is often the first place they play and we are extremely proud of that."

The Government's Licensing Bill, which could be law next year, will make virtually all kinds of performance illegal unless licensed. The legislation would also abolish the "two-in-a-bar rule", which allows a landlord to stage one or two musicians in their pub without needing an entertainments licence.

Landlords would need to apply to their local authority for a new premises licence to stage any musical performance, however small. But because of the expensive conditions which may be insisted upon by the local authority, there are fears landlords will be simply stop providing live music altogether.

Mr Gabbatiss said: "The previous tenant here did have a full entertainments license, but noise levels were not adherred to. After some residents complained the local authority came in and the music had to stop.

"I fully understand that. We have houses 20 yards away and we have to be careful not to disturb them. If I lived there I would have complained. But now we are tarred with that brush."

When Mr Gabbatiss reapplied two years later, Carrick District Council insisted upon expensive alterations which he could not afford.

He said: "It would have cost me about £5,000 in modifications. New emergency lighting, new fire alarms and fire proofing. Of course I understand the need for safety. But there has to come a point when you stop. You could spend thousands and you'd never really be 100 per cent safe.

"To comply with strict local authority conditions you'd need doormen to count numbers. We are a tourist destination ??? you don't want to see bouncers on the door of every pub."

And Mr Gabbatiss fears that if the Licensing Bill becomes law, any music he does stage will have to stop.

He said: "When people have seen the WMN posters and petitions and asked what it's all about, they are horrified. Local musicians are extremely concerned and rightly so."

Joe Duthie, chairman of the West of England Licensed Victuallers Association, said: "Publicans are very concerned by several aspects of this Bill. It wouldn't just be a case of applying for the right to stage music. You would have to tell the local authority exactly when the music would be on and how often. To succeed pubs need to be able to set their own agenda and not be answerable to local authorities for everything they do."

More than 2,000 readers have already sent in protest forms to the Western Morning News campaign. These, along with petition forms that will be published every Tuesday while demand lasts, will be handed to Culture Minister Kim Howells, demanding that traditional live music in pubs continues.
















Western Morning News 09:00 - 19 February 2003
By Paul Andrews

The Government attempted to head off criticism of proposed changes to licensing laws yesterday by inviting musicians to a "summit" to help draw up guidelines which will govern their operation. The move coincides with the WMN campaign to challenge the Licensing Bill, widely seen as a direct threat to live music in pubs.

Minister for Culture Kim Howells said: "I want to ensure the Bill is enforced with a heavy dose of common sense on the ground. I hope the music world, local authorities and the industry will take the opportunity to help shape the guidance and make sure this happens."

But despite yesterday's announcement, musicians and licensees have said they are still "extremely wary".

Hamish Burchill, spokesman for the Musicians' Union South West, said: "This is a step in the right direction but does not go far enough. The fundamental problem remains that small-scale informal events do not need licensing."

The Bill, which could be law by next year, will abolish the "two-in-a-bar rule", which allows a landlord to have one or two musicians play in their pub without needing a full entertainments licence.

Landlords would need to apply to their local authority for a new premises licence to stage any musical event, however small.

Because of the expensive conditions which may be imposed by the fire, police and health and safety, there are fears landlords will simply abandon live music.

Yesterday, Mr Howells tried to allay these fears by stating that local authorities will not be able to impose "unreasonable conditions" on licence applications.

But publicans' representatives remain unconvinced.

Mike Priest, a spokesman for the West of England Licensed Victuallers' Association, said: "This is merely


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 05:44 AM

Sorry about that [cont]

recognition by the Government of how deeply this Bill has concerned people. We are still extremely wary.

"When the Bill was introduced it was done so based on the their idea of creating less red tape. But what it has been replaced with is a set of procedures which merely add to the bureaucracy.

"Regardless of what may be said in public this proposed legislation is still simply a way of creating a new revenue source."

Mr Howells said he would host a music industry summit on February 26 and hold talks with Musicians' Union leader John Smith on March 4 to listen to performers' concerns.

Musicians' representatives will be included in a working group alongside councils and the pub industry to draw up guidelines on how licensing authorities should operate the new regulations.

Mr Howells said: "A host of rumours have been circulated about this Bill.

"The truth is it will make it more affordable for venues to put on live performance in the vast majority of cases. This will in turn increase opportunities for musicians and other artists to perform. Musicians have nothing to fear from this Bill, but much to gain from it."

Nick Harvey, Lib-Dem spokesman for Culture and MP for North Devon, said: "The Government are obviously feeling the heat of the campaign against this Bill. Because they failed to publish guidelines when the Bill was first published it is very much a mess of their own making. They should have invited these people to contribute to the process long ago. Now at least they will face the front line."

More than 2,546 readers have now sent in protest forms to the Western Morning News campaign to challenge the Bill. Along with the petition forms, which will be printed every Tuesday, these will be handed to Dr Howells, demanding that live pub music is protected.


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: Kernow John
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 06:44 AM

Sham

The 70 year old is none other than Chris Ridley editor of Folknews Kernow and musician for Trigg Morris. Chris has to be seen to be believed, Maybe it's the Last Time followed by Bad Moon Rising with vocals and on the melodeon!!

I hope you guys are flooding your local daily paper as much as we are in the South West.

John


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 07:56 PM

Chris is also a caroller with Padstow Carols.

Great bloke.............and of course,,,,,,,,,,the Padstow Traditions Carols,and also Mayday, are under threat........here is what Dominic Tambling (No 2 civil servant dealing with this) wrote to me last week(I was asking about the "Sheffield Carols").

7. There is no definition of spontaneous within the Bill or elsewhere for the purposes of the Bill. The point is that what most people understand to be spontaneous singing or dancing would not count as the provision of regulated entertainment under the Bill (because it would not satisfy the conditions in Schedule 1) and would not, therefore, require a licence.

In reference to your more specific point - it is hard to see how a regular event could be regarded as spontaneous. Those performing/attending must presumably have known that it would happen and turned up accordingly. That is certainly not what I understand to be spontaneity.

The first clause is of course to get rid of the idea that "Happy Birthday" is licensable.

The second clause catches virtually all traditional folk events. And most others too!!

Anyone involved in tradtional folk events should write to Dominic (dominic.tambling@culture.gsi.gov.uk) and ask him how their particular event is affected. Copy the letter to Tessa Jowell (tessa.jowell@culture.gsi.gov.uk).

Regards,


Dave


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 03:54 AM

09:00 - 18 February 2003

The biggest change in licensing laws for over a century will be a "bureaucratic nightmare" according to one Westcountry publican.THE biggest change in licensing laws for over a century will be a "bureaucratic nightmare" according to one Westcountry publican.

John Wilkinson, landlord of The Black Dog Inn, at Black Dog near Crediton, believes the Licensing Bill will force pubs to abandon traditional live music.

He said: "We should be able to put more music on, not less. This is a great little village and the pub is the only amenity, so what we do is important to everyone."

The proposed legislation, which could be law by 2004, will make nearly all forms of live entertainment illegal unless licensed.

The new law would also end the "two-in-a-bar rule", which allows one or two musicians to play in a pub without the landlord needing an entertainments licence.

Landlords would be forced to apply to their local authority for a new premises licence to stage any live music. But because the local authority, fire, police and health and safety may insist upon expensive alterations, there are fears landlords will simply not bother.

And being a former community centre manager in Staffordshire, Mr Wilkinson says he is well used to the pitfalls of "local authority bureaucracy".

He said: "It is very hard complying with all the checks you must go through. You might get an electric check in October, door check in November, and fire escape check in December.

"They all cost money and it just adds to the continual struggle to keep your head above water. It is exactly the same in a pub. I understand the need for safety but there has to be middle ground."

Mr Wilkinson regularly has folk singers and dancers entertain his customers, something which they now feel is under threat.

Mr Wilkinson said: "The atmosphere is brilliant and the tradition of it is very special. But before we plan anything else we need to know what is going on with this Bill. If nobody knows how they are going to be affected it makes a mockery of the entire system. We just don't know what will happen. This law would be full of gaping holes which ultimately will be stuffed with expense. The economies of scale are just wrong. Bigger pubs can afford the bureaucracy. We can't."

And Mr Wilkinson believes the proposed legislation amounts to nothing more than an "entertainment tax".

He said: "It is being brought in on the pretext of noise pollution. But 99 per cent of complaints about pub noise are made when drinkers pile out onto the streets. That is already covered by separate laws. Under this law you would need more licenses to do less. It is a bureaucratic nightmare.

"Call it what it is. It is not a licence, they are simply trying to tax our entertainment."

More than 2,300 readers have now sent in protest forms to the Western Morning News campaign to challenge the Bill.

Robert Brightley, a lawyer working in the music industry based in Mitchell, near Newquay, said: "Music is part of our heritage and that of cultures around the world. It gives pleasure to millions of people and live music is at the heart of this.

"This is a time when the industry is suffering massively from the pirating of recorded music and when public opinion is reacting against manufactured pop. To attack grass roots like this will starve music into a slow but certain death. Music should be encouraged as a priceless part of our culture and not effectively outlawed by such draconian and misguided measures as this."

And Mr Brightely fears that if the Bill becomes law, many small scale music events would have to stop.

He said: "These additional hurdles put in the path of music will simply discourage venues from doing all that is required to comply with the regulations.

"As it stands satellite television broadcasts will be exempt from requiring a licence, but live music will not be. That is a gross injustice which cannot be supported on any sensible grounds."


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: DMcG
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 03:58 AM

In reference to your more specific point - it is hard to see how a regular event could be regarded as spontaneous. [snip]
The first clause is of course to get rid of the idea that "Happy Birthday" is licensable.


I don't know about you, but people singing "Happy Birthday" to me is a regular event. It happens every year.


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: DMcG
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 04:00 AM

.. and in restuarant chains like TGI Fridays, the staff sing "Happy Birthday" to someone at least once every Friday & Saturday. It doesn't get much more regular than that.


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: Folkiedave
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 02:20 PM

I rest my case...........

Dave


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 12:19 PM

The Publican 21 February 2003

Westminster City Council has antagonised licensees once again with the launch of a public inquiry into the liberalisation of licensing.

Trade members are furious as it appears that very few of them have been consulted. They claim there is no information on what they need to comment on and they have only been given a few days' notice.

The council says that the inquiry will help it prepare for taking on control of licensing and will give the trade a chance to talk to the council about any issues.

But its approach has raised concerns among the industry, especially as the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) have not been asked to contribute.

Westminster Licensees' Association (WLA) was invited to submit evidence but has so far not received a formal letter from the council. This means it is already too late for it to make any submissions on the pub industry's behalf.

Kate Nicholls, spokeswoman for the WLA, said: "This is exactly the same approach that Westminster council took to the consultation on its licensing policy, inviting comments from select groups and giving them a ludicrously short time frame to respond."

Chief executive of the BBPA Rob Hayward said: "We want to work with the council but it is sending out a message it has already made up it mind before it has even started."

A council spokeswoman said: "We are assessing the impact of the draft legislation to help inform the debate and clarify the position of those most likely to be affected by the changes."

The council will meet on March 4 to hear evidence and its final report will be published in early April.


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 06:43 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Expanded section dealing with the cost of a Premises Licence application for live music:


http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/articles/dcms_issues26.shtml.

"It will NOT cost anything extra for a pub to apply to provide entertainment as well when applying for permission to sell alcohol."
This refers specifically to the licence fee, and is only correct only if the application for permission to sell alcohol and to provide live music is made simultaneously. The statement ignores hidden compliance costs, which may be considerable (see below).

The Government's estimate of the one-off application fee for the new 'premises licence' is £100-500. In addition all licensed premises will pay a new 'annual inspections' fee which the Government says will be in the region of £50-150.

The Local Government Association is lobbying for much higher fees. Licensing lawyers say the Government estimates are 'pure fantasy' and must be higher. Many ordinary pubs are currently paying only £30 every three years for their liquor licence.

Premises currently paying high annual public entertainment licence (PEL) fees may save considerably, although it must be remembered that barely 5% of 110,000 premises hold annual PELs.

If the dual application for alcohol and live music is not made, an additional licence fee will be payable to host live music at any later date.

When the Bill becomes law in July (as the Government intends), if licensees do not make the dual application they will lose the right to host any regular gigs - even solo performance.

Licensees could, however, have up to 5 gigs a year using the temporary event notice scheme which the Government says will cost £20 a time (up to 499 people participating, max 72 hours duration).

Licensees who do not bother to apply for permission to provide live music can apply at a later date. This process is called 'Variation'. The Department for Culture says the variation fee could be in the region of £100-500.

Compliance costs: the DCMS '20 myths' statement does not mention the hidden compliance costs arising from local authority licence conditions when live music is chosen as an option.

Common licence conditions for live music include the provision of door supervisors, installation of new toilets, vestibules, fire-proofing cellars, rewiring, double glazing (even if the music is unamplified). The costs may run to many thousands of pounds.

Since big screen broadcasts and jukeboxes are not licensable entertainments, local authorities will not be able to impose any licence conditions specifically for these entertainments.

Jumping through all the hoops of additional local authority scrutiny, public consultation, and possible public hearings to deal with objectors, are some of the reasons why licensees may not bother to to apply for permission to continue any solo or duo performance they can currently provide using the 'two in a bar' exemption.

Another important reason will be the way in which the conversion to new licences is to be handled. Ordinary conversion applications (i.e. no live music) will be deemed granted if the local authority does not respond within two months of the application.

However, Variation applications, which must be made if any bar wishes to continue using the two-in-a-bar exemption to provide solo or duo gigs, will be deemed REFUSED if the local authority does not respond within two months.

Given the likely log jam of applications to convert to the new 'premises licence' when the Bill becomes law in July, it may be in licensees' interests to delay variation applications for a few months. Where that happens, any solo or duo performance in such premises will be illegal until the variation application is made, or unless the applicant lodges and wins an appeal to magistrates to overturn the refusal.

What does variation entail? It means starting the licensing process over again: notification of and approval by the police, fire service, environmental health, local residents, and finally the licensing committee of the local authority.

Why is this necessary for any live music, if crowds can jump up and down in these places in front of big screens and powerful PAs and that is not licensable? It all seems unnecessarily complex.

Why can we not have the more liberal regimes that operate successfully in Ireland, Scotland and elsewhere in Europe which allow some live music automatically in bars and restaurants?


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 07:09 AM

What about Pubs who have already obtained PELs - "The Cricketers" at Greenwich for instance. I believe that their license cost them about £350 for a maximum of two evnings a week. For some reason it would cost them much more (I think £1500 was mentioned) if they wanted live music seven nights a week. It seems strange that the pub can suddenly become "safe" for live music on other evenings if they pay more money.
If the bill becomes law, will they still have the same restrictions, and have to continue paying the same annual charge ? If not, will they have the right to a retrospective refund ?


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 05:52 AM

Refresh - Has anyone got any idea if the same restrictions (ie only two nights a week) would still be enforceable if the new act becomes law ? - Richard ? Roger ?


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 06:03 AM

FolkieDave: (22 Feb)
"7. There is no definition of spontaneous within the Bill or elsewhere for the purposes of the Bill. The point is that what most people understand to be spontaneous singing or dancing would not count as the provision of regulated entertainment under the Bill (because it would not satisfy the conditions in Schedule 1) and would not, therefore, require a licence.
In reference to your more specific point - it is hard to see how a regular event could be regarded as spontaneous. Those performing/attending must presumably have known that it would happen and turned up accordingly. That is certainly not what I understand to be spontaneity.
The first clause is of course to get rid of the idea that "Happy Birthday" is licensable.
The second clause catches virtually all traditional folk events. And most others too!!
"

Whilst the first clause may seem to exempt the singing of "Happy Birthday", the second clause then includes it. Those attending a birthday party must be expecting the song to be used at some time, hence it is not (by this definition) spontaneous.

Nigel


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 12:08 PM

"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" - which therefore counts as spontaneous.

There is no reason whatsoever why a group activity organised in advance shouldn't be seen as spontaneous. If a bunch of friends decidec to play football in the park every Sunday morning, I can't see how anybody would say thta it wasn't a spontaneous activity.

From the late Latin root sponte "of one's own accord". It seems Civil Servants these days aren't just incompoetant, they are illiterate.


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 12:09 PM

"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" - which therefore counts as spontaneous.

There is no reason whatsoever why a group activity organised in advance shouldn't be seen as spontaneous. If a bunch of friends decided to play football in the park every Sunday morning, I can't see how anybody would say that it wasn't a spontaneous activity.

From the late Latin root sponte "of one's own accord". It seems Civil Servants these days aren't just incompetant, they are illiterate.


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 05:41 PM

If your footballing friends regularly made advance arrangements such as bringing football kit with them or booking a pitch, then in modern English usage it would not be spontaneous.

The whole concept of "spontaneous" events is a false one. There are no degrees of spontenaity but there are degrees of formality of organisation.


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Subject: RE: further 'dangers' with the PEL
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 09:02 AM

And I suspect that a dozen folks with guitars, fiddles bodhrans etc. jyst "happening" to turn up at the same pub at the same time on the same night would have a job to persuade anybody it was spontaneus, even the first time.

Steve


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