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EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.

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Subject: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 01:02 PM

http://www.efdss.org/

There you can obtain (in pdf form) a copy of 'Regulating the Folk Arts.

This is essential reading for all of our MPS, can we please ensure that they all receive a copy of this really fine document. It will save you a lot of explaining and is about the only hope left of obtaining some common sense towards the English Folk tradtion (Wales is outside their remit).


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: Nemesis
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 01:07 PM

Sorry, Roger .. I'm going cross-eyed with all this .. where on the website please?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 01:07 PM

Regulating the Folk Arts.

http://www.efdss.org/licensing/regulating_the_folk_arts.pdf

It takes a little while to load.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 01:38 PM

I think that's quite good. Mind you it was a bit late in the day. And I hate it when people put documents in Adobe Acrobat, as here - it makes it so clumsy to read, and impossible to search in a hurry.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 02:20 PM

There is a link on the front page..........top of the left hand frame.

The links to "further statement" seems to be broken. I have emailed the appropriate person.

There is some good stuff on the page and doing the work report in Acrobat does make things a lot easier (I think).

Dave


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 03:09 PM

I find it is easier if you download the whole Acrobat file, and then print it off. It is easier to read offline and when you have read it, you can then send it off to your MP.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 04:16 PM

This from Mark Gibbens on the EFDSS Yahoo list.

Well done for Roger for spotting our new webpage during the 2 hours we were beta testing it! Here's the spiel I had prepared...
 
EFDSS has today published the final draft of its report on the Licensing Bill, Regulating the Folk Arts.  The report has already been circulated to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and key members of Parliament.
 
It seems to have made some impact already - we have been able to gain a place on the new Licensing Bill Statutory Guidance and Live Music group which the DCMS has set up.  However, we are continuing to lobby the Department to broaden representation to include other folk arts organisations, and to broaden the discussion to include dance, plays and other customs which are caughtby the licensing.
 
We have put together a webpage dedicated to the Licensing Bill where you'll find our report, news of the latest developments and general resources.  The URL is:
http://www.efdss.org/licensing/http://www.efdss.org/licensing/
 
Best wishes,
Mark.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 04:37 PM

http://www.efdss.org/licensing/


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Admiral
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 11:16 AM

For further discussion the following is from Sheila Miller who attended a Press Briefing with Kim Kowells yesterday and appears to have got an oar or two in:

Thought you might all like to see this, and don't know if any of you
are on the Action for Music network. And here's a quick report I sent to the group about yesterday's press briefing, which I attended.

I taped most of today's press briefing with the evil Dr Kim (who was
in quite a jovial mood, in fact); I forgot about the tape recorder
until after I had asked my first question, but got all of it after that, I think.

Unfortunately, it's hard to see me having any time to do a transcript
in the near future. I'll have to work that out. I was rather pleased
with myself, actually (though I know one should not say so): I managed to ask quite a few questions, and get in several points.

There were people there from The Times, The Stage and various other
publications. Howells professed ignorance of the EFDSS. When I asked
why the leading body representing English folk song and dance (giving
the name in full) had been refused a place in the consultation, he
said he wasn't aware of any request from it; I said I understood it
had asked more than once and had been refused; one of his civil
servants said he had heard from the EFDSS last week, and Howells then said he would be glad to have representations from it.

He also seemed entirely ignorant of the present exemption for members-only clubs. I explained that many small music clubs, such as folk and jazz clubs, functioned as such clubs because that was the only way they could operate, and that these were usually acoustic clubs with well behaved audiences, no trailing cables, etc. He said the legislation was certainly not intended to close such places.

There were various questions and points made (some by myself and by Brian Healy) about unreasonable conditions being imposed by local authorities. He insisted that the government would make sure councils did not impose such conditions. I made a point about LAs having ignored both the part of the existing legislation that forbids them to use PELs to raise revenue and Home Office circular 13/2000, which reminded them they were not allowed to do so. I asked if the guidelines would have the force of law.

One of his people (whose name, I think, was Gillian; no idea about surname) said that licensees would have a right of appeal to magistrates and, if that failed, to the Crown Court. I pointed out that that would mean a licensee would be financing, him or herself, a case against a local authority, which had the bottomless purse provided by its ratepayers, and managed to get in Richard Bridge's wonderful quote that only a lawyer married to a lawyer could think that was anything other than a nightmare for the poor publication. They laughed at that.

There was a lot more, but I have no time for any more at present. On a personal level, I was impressed by the fact he helped to clear up at the end. Someone came over to talk to me before I could pick up my
glass and plate, and Howells did so, along with a couple of other
things. Not what one normally expects from a government Minister.

Oh, and I told him at the end, after the briefing had finished, that
there really had been a case in which a pub had been prosecuted
because customers sang 'Happy Birthday', and told him which pub it had been (I'd overheard him making a remark to someone else about silly stories saying pubs would be prosecuted if people sang 'Happy Birthday').

Well Done Shiela!


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 11:33 AM

layContent&sourceNode=118226&contentPK=4382198>http://www.thisisdevon.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=118227&command=disp
layContent&sourceNode=118226&contentPK=4382198


Western Morning News
09:00 - 27 February 2003



Ministers yesterday invited key players from the music industry to share their views on how the Licensing Bill should operate. But despite the meeting being billed by the Government as a "summit" to specifically allay fears about the Bill, it emerged that the discussion was in fact part of the Music Industry Forum - a
routine annual event.

The meeting was hosted by Culture Minister Kim Howells, and included writers,
managers, record labels, music teachers and students. The British Academy of
Composers and Songwriters, Youth Music, British Musical Rights, the Music
Managers Forum, the Musicians' Union and the Royal Northern College of
Music were among those represented.

Dr Howells said: "We want live music to flourish in this country. That's our end-
game and the Bill has been drawn up to deliver it. We must make sure the new
licensing system is delivered with common sense on the ground. The music
world has a key role to play in making this happen.

"I believe the Bill strikes the right balance between freedoms and protections. I
am confident we can go on from here to produce supporting guidance that
realises our aim."

But a spokesman for the Musicians' Union said the content of the meeting was
"just more of the same" and offered no new steps forward in the campaign
against the Bill.

Hamish Burchill, a spokesman for the Musicians' Union South West, said: "This
meeting was scheduled months ago and was certainly not the Licensing Bill
summit that the Government billed it as."

Feedback from the meeting will now be made available to a working group
made up of representatives from the music world and local authorities.

This will be included in a report for the Department of Culture Media and Sport
in April.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 11:38 AM

latest from the EFSDD website.

Monday 24 February 2003, two amendments to the Licensing Bill which directly affect the Folk Arts were agreed by the House of Lords. Full details are provided in EFDSS' latest statement on the Licensing Bill.

Amendment 8 creates a level playing field for recorded and live music by modifying the Bill to exempt both from licensing if they are incidental to the main activities of a premises. This was agreed by a vote of 151 to 115 in favour.

Amendment 12 provides a new exemption specifically for unamplified live music, and was agreed without a vote.

The amendments are extremely welcome and EFDSS accepts that they address its concerns about folk music and song sessions in licensed premises. However, we are worried that there is no guarantee the amendments will be accepted by the House of Commons and strongly urge the government to commit to their inclusion in the final draft of the legislation.

While EFDSS welcomes the exemptions for live music, we remain extremely concerned about the situation for folk clubs and for folk arts activities in the open on public land which we still feel are vulnerable to the effects of the Licensing Bill. A large part of our concern stems from the fact that the government is not yet consulting any organisations which represent the interests of England's folk clubs, folk dance teams, and folk play groups. A significant number of activities and informal events are still threatened by the Licensing Bill, and EFDSS urges the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to involve organisations representing all of these in the consultation process. It is vital that the drafting of the Licensing Bill and its accompanying guidelines are informed by full knowledge of the extent and nature of the folk arts in England.

The full thing + the amendements can be found here.
http://www.efdss.org/licensing/further_statement_26feb03.pdf


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 11:47 AM

This from Mark Gibbens on the EFDSS list, in response to the above Western Morning News article.

I guess you can imagine my surprise after reading about the "summit" last week in the WMN and phoning the DCMS to ask if EFDSS was invited, only to be told "...well, it's not a summit as such..."

This kind of thing could make people skeptical ;-)

Mark.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: Abuwood
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 12:35 PM

Got this at work...
DEPARTMENT FOR CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT
20/03                                                          18 February 2003
"WE CAN WORK IT OUT" - KIM HOWELLS INVITES MUSICIANS TO WORK WITH
GOVERNMENT ON DELIVERY OF THE LICENSING BILL



Licensing Minister Kim Howells today launched a package of measures
to allay fears about the Licensing Bill's impact on live music.

The three strands of the package are:
- An invite to the music world, along with local authorities and
industry, to inform the drawing up of statutory guidance for
licensing authorities that will ensure venues can put on live music
more easily, while protecting the rights of local residents.
- Amending the Bill to make it clear that entertainers who perform at
unlicensed venues will not be committing an offence, unless they
have a role in organising or managing the entertainment themselves.
- Issuing a leaflet entitled "The answer to 20 myths about public
entertainment and the Licensing Bill" that sets the record straight
on some of the most pervasive myths being circulated about the
Bill.

The first strand of the package follows concerns expressed by
musicians that licensees will be discouraged from putting on
entertainment by a fear that licensing authorities will impose
unnecessary and costly conditions to their licences, such as
requesting expensive adjustments to venues.

The guidance will clarify what appropriate conditions are. The
Government plans to set up a working group of key players from the
music world, local authorities and the industry to inform it in
deciding how to take the work forward.

The group aims to report back in April, but in the meantime the issue
will be discussed with representatives of the music industry at a
summit on February 26 and at a face-to-face meeting between Kim
Howells and John F Smith, the General Secretary of the Musicians'
Union, on March 4.

Kim Howells said:
"Our principle is clear - we want to spread live music. The Licensing
Bill will do that.

"I want to ensure the Bill is enforced with a heavy dose of
commonsense 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."

The amendment of the Bill, which forms the second strand of the
package will ensure that, for example, a band booked for a concert
will not be committing an offence if they all they do is play in an
unlicensed venue.

Kelly Wiffen, Research and Parliamentary Officer at Equity, said:

"Equity is delighted that the Government has listened to our concerns
and amended the Licensing Bill to exclude performers from clause 134.
This change means that performers can make full use of the new
employment opportunities we hope the Bill will deliver."

This amendment will also make it even clearer that very many of the
myths that have been circulated about the Bill are completely without
basis. This message will further be backed up by the leaflet, which
clarifies the position on many false scenarios.

Kim Howells said:
"A host of rumours - many of them completely ridiculous - have been
circulated about this Bill. Today I am setting the record straight
for the benefit of everyone involved in live entertainment, either as
a participant, organiser or spectator.

"The truth is this Bill 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."

In addition to protecting the performance rights of artists, the
Licensing Bill will also help to protect their intellectual property
rights - by including copyright offences. The unauthorised
broadcasting of film, music or television could lead to the removal
or suspension of a licence. Equally, those who have committed such
offences may not be granted a personal licence.

Notes to Editors
1. In conjunction with the changes noted above, the Government is
also tabling other amendments to the Licensing Bill, which deal with:
- Government's concerns about copyright infringement and music and
video piracy in licensed premises.
- Broadening the range of offences to ensure police can properly
check offenders applying for personal licences.
- Making planning authorities responsible authorities where they have
an interest in a licence application.
- Ensuring that regulations are in place to govern the administrative
processes which will follow the Bill's implementation.
- Provide Parliament with an opportunity to debate the Secretary of
State's Guidance made under the Bill when it is issued or
supplemented.

2. Under the original draft of the Bill it would have been an offence
for a musician to play at an unlicensed venue, although they could
have claimed a defence of "due diligence" if, for example, they had
sought to check the premises had a licence in advance.

3. The publication of the first draft of the statutory guidance to
licensing authorities was announced in press release 19/03, published
on February 13 2003. The Government will use the guidance to draw
very clear distinctions about what might and might not constitute
appropriate conditions to apply to licences that authorise live
music. Licensing authorities will be required to have regard to the
guidance. This means that, although they are able to depart from the
guidance, for example to take account of particular circumstances,
they cannot disregard it and they will have to demonstrate good
reasons for departing from it.

4. The answers to twenty myths about public entertainment and the
Licensing Bill
- Existing public safety and noise legislation does NOT cover all of
the issues dealt with by licensing law.
Music in pubs will not be harmed by the Bill
- It will NOT cost anything extra for a pub to apply to provide
entertainment as well when applying for permission to sell alcohol.
- Local authorities will NOT be able to impose unreasonable
conditions on licences.
Individual performers will not be disadvantaged by the Bill
- Performers will NOT need to be individually licensed.
- Performers will NOT now be liable to a fine or to imprisonment just
for playing or singing.
A licence will not be needed every time someone plays a musical
instrument
- Rehearsing or practising will NOT be licensable.
- Music tuition will NOT be licensable.
- Busking will NOT be licensable.
- Testing a musical instrument in a shop will NOT be licensable.
Community venues will not be disadvantaged by the Bill
- Village, church and parish halls, and other community buildings
will NOT need to pay for licences to provide entertainment.
- Any entertainment provided in a church will NOT be licensable.
- Church bell ringing will NOT be licensable.
Spontaneous performance will NOT be licensable so:
- Spontaneously singing "Happy Birthday" will NOT be illegal.
- Spontaneous pub singalongs will NOT be licensable.
- Carol singers, going from door to door, or turning up unannounced
in a pub and singing, will NOT be licensable.
- A postman whistling on his round will NOT be licensable.

Private events where invited guests are not charged will NOT usually
be licensable so:
- A school nativity play, which took place before a non-paying
private audience of parents will NOT be licensable.
- A licence will generally NOT be required for performances taking
place at a private party where the host organises the music and
does not charge their guests.
- A licence will NOT be required for a band playing in a marquee at a
wedding reception in someone's garden.
- A performance in an old people's home, hospice or hospital before a
non-paying private audience of staff and patients will NOT require
a licence.

Press Enquiries: 0207 211 6271
Out of hours telephone pager no: 07699 751153
Public Enquiries: 0207 211 6200
Internet: http://www.culture.gov.uk

Department for Culture, Media and Sport


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: Folkiedave
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 04:37 PM

Unfortunately as usual..............the DCMS speaks with forked tongue.

Put simply assertions by the Minister are not worth the paper they are written on. There is a perfectly good demolition of this press release by the Performer Lawyer Group.

Here is a tip when dealing with the DCMS. Start off with the thought "Why is this bastard lying to me?"

Dave


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 11:34 AM

For the answers to the 20 myths of Dr Howells, see the following thread.

MP's repies to your Emails


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 11:44 AM

I place this here as it demonstrates that Dr Howells seems to be under the impression that the Local Goverment Association is a musical body and that he does not even know who the English Folk Dance and Song Society are.............

The following from Sheila Miller 24 February 2003.

I started trying to type a transcript of Monday's press briefing with Howells, and then realised it was going to take far more time than I could spare - the briefing lasted an hour - so here are some high- and possibly low-lights.

Abbreviations - KH: Dr Kim Howells, Minister of State at the DCMS; SM: me; BH: Brian Healy; Gillian and Dominic: two of Howells' civil servants; for other people asking questions I've just put 'Q'
.
I've used an ellipsis (?) when someone is interrupted and doesn't finish what they are saying, or when I'm missing out a bit of something someone says. (I don't know if that will appear to most of you as an ellipsis, given that most of you are probably on PCs and I'm on a Mac, and anything
using option and Apple keys, etc, often turns into something else when sent to a computer of the other type.) When I've missed out a bigger chunk, I've put a paragraph return without repeating the initials of the speaker. For an even bigger chunk missed out, I've put a space between the paras. I hope that's clear.

If anyone, for any reason, wants to hear the whole recording (if you're having trouble sleeping, for example), send me a C90 and a stamped, self-addressed envelope and I'll make you a copy of it. E-mail me directly in the unlikely event that you want my address for this.

SM: Dr Howells, why is it that the consultative committee has been made up of people from the music and leisure industries - ie, big business – rather than organisations representing musicians and people who love music, such as the MU and the English Folk Dance and Song Society. The leading body representing English traditional song and dance, which has been refused a
place in the consultation?

KH: The MU has certainly been consulted. They have sat round that table with us (pointing). I don't know of the other organisation you mention. If they make representations, we will listen to them.

SM: I understand that the EFDSS has made representations to you more than once, and has been refused a place in the consultation.
(KH asked civil servants about this)

Dominic (to KH): They were in touch with me last week.

KH: We will be glad to have representations from them.[Or words to that effect. It was only at this point that I got my tape recorder out.]

Q: The MU is asking for differentiation for acoustic or minimally amplified music. Any chance of concession?

KH: The problem was about who would decide what was amplified and non-amplified. If you had a group that consisted of six Japanese drummers, as opposed to a couple of folk singers in the corner with small amplification, which constitutes the bigger noise problem? We decided it
was too complicated, and the easiest way of doing it would be when the licensee applied for a licence to sell alcohol they would not have to pay any more to allow music to be played.? Noise is a very important consideration. We've been mainly concerned with the lobbying from the MU,
but there's a huge lobby out there from people called residents, and we've got to walk a very tight rope to try to encourage live music and make sure that venues thrive, but you've also got to ensure that people who live near them don't have their lives reduced to misery.

SM: Of course they can't object to a pub having very noisy satellite TV or a very noisy jukebox, because that is not licensable.

KH: This is a deregulatory Bill. We're not about to add new regulation to something like watching television?

SM: It's hardly comparable to watching TV in your living room.

KH: No, it is comparable. If the consequences of television in any licensed premises were to make people's lives a misery, people could go in and object? and the pub could lose its licence.

SM: But residents won't be informed in advance if a pub wants to have satellite TV and is going to be packed with lager louts, but they will be informed in advance if it wants to have three people sitting in the corner of the bar playing fiddles.

KH: No, that is a difference, it's true.

SM: And it is correct, is it not, that ACPO - the Association of Chief Police Officers - has asked the DCMS to make satellite TV a licensable activity because of the number of incidents??

KH: I'm not aware of that. When I met them, they embraced the Bill. (to Dominic) Have they talked to you about this?

Dominic: They did make some representations about it when the White Paper was being put together, three years ago.

KH: Well, they haven't spoken to me about it.

BH: At the moment, the two-in-a-bar rule and the law as it exists isn't really a problem. It's the councils who enforce the law, and they make a pig's ear of it, and I have a feeling, from what I've read of the sketchy releases so far, that they're going to make a pig's ear of this as well, unless you give them strict guidance. If the council are going to come down and say you have to knock this room out and have a bigger toilet and a fire escape, it blows a hole in the whole thing.

KH: The guidance that goes out will make it clear that, where there are two musicians playing in a bar now, local authorities will not be able to impose additional conditions on that licensed venue. We're very serious about that.

BH: Are you saying that the two-in-a-bar rule says?

KH: Well, in a sense, except, of course, that the venue has to have a licence - that's the difference. We were told that the two-in-a-bar rule was an anachronism and was distorting the way music was played in this country. It's important that we get this licensing system right?
The cost of licence will be between £100 and £500. That premises licence is a one-off thing for the life of those premises. If you want to put music on, you will tick a box, and the local authority looks at it and says yes or no? I'm convinced that the guidance which the Sec of State puts out
about ensuring that nobody's going to come down on music venues where there is no material difference from what exists at the moment is the right way to do it. That guidance must be stuck to. I don't accept your premise that local authorities make a pig's ear of it at the moment.

BH: Most of the premises in London are old buildings that couldn't conform to the regulations to apply for a licence.

KH: You're asking the question as if the law was different now, but it isn't. You've still got to apply with health and safety regulations. We've just seen two appalling accidents in the US, and I'm not going to be the Minister responsible for allowing that to happen here. We've got to make
sure that, when people are in those venues, they're going to be safe. If there are hundreds of people at an event, and there aren't appropriate ways for them to get out in an emergency, that's a nonsense. You can't allow that.

BH: The licence is for the lifetime of premises. What happens when the landlord changes or they want to change what they do?

KH: The licence is for the lifetime of the premises. If they want to change what they do inside the premises, at present, they may have to go to magistrates, the local authority licensing committee, etc. We want to simplify that. They may want to have different things. We think this Bill is flexible enough to allow it to happen, and it's a cheaper way of doing it. If at the moment there are two musicians in a bar, the local authority will not be able to insist on material changes to that building. It makes no difference whether the musicians are paid, or whether people pay to hear
them.

Q: What about amateur music organisations, e.g. brass bands that have their own premises with a bar?

KH: If it's strictly practice, it will not be covered. If it's known to be a sort of back-door attraction for that pub, that's a different matter.

SM: Will the guidance have the force of law? You say councils will not be allowed to impose unreasonable conditions.

KH: Yes, they will. They will have statutory power. The guidance can be more flexible. It can be changed more easily. It will have the force of statute behind it to ensure that nobody starts nobbling musicians or venues.

SM: The reason I ask is that, under the existing legislation, councils are, by law, not allowed to use PELs to raise revenue, but it's been very clear that a lot of them have done so. Home Office circular 13/2000 was sent out to remind councils that they were not allowed to do so, and that they must not impose onerous conditions, and that was completely ignored by practically every council in the land. So what is the government going to do to ensure that councils follow the guidance?

KH: We are absolutely determined that they are not going to take advantage of venues or musicians, or in any way jeopardise live music or culture of any sort. In fact, we've been talking to them long and hard about this, to make them understand that the creative industries are phenomenally important right across this country, and that they ought to have policies that encourage the creative industries, not discourage them because they happen to look like a nice little earner for a bit.

Some councils are very worried about the cumulative effect when you've got lots and lots of venues very close together. My answer to them has been this: I went out on a night shift with the Manchester police, and we went to Peter Street, where there are 150,000 people boozing every Friday and Saturday night, and where three or four years ago it was like a battle zone. One of the things they told me was that most of the violence that takes place, and most of the problems, are not associated with music venues. They're associated with areas where there is no mix of venue, where you've got vertical drinking establishments. Some restaurants that might have some music in them were withdrawing from the city centre, because their clientele felt intimidated by 150,000 18- to 24-year-olds who get plastered. They say the parts of the city with the fewest problems are
those with most music venues in them.

Q: Who's on the working group?

KH: Our music industry adviser is talking to a lot of people in the music industry. We've got the British Beer and Pub Assoc, the Arts Council of GB, the Arts Council of Wales and the Local Govt Assoc. We've invited lots of others, but it's early days yet. We want to ensure that any situation that exists at the moment, where there are two musicians, doesn't get trodden on by some zealous local authority that thinks there's a chance to close it down. We hope there will be representatives from the Musicians' Union, and every other body that's concerned with live music - and this outfit you were telling me about, which Dominic says he's been talking to [gesturing towards me - ie, the EFDSS].

Q: Would there be any kind of appeal procedure, if the council was being over-zealous?

KH: They can appeal to the magistrates' court.

Gillian (adviser): And the magistrates will be able to point to the guidance from the Sec of State; the council is under a statutory obligation to have regard to this. They can disregard the guidance if they think there is a good reason for doing so, but they have to give written reasons for
that. If the applicant doesn't like that reason, they can appeal to the magistrates and, if necessary, to the Crown Court.

SM: But taking it to a higher court than the magistrates would involve a lot more expense. You're talking about a licensee, who has a limited amount of money, taking on a local authority, which has a bottomless purse provided by its ratepayers. As one lawyer I've been in touch with said,
only a lawyer married to a lawyer could think that was anything other than a nightmare for the poor publication. (Laughter from KH and civil servants)

Q: The guidance has the force of law and can be amended very easily?

KH: Nothing is ever easy.

Q: Relatively easily, as opposed to taking it through the House? What system of scrutiny will there be for changes? You're setting out from a very benign position, but what's to stop another administration from coming in and using it less benignly? And the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has said that the exemption for churches could be an abuse of the human rights of other people and organisations.

KH: We've looked at the Joint Committee's views very carefully, and we've listened to a lot of musicians, who were concerned that they might be criminalised by the Bill. We've put that one right, and I think we've got it right now. I hope that the action that we've taken on churches, village
halls and so on will address the other concerns they had.

Q: You say the Bill should encourage live music in this country. Have you done any research on what the effect on live music is likely to be?

KH: We think it's going to reduce the costs [to the venues] very substantially - £1.9bn, I think. We've been talking to the Local Government Association, trying to encourage them to understand the importance of music - not just music, but lots of forms of creative expression - and that it
shouldn't be seen as some kind of burden, but ought to be seen as a way of developing the economy. I would think that the Stereophonics and the Manic Street Preachers between them have probably earned more than the British Steel Corporation has earned in Wales in the past 10 years.

KH: We're looking for Royal Assent in July this year. It should be implemented 12 months after that.

BH: Will this consultative committee be asking us for our opinions?

KH: If you want to give us your opinion, we'll be very glad to get it. (Then talked at length about the Broadcasting Bill having been scrutinised before it came before Parliament, and how much better a way of doing it that was.)

BH: Is there no possibility of an exemption for very small venues that don't hold more than, say, 50 people?

KH: No.

SM: A lot of us were very pleased about the amendment that means that musicians will not be criminalised. I have two points on that. One is that I understand from various lawyers that, if one of those musicians organises that - for example, a bandleader - or if someone organises the event?

KH: If someone is part of the management of a venue, and they don't apply for a licence when a big band is going to play there, and it's a big attraction, and it's advertised, they will be regarded as part of the management as far as the law is concerned.

SM: A lot of small musical clubs are organised by people on a voluntary basis, an unpaid basis. The amendment that ensures that musicians will not be criminalised doesn't do the same for the unpaid organiser. For example, if I run a folk club, I book a professional guest who gets paid at the end of the night - that professional artist cannot be fined or sent to prison, but I can be.

KH: You can, yes.

SM: It doesn't seem entirely fair.

KH: What do you mean entirely fair? You are organising the gig. You know whether the pub is licensed for music?
[Tape ran out at this point; so the rest is from memory.]

SM: But, if someone is running musical events for love, rather than for profit, it seems wrong that they should be criminalised.

KH: But this isn't a change. If your club is meeting in an unlicensed venue, it's against the law, if you're putting on more than two people.

SM: No, because at present there is an exemption for members-only clubs. Many small music clubs, such as folk and jazz clubs, function that way because it's the only way they can survive under the present law. These are usually acoustic clubs with well behaved audiences, no trailing cables, etc. They're not causing any disturbance.

KH: But the rules are different for clubs that have their own premises?

SM: I'm talking about clubs that meet in the upstairs rooms or back rooms of pubs.

KH: The legislation is certainly not intended to close such places. At the end, after the briefing had finished, as I said before, I told him that there really had been a case in which a pub had been prosecuted because customers sang 'Happy Birthday', and told him which pub it had been
(I'd overheard him making a remark to someone else about silly stories saying pubs would be prosecuted if people sang 'Happy Birthday').


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 05:01 AM

Now if it is thought by Dr Howells that any residents concerns to TV showings in pubs can be dealt with, in the way he says and without a need for any permissions or additional licensing, why does he consider that all live music only be dealt with by this additional licensing and where is the evidence for this?

I mean of course all all live music that does not take place in a church or as part of a religious service, from the back of a moving road vehicle, for the purposes of education, demonstrating an instrument, not intended to make a profit, etc etc....

KH: The problem was about who would decide what was amplified and non-amplified.

This would hardly present too much of a problem for those who are to be trusted to decide all the of the above fine distinctions.......As demonstrated here Outbreak Of Dancing

Q: Who's on the working group?

KH: Our music industry adviser is talking to a lot of people in the music industry. We've got the British Beer and Pub Assoc, the Arts Council of GB, the Arts Council of Wales and the Local Govt Assoc. We've invited lots of others, but it's early days yet. We want to ensure that any situation that exists at the moment, where there are two musicians, doesn't get trodden on by some zealous local authority that thinks there's a chance to close it down. We hope there will be representatives from the Musicians' Union, and every other body that's concerned with live music - and this outfit you were telling me about, which Dominic says he's been talking to [gesturing towards me - ie, the EFDSS].


Sadly it is not 'early days yet', it is far too late...........The danger is that the involvement of groups like EFDSS at this stage, when they can not really affect the Bill, will be simply used as an attempt to show that some form of consultation has taken place. In an attempt to add a veneer of respectability to an unsatisfactory and ill-thought Bill.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 10:34 AM

The following from Mark Gibbens.

The attached document [available on their website] has been sent to the DCMS prior to us taking part in their Statutory Guidance and Live Music Forum.

The Forum will NOT address any but the smallest of our concerns, because as things stand we will not be able to discuss the Bill itself, or dance and drama. But this is a start, and we will continue to press for broader discussions and changes to the underlying legislation.

According to the DCMS, Kim Howells wants to invite EFDSS and the Morris Federation to direct talks about the Bill. The Morris Fed. and ourselves are trying to broaden that to include all three morris organisations plus Doc Rowe (an expert in all aspects of vernacular or folk culture and activity). However, we've not heard directly from the Minister's office yet, so nothing is confirmed. It's entirely possible they are drawing the process out as long as possible, and we need to keep the pressure up.

The EFDSS Licensing Bill page will be updated in the next day or two with the new document and more news. I'll mail again as soon as the updates have been published.

EFDSS has updated its website with the latest Licensing Bill developments. The address is:
http://www.efdss.org/licensing/index.htm

Feedback is welcome, as always :-)

-----
Mark Gibbens
Development Officer, EFDSS
Web: www.efdss.org   'Phone: 020 7485 2206


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: GUEST,Andrew
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 08:01 AM

If my reading of the latest news section on the EFDSS web site is correct, the House of Lords amendment of 12 March is certainly good news, as it appears to allow entertainment of up to 250 people up to 11.30 at night.   Am I right ?

There is still a lot of room for improvement but does this mean that at least the humble folk club, pub session and small morris gathering has escaped Mr Howells' interference ?


Andrew


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 11:29 AM

The Government have not taken this defeat, or indeed the others, very well and are most unlikely to let the amendments stand. The following is the BBC online news account of the debate.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/2842595.stm


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 12:31 PM

The following is to the MU site, where a good account of the debate and the current situation can be found.

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


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 04:43 AM

EFDSS are due to meet with the Dept of Culture, Media and Sport today.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 11:07 AM

The following from Mark Gibbens

EFDSS met with Kim Howells and some of his legal advisors two weeks ago. One of the clarifications we sought was the situation for folk dance in the open on public land.

Sadly, the situation is even more worrying than below, according to what the Minister's advisors said.

Personal licenses will only be available to people who are organising entertainment *where alcohol is sold*. If you are just dancing (and not selling alcohol), you will need a premises licence - which is obviously not appropriate for a morris team performing in sometimes as many 50 "premises" a year.

We were told that the only option for such teams was to dance in places that are already covered by entertainments licensing. Teams will therefore be at the mercy of local authorities, some of whom may ensure their town centres and public spaces are covered by licensing. Realistically though, I don't hold out much hope that many public spaces will be licensed.

So it seems that even if Morris teams were to afford their own licensing, there will be no option open to them that would adequately cover what they usually do - as far as I understand it, and as far as you can trust a DCMS analysis. The Morris Federation were at the meeting with us and asked whether they could negotiate a PRS-style license that would cover all of their members. This suggestion was rejected by the Minister.
-----
Mark Gibbens, Development Officer, English Folk Dance & Song Society
[ Phone: 020 7485 2206 | Web: www.efdss.org/licensing ]


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: DMcG
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 11:14 AM

Perhaps we need to take along one can of lager which we are prepared to sell for £10,000. Then we are selling alcohol, even if no-one is prepared to buy it, and we could have a personal licence!

It's no more absurd than many other things in the bill ...


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: stevetheORC
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 11:41 AM

Shit lets just ban living that should keep the bastards happy.

Orc


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 12:12 PM

No it won't - they'll just insist that you'll have to pay for a license before you'll be allowed to kick the bucket. From what I can see of Howells et al - dying without a license could even become a capital offense !


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 10:51 AM

I have sent the following to my MP.

Mark Gibbens, Development Officer, English Folk Dance & Song Society
[ Tel 020 7485 2206 | Web www.efdss.org ]
Asked Dominic Tambling of the DCMS the following.


I appreciate that you are busy. However, I must press for a hasty response particularly on the question of folk dance in the open on public land.

There is a crucial point here - namely that such activity is not currently licensable, yet will become so under the Licensing Bill. Folk Dance in public spaces can require the *permission* of the local authority in a large town or city, though I don't know of any instance where permission has been necessary on a village green. But this is not the same as requiring a entertainments or premises licence. I have been forwarded several DCMS responses to questions on this topic from folk arts representatives, and each response seems at best to completely duck the issue.

I note that Dr. Howells has said in Committee, "We should be slow to impose additional burdens without justification", yet no justification has yet been made for imposing additional burdens on folk dance.

We are running out of time to make this point heard in Committee, so I would appreciate an urgent response to these two direct questions:

a) Does the Government accept the point that to catch folk dance in the open on public land within the Licensing Bill is to extend licensing to an activity which does not currently require a licence?

b) How does the Government justify imposing additional licensing burdens in the case of folk dance in the open on public land?


Dominic Tambling replied:

Folk dance in the open on public land is already licensable in Greater London and in the parts of the country where the local authority has adopted the appropriate parts of Schedule 1 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

He is correct on one point: the legislation in London is different, and technically public dancing in 'any place' is licensable in Greater London.

But again this is licensing reform, so even if it is currently licensable, given the stated objectives of this so-called deregulatory Bill, where is the evidence of the risks presented by it, that mean it should remain so?

Where is the Government's logic? The situation is identical to the one that existed with churches. So logically, the choice should be exactly the same choice that was made for churches. The churches in London were brought in line with those outside London and all made exempt. So all dancing on public land in London should also be made exempt, to bring it into line with the situation outside of London........

Can the Standing Committee establish why the Government are proposing the exact opposite?

For Mr Tambling is completely wrong about the legislation on PUBLIC land outside of London. The adoptive part of this legislation to which he refers is paragraph 3 of Schedule 1 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. This applies to performances on PRIVATE land, not PUBLIC land.

If a local authority adopts this provision (and almost all have), a PEL is required for public performance on private land (i.e. pub car park or garden).

But PELs are not currently required for open air events on PUBLIC land outside London.

So despite the deregulatory claim - yet more, perfectly safe and valuable cultural activity is to come under completely unnecessary and impossible to enforce licensing regulation. Can the Standing Committee establish why and what the evidence and justification is?

In the following, the DCMS at least agree that the Bill is increasing regulation, do you still support your Government's claim that the Bill is not? For there can be no question that for music and dance the overall effect of this Bill is a dramatic increase in regulation.

The Bill will introduce consistency throughout England and Wales and this means that in some areas activities which are not currently licensable will be caught.

However the claim that the Bill introduces consistency is illogical and reckless: As performance of dance in any place of religious worship (which could be in the open) will be exempt. As will performances of dance at non-profit-making garden fetes and similar functions. This is hardly introducing consistency.

The Government does not believe that there is any justification for treating public land in a different manner to other space since the issues of safety etc for performers and spectators are no different.

If they are no different, then all dancing on public land can be treated consistently and follow the Government's logic on the church U turn and be made exempt in London, as they currently are all across the country. Not by using the reverse logic and doing the very opposite by making all dancing on public land licensable as it currently is in London.

Given the above and the stated objectives of this Bill, if the safety of performers and spectators cannot be regulated except by permissions under the Licensing Bill, then clearly there should be no exemptions at all (especially for churches).

Ministers have always been clear that the Bill is deregulatory in some ways and regulatory in others but that the overall effect is deregulatory. What the Government wants to achieve is better regulation.

Long live Sir Humphrey! Than means trample and ignore the culture, let's have the regulation instead.

The Government will be encouraging local authorities to license public land so that folk groups would simply have to request permission to perform on it, as they often do at present. Local authorities would, however, be able to refuse permission to performers who might cause nuisance to local residents such as young people with sound systems if that was appropriate.

The DCMS say the Government is going to just ENCOURAGE local authorities to licence some public land.
Can the Standing Committee establish how with the Bill as worded is it possible to require (or refuse) a further permission for premises that are already licensed for public music and dancing?

Can the standing Committee establish the evidence and justification for increasing the regulation and terminally damaging our precious cultural traditions in a completely reckless and illogical manner?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 04:07 PM

"Local authorities would, however, be able to refuse permission to performers who might cause nuisance to local residents such as young people with sound systems if that was appropriate."

Does this mean morris dancers might annoy young people with sound systems then?
I'm all for that!


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 04:10 PM

So, as I have repeatedly said, regulate electrical amplification - the cause of the problem - not the unamplified msuic that is not the cause of any problem, nor capable of being electrically unsafe.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 10:55 AM

The following to my (poor) MP.

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

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

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

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

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

>Dear Dominic,

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

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

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

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

Best wishes,
Mark.<

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

Dear Mark,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regards,

Colin Manchester


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 May 03 - 07:10 AM

The following from Mark Gibbens.

I apologise for the length of this, but I hope it will be useful.

In summary, Kim Howells recently wrote to John Bacon of the Morris Federation with the intention of addressing some of the concerns about morris dancing and the Licensing Bill. What The Minister declines to mention in his letter is that it was also agreed at our meeting (on the 4th April) that he would answer any other questions we left with his civil servant, Dominic Tambling. We submitted several such questions, which were all repeated from earlier representations dating back to February. We're still waiting for the reply to those.

But before the Minister's letter, I have forwarded a response on it from Hamish Birchall.

Best wishes,
Mark Gibbens, Development Officer, English Folk Dance & Song Society
[ Tel 020 7485 2206 | Web www.efdss.org ]

From: "Hamish Birchall" Subject: Morris dancing - open spaces - Minister's latest letter

The Minister's arguments for extending criminal law sanctions over Morris dancing in the open on public land - unless licensed - are utter drivel.

It is ridiculous for him to suggest that 'issues of safety etc ... are no different to those on private land or indoors'. Of course the safety issues are different: on a village green or public park there is unlikely to be any risk of structural weakness in the dance floor, the risk of fire is virtually nil, and at all but the biggest events there is little or no risk of inadequate emergency exits.

Contrast the Minister's arguments with the Government exemption for big screen broadcast entertainment: a pub (or any building or open space) can be packed with boisterous crowds jumping up and down - no entertainment licensing required. Remember also that the performance of dance is exempt from entertainment licensing in places of religious worship, at non-profit-making garden fetes and similar functions.

During last year's World Cup, Bar Oz in Corn Street, Bristol, had to conduct an emergency evacuation because exuberant fans watching a match on the first floor caused ceiling plaster to rain down on customers in the ground floor bar. This was reported in the licensed trade press at the time. The government is aware of this and has concluded that separate safety legislation covers such risks.

The DCMS has also received written representations from the Association of Chief Police Officers who wanted televised sporting events to be included as licensable public entertainment on crime and disorder grounds. The Government rejected ACPO's recommendation. With that in mind, the Minister's suggestion that Morris dancing should be licensable because it carries public nuisance and safety risks would be hilarious if it was not clear that, on this occasion, it is not one of his famous jokes. I would suggest that the Government has no evidence that small-scale dancing on public land warrants increased criminal law sanctions.

It is preposterous that the licensing of village greens and similar places for such activity should be at local authority discretion, and indeed that even if they do licence them, a further permission from the local authority would be required by Morris sides before any non-spontaneous performance. As for spontaneous dancing being exempt, on 24 April I raised this with a legal adviser at the DCMS and the Local Government Association. The DCMS did not reply to my email, but Trish O'Flynn of the LGA did.

The LGA's view, of course, is more relevant than the Minister's since LGA's members are responsible for enforcement. Here is the relevant section of the exchange:

HB:    '... Let's assume that under the new regime the landlord of a typical small pub had been granted an authorisation on his premises licence to continue to host the solo and duo musicians that he has been putting on for years without a PEL. However, he did not seek permission for "a performance of dance" because he believes this
only applies to the sort of performance described by the Minister [i.e. not spontaneous - also in Committee Howells specifically stated that people dancing for their own amusement did not fall within the definition of a 'performance of dance']. Does this mean that this landlord would not be committing an offence to allow pub
customers to clear away the chairs for an impromptu boogie to a CD playing on a jukebox, or one musician playing a song?...'

LGA:    '... my understanding is that he would be committing an offence as Sch.1 para 3 provides that the provision of facilities for public dancing i.e. the cleared dance area would require a licence.'


Since 1976 the Government has had a duty under Article 15 the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) to take progressive steps to ensure that everyone can participate in the cultural life of the community. It is impossible to reconcile that principle and obligation with the increased regulation of live music and dancing in the Licensing Bill. I think it also likely that over-regulation of public dancing, as with live music, is incompatible with Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention.

Hamish Birchall

From: Kim Howells
To: John Bacon, President, Morris Federation
Dated: May 2003

Thank you for coming to meet me with your colleagues from the other Morris dancing organisations, the English Folk Dance and Song Society and other folk groups. We agreed that it would be helpful for me to set out the general position in relation to Morris dancing and other folk activities under the Bill.

Public performances outdoors are of course already licensable in Greater London and in some other places where certain legislation has been adopted or applies or byelaws have been made. The Bill will introduce consistency throughout England and Wales and this does mean that in some areas activities which are not currently subject to licensing will be caught.

The Government does not believe that there is any justification for treating public land outdoors in a different manner to other places since the issues of safety etc for performers and spectators are no different to those on private land or indoors. Ministers have always been clear that the Bill is deregulatory in some ways and regulatory in others but that the overall effect is deregulatory. What the Government wants to achieve is better regulation.

The Government will be encouraging local authorities to obtain premises licences authorizing the provision of regulated entertainment for public open spaces on which many performances take place where they are able to do this. No additional licence would need to be obtained by the organisers of the entertainment for the provision by them of regulated entertainment on premises covered by such a licence for the entertainment it authorises, although the consent of the local authority holding the licence would probably be required. Local authorities would, however, be able to refuse permission for example to performers who might cause nuisance to local residents if that was considered appropriate.

I think that there is an important part to be played by the folk arts community here in encouraging local authorities to think now about the areas of public land for which they might obtain a premises licence and how they might make these available to performers.   I suggest that your members should contact their own local authorities, and those in areas where they regularly perform to discuss this with them. You might also consider talking to the Local Government Association about how they think your aims might best be achieved.

It was suggested that the exemption for incidental live music which the Bill now includes could apply to dance and theatre but an exemption cannot apply where these activities are put on specifically to entertain the public and are not therefore incidental. The live music exemption will work in situations such as a piano player in a corner of a restaurant playing background music, but if the public are attending with the intention of being entertained by musicians then the entertainment is not incidental. Spontaneous dancing will be excluded from the new regime so a group of Morris dancers who spontaneously decide to dance at a pub will not be subject to the licensing laws.

If, however, it is arranged in advance with a publican, for example, that Morris dancers will be performing at the pub for the entertainment of the public, or Morris dancing becomes a regular event at the pub, then this will be a licensable activity. It is appropriate for Morris dancing to be a licensable activity in the same way as other similar types of entertainment because it can raise similar issues of for example public nuisance and safety.

I think that your main concern in this area was that there are many premises where you believe performances currently take place without public entertainment licences even though they are probably required. You are worried that in future these premises will not agree to host such performances, either because they do not want to apply for a premises licence to authorise the provision of regulated entertainment because of potential costs or because they will not be aware that they need to do so.

We would, of course, expect premises where folk activities such as Morris dancing happen regularly, such as pubs, to apply for the appropriate authorisations when converting their existing licence with variations, if necessary, to a premises licence.   The Department intends to take steps to ensure that existing licensees are aware that they will need to apply for an authorisation to provide regulated entertainment under the Bill, perhaps by means of a leaflet.

We would be happy to talk to you to help inform our thinking about what such a leaflet might say in respect of entertainment and folk performances more specifically and how best to raise awareness of the requirements for authorisations. We will also make clear that licensing authorities will only be able to attach conditions to licences, following relevant representations, where these are necessary to promote the licensing objectives, including public safety, and will not be able to attach swathes of standard, and sometimes costly, conditions as some do at present. Including in an application for a premises licence to authorise the supply of alcohol an application to authorise occasional performances by folk groups such as Morris dancers should not therefore lead to increased costs for a licensee.

I think that your members also have a role to play here in talking to the licensees of pubs where they regularly perform and making them aware of what the Bill will require in relation to regulated entertainment and what they would need to do to ensure the activities you carry out and the places in which you perform (such as the pub garden or car park) are included in the application for a premises licence.

The system for permitted temporary activities will also be of benefit to your members if they are performing in places which do not have premises licences or club premises certificates authorising the provision of regulated entertainment of the type you provide.

Temporary event notices can be given for one off events such as traditional fairs. This is a light touch system that requires no more than a notification to the local authority and the police so long as the limits provided for in Part 5 of the Bill are complied with and the police do not raise an objection, which they can only do on the basis that the event would undermine the crime prevention objective.   

These notices can cover events lasting for up to 72 hours where a maximum of 499 people attend at any one time. Non-personal licence holders will be able to give five such notices in a year and personal licence holders fifty (a personal licence is a licence granted by a licensing authority which authorises an individual to supply alcohol in accordance with a premises licence). Only five notices may be given in respect of any particular premises within a year, though I have agreed to consider an amendment tabled in Committee in the House of Commons which would increase this limit.

There is no limit to the size of the area that can be covered by a temporary event notice or premises licence and a notice or licence can cover, for example, a town square, part of a park, one street or a number of streets. The precise area covered by a licence or notice will depend on the details of the place to be used given by the applicant or premises user when making the application or notification.

Finally, I encourage you to continue to discuss the Bill's statutory guidance with officials if you have further concerns regarding Morris dancing and other folk activities.

I am copying this letter to those who attended our meeting.

Dr Kim Howells


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 May 03 - 10:04 AM

It was suggested that the exemption for incidental live music which the Bill now includes could apply to dance and theatre but an exemption cannot apply where these activities are put on specifically to entertain the public and are not therefore incidental. The live music exemption will work in situations such as a piano player in a corner of a restaurant playing background music, but if the public are attending with the intention of being entertained by musicians then the entertainment is not incidental.

The incidental live music will not work in the case described as the piano is an entertainment facility. As such, if playable, the mere fact that it is there, will require the premises to hold an #entertainment licence.

NOTE# I am fed up going all around the houses calling it additional entertainment elements, or advanced permissions with the Premises Licence - it is a bloody entertainment licence.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 14 May 03 - 10:26 AM

This is a load of shit , and that howells bloke is an arsehole,and if he ever comes to hul iwill give him a slap.john


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 14 May 03 - 10:36 AM

anyway, during the Euro 2000 football , there was rioting and fighting on Princes Avenue in Hull, The Linnet And Lark pub was smashed up, cars were vandalised, shop windows smashed and people injured, the police closed the road completely and riot control squads were sent in to sort it out, and loads of rioters were arrested.I have never seen riots at a folk session or morris dane display!


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: DMcG
Date: 14 May 03 - 10:54 AM

Ah, but that's spontaneous fighting, so it doesn't need a licence ...


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 May 03 - 02:05 AM

The following from Mark Gibbens.

Again - sorry for the length of this!

EFDSS has now written to all 16 MPs on the Standing Committee discussing the Licensing Bill, to set the record straight after Kim Howells implied we were now happier with it. The letter (text pasted below) has also been sent to key members of the House of Lords, a few other MPs not on the Committee, and the Joint Commission on Human Rights.

Please feel free (read "strongly encouraged") to use the text of this in letters to local MPs.

Best wishes,
Mark.

-----
Mark Gibbens, Development Officer, English Folk Dance & Song Society
[ Tel 020 7485 2206 | Web www.efdss.org ]
--- Original Letter ---

Sent to: Bob Blizzard MP, David Crausby MP, Mark Field MP, Jane Griffiths MP, John Grogan MP, Nick Harvey MP, Mark Hoban MP, Kim Howells MP, Kevan Jones MP, Fraser Kemp MP, Jim Knight MP, Martin Linton MP, Malcolm Moss MP, Adrian Sanders MP, Graham Stringer MP, Andrew Turner MP, Lord Redesdale, Baroness Buscombe, Viscount Falkland, John Bercow MP, Peter Pike MP, Mark Hendrick MP, Barry Sheerman MP, Hugo Swire MP, Jean Corston MP & Professor Feldman.


RE: Folk Arts and the Licensing Bill

I am writing in response to some comments voiced in the House of Commons Committee which is currently discussing the Licensing Bill. The implication seems to have been made that somehow the Government has eased the fears of the folk arts community concerning the Bill.

The English Folk Dance & Song Society (EFDSS) has been engaged in talks with the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) for several weeks, but to date we have had very few of our concerns addressed by the Department, and many of our questions have been left unanswered. It is for this reason that we are concerned we are being misrepresented to a certain degree in the House of Commons debate.

Dr. Howells was reported in the 8 May Hansard to have said, "I have had lengthy meetings with representatives of all the large morris, folk song and dance groups, including wassailers, storytellers and mummers. I took them through the Bill and they were much happier at the end of it than they were when we began."

As far as EFDSS is concerned, this is absolutely not the case. We were very grateful to the Minister for a meeting with us on the 3rd April, and that he has opened the door to further discussions between ourselves and the DCMS. But in reality, we remain worried by the legislation and have not received adequate answers to the specific questions we raised.

I would therefore like to reiterate our principal concerns to assist discussions in the remaining few days of committee stage.

*Folk Dance in the Open on Public Land*

As EFDSS understands it, folk dancing in the open on public land is not currently licensable, except in Greater London. Under the Licensing Bill, regulations will be extended to cover folk dance on public land - in fact in "any place", according to the Bill's definition of a premises.

We have had great difficulty in trying to make this simple point to the DCMS, who have supplied us with somewhat misleading responses.

A DCMS statement made to us on 24 April asserted,

"Folk dance in the open on public land is already licensable in Greater London and in the parts of the country where the local authority has adopted the appropriate parts of Schedule 1 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982."

However, when EFDSS sought the advice of independent licensing experts, Chris Hepher and Dr. Colin Manchester, we found that the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 extends only to those entertainments held on private land. Furthermore, our attention was drawn to a statement made by the 1982 Home Office Minister, Mr Timothy Raison, who remarked that "the controls extend only to entertainments on private land, because in practice there are already means of controlling events which take place on land which is not in private ownership".

Dr. Howells painted a very different picture to the House of Commons to that which he painted for EFDSS at our meeting with him. The House of Commons was told,

"They [EFDSS et al] were worried that they would suddenly have to apply for licences for performances that take place in public on the side of roads and so on. Such activities are not licensable. They will not be affected."

However, when EFDSS met with the Minister on the 4th April, we were told that such activities will be licensable and that our only recourse would be to work with the DCMS to encourage local authorities to ensure that all public spaces are licensed. Certainly, our own reading of the Licensing Bill is that folk dance taking place on public land is caught, though it seems that even the DCMS are unsure of exactly what the reality is likely to be.

To clarify our position, we still feel strongly that the Government has not made an adequate case for extending entertainments licensing to cover folk arts on public land. This position seems to be strongly supported by Mr Timothy Raison's 1982 statement, above. As a result, we feel that to work with the DCMS to encourage Local Authorities to licence all public spaces for folk dance would be at best an exercise in damage limitation, but would not do much to address the fundamental problems posed by the legislation.

*Folk Club*

EFDSS has warned the Government that many folk music and song clubs which are currently not covered by entertainments licensing might become so under the new Bill.

Many such clubs currently operate as private, members only clubs where attendees have to join at least 48 hours before benefiting from any entertainment. By doing so, we believe there is no requirement for them to have a Public Entertainments Licence. Under the proposed Licensing Bill, there will be no such get-out, and the majority of England's 400 folk clubs could become licensable.

I am sorry to have to say that since first submitting this concern to the DCMS in February, EFDSS has had no answer. In view of this lack of response, EFDSS can only reiterate its earlier questions:

As we understand it, the Health and Safety at Work Act, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, and the Environmental Protection Act all currently provide adequate controls for small scale music and dance performances.

1.How does the Government feel that folk clubs will be affected by the Licensing Bill?

2.Why is current, subsisting legislation deficient with regard to folk clubs?

3.What is the pressing social need to extend entertainments licensing regulations to cover folk clubs when broadcast football matches and loud recorded music in pubs remains exempt?

4.Does the Government feel that folk clubs are an acceptable casualty in the pursuit of its other licensing objectives?


*Recommendations*

*Automatic Small-Scale Entertainment Permission Included with Premises Licence.*

EFDSS feels that if an automatic permission to host small-scale entertainment was included with a Premises Licence, then such activities could be covered by a degree of Local Authority control without requiring additional costs or conditions on the part of the premises owner. We believe that a definition of "small-scale entertainment" shouldn't be difficult to draw up, but should certainly include unamplified music and song, as well as folk dance which is accompanied by acoustic music.

This is not so much an attempt at making folk arts a special case, but more a recognition that there is no evidence to suggest that such activities pose a greater risk to the public than the normal business of a premises.

As with the "two-in-a-bar" permission, the DCMS has argued that such a rule would encourage the majority of venues to stick at the "ceiling" created by a permission with any kind of "cut-off point". In other words, if venues had an automatic permission to host, say, 6 unamplified performers included with their Premises Licence, why would they ever bother asking for more?

Of course, this argument is contradicted by the DCMS's other mantra, that it will be free and easy for venues to "tick the box" and get full permission for public entertainments.

But more importantly, the Government does not appear to have supported it's argument against an automatic permission with any evidence about the likely behaviour of venue owners. It is unlikely that all venues will ask to host entertainment at the time when they apply for their premises licenses, or if they do some might be asked to make improvements to the venue which they can't afford. An automatic permission would allow a balanced level of cultural activity to take place at any venue which is open to the public, not because there is never a risk to the public, but because there is no evidence of risk beyond that posed by the normal running of a premises.

*Exemption for Folk Dance and Drama in the Open Air*

Small-scale folk dance in the open does not require licensing as public entertainment any more than an informal cricket or football game in the open. Moreover, it is likely to be significantly damaged by being made "regulated entertainment".

EFDSS cannot accept the argument, made by Dr. Howells in a recent letter to the Morris Federation, that there is ... [no] justification for treating public land outdoors in a different manner to other places since the issues of safety etc for performers and spectators are no different to those on private land or indoors. Of course the safety issues are different: on a village green or public park there is unlikely to be any risk of structural weakness in the dance floor, the risk of fire is practically nil, and at all but the biggest events there is little or no risk of inadequate emergency exits.

We also note with some disappointment that whilst discussing amendment No. 383 on 8th April, the House of Commons Standing Committee decided that it was impossible to create a definition of folk dance that could cause it to be exempt from entertainments licensing. Dr. Howells said, "Defining this sort of activity is fraught with difficulty and provides grounds by itself for rejecting amendment No. 383."

We feel that it would be quite possible to arrive at an exemption for folk dance and drama which would reflect the fact that such activities pose little or no risk to the public. If the Government feels strongly the need to extend entertainments licensing to cover public as well as private land, an exemption for folk dance could use as a basis the fact that it is almost always accompanied by unamplified instruments.

An exemption worded along the lines of 'a performance of dance in the open air which is accompanied by live, unamplified music', would seem to address many of the concerns of all sides. Without amplified music, any dancing in the open is necessarily limited to the immediate area of the musicians, and is highly unlikely to cause a public nuisance.

Likewise, an exemption for folk drama such as mummers' plays and pace-egging could easily focus on their non-amplified and non-staged nature, without the need to define "what is folk" - something even EFDSS finds tricky!

It is also possible to imagine amendments which would focus on measured noise levels, or the number of people present in the audience. Either or even a combination of these factors could easily be used to distinguish between folk dance in the open and other forms of entertainment which the Government has said it wants to licence, such as the "rock concert on a village green".

As long as any exemption avoids treating folk arts as a special case, and focuses on the the fact that there are some activities which simply do not require licensing control, exemptions for small-scale community dance and drama in the open should not prove impossible to the Government's skilled legislators.

*Ability for Local Authorities not to require licenses where inappropriate*

The majority of folk arts events in England are small-scale and simply do not require licensing as forms of public entertainment. The Government has shown absolutely no evidence to the contrary, and anybody who has seen a morris team performing in a town square, or has been at a pub while a folk session is taking place, would understand that the only purpose that entertainments licensing can serve in such situations is to generate revenue for local authorities.

However, it is our experience that local authorities do not pick and choose when it comes to legislation. In fact, it is surely their duty to apply the law to the letter. We believe that local authorities will be extremely unlikely to allow folk arts events which they know about to go unlicensed. Mummers who have traditionally performed at the Red Lion in Cerne Abbas found last year that they were not allowed to stage their play in the pub because the local authority had become aware of the event and had to enforce the letter of the law. The suggestion that the authority might have been able to turn a blind eye to small-scale events that should not need licensing was dismissed by Jill Haines, chairwoman of the West Dorset District Council. On the Radio 4 Today programme, she stressed that the authority "could not turn a blind eye" to any licensable events.

Given the difficulties clearly faced by Local Authorities in interpreting legislation, coupled with the "one size fits all" approach which the Licensing Bill takes, EFDSS would like to suggest an amendment to the Licensing Bill which allowed local authorities, where appropriate, to decide that a particular event, though technically licensable, could be given discretionary exemption from entertainments licensing on the grounds that it clearly doesn't need licensing. Local Authorities may well want to seek the advice of local fire and police services before taking such a decision, but if they were allowed by law to rule in this way, many small-scale folk arts events could be protected from being licensed out of existence.


In summary, I must stress that EFDSS remains very concerned about the effects of the Licensing Bill on the folk arts. The DCMS has provided practically no reassurance to date, nor have they explained why any of the activities we are concerned about will not be affected by the Bill. Furthermore, they have provided no evidence to support their case for extending entertainments licensing to catch most folk arts activities.

I hope this letter has provided you with some helpful advice as regards amending the Bill to ensure that England's traditional arts are not adversely affected by it.

I am of course available should you have any further questions.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Gibbens
Development Officer, EFDSS

'Phone:      020 7485 2206
Email:      mark.gibbens@efdss.org

--- Letter Ends ---


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jul 03 - 02:44 AM

This from The English Folk Dance and Song Society

The following letter has today been sent to Lord Redesdale and other key members of the House of Lords for Thursday's discussion. Please feel free (nay encouraged) to use the text in your own representations to MPs/Lords/etc.

Best wishes,
Mark.



Dear Lord Redesdale,

The British Government, and particularly the Department for Culture,
Media and Sport, surely have a duty to protect and encourage our
traditional and folk artforms which are a vital part of our cultural
heritage. However, the Licensing Bill looks likely to undermine this
kind of cultural activity in a number of ways.

Certainly it is true that current legislation is not at all supportive of the folk arts  there have been many recent cases of mummers plays and folk sessions threatened by a combination of one-size-fits-all laws and unsympathetic local authorities. However, the Government's line on the Licensing Bill to date seems to be that because something is wrongly caught by licensing laws at present there is every justification to maintain or even extend licensing legislation.

So far, nobody in the Government or the DCMS has been able to explain
why folk arts require licensing. There is no evidence of crime, disorder or harm to children in connection with folk arts  in fact folk arts tend to encourage the very opposite of all these things.

The folk arts community and most of the music industry cannot understand why it is beyond the skill of this Government to introduce legislation which licenses the things which need licensing and leaves alone the things which do not.

As things stand, this is how the Licensing Bill will affect the folk arts:

1.If regular or advertised, over 10,000 informal folk music sessions and singarounds will need to be licensed.

2.Over 11,000 folk dance and play events each year will require
licensing wherever they take place  not just on private land as is
currently the case outside of London.

3.Around 400 folk music and song clubs will become licensable for the
first time.

4.Anybody organising the above activities will be criminally liable  a significant addition to current laws.

Indeed, it is the fourth point that is particularly worrying. The notion that the organising committee of a team of 6 folk dancers and a musician would be criminals if the team danced in a public park or on a village green which was not licensed for regulated entertainment is quite disturbing, whether or not the local authority is, in practice, likely to press charges for such a minor event.

The facts are simple. The vast majority of folk dance takes place out of doors where there is no greater risk to the public than an informal game of football in the park. In all cases, folk music and song sessions in pubs (advertised or not) pose no greater risks than the normal business of a licensed premises.

The Government urgently needs to take on board these facts and pass a
Licensing Bill which reflects them. The folk arts community are utterly bewildered by suggestions that exemptions for outdoor folk dance would also exempt strip-clubs, or that exemptions for informal music and song sessions would also exempt screenings of porn-films to children. It is surely not impossible to draw legal distinctions between these things.

Please, for the sake of Britain's cultural traditions, do all you can to ensure that the Licensing Bill reflects the following:

Most performances by folk dance teams do not require licensing  An
exemption for community dance where it takes places in the open, is
not accompanied by amplified music, and involves no more than 24 dancers would be a perfectly adequate distinction.

Folk music and song sessions do not need licensing  These activities
pose no greater risk to the public than the normal business of a
licensed premises, especially where they are unamplified. In fact they pose significantly less risk than broadcast entertainment in pubs which is exempt under the new Bill.

Folk music and song sessions should either be made entirely exempt from entertainments licensing, or else permission for such small-scale activities should be included with a standard Premises License.

Local authorities must be allowed to employ common sense  The Licensing Bill should permit local authorities not to require licensing for events which clearly do not pose any health and safety, crime and disorder or public nuisance risks. Local authorities are bound by the law, and if the law leaves them with no flexibility they will have a duty to follow it to the letter.

I thank you for your time.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Gibbens
Development Officer

Telephone: 020 7485 2206
Email: mark.gibbens@efdss.org
Web: http://www.efdss.org/licensing/


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Subject: RE: EFDSS on the Licensing Bill - PELs.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jul 03 - 03:57 AM

We've won the argument hands down. The problem is, who's listening?


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