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Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.

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McGrath of Harlow 06 Jul 03 - 12:10 PM
Richard Bridge 06 Jul 03 - 12:02 PM
The Shambles 06 Jul 03 - 11:57 AM
The Shambles 06 Jul 03 - 05:04 AM
Richard Bridge 06 Jul 03 - 04:45 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Jul 03 - 01:30 PM
The Shambles 05 Jul 03 - 11:41 AM
The Shambles 05 Jul 03 - 05:51 AM
ET 05 Jul 03 - 04:11 AM
DMcG 05 Jul 03 - 03:24 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jul 03 - 05:11 PM
The Shambles 04 Jul 03 - 01:24 PM
The Shambles 04 Jul 03 - 01:19 PM
The Shambles 04 Jul 03 - 08:25 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jul 03 - 07:57 AM
The Shambles 04 Jul 03 - 07:22 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jul 03 - 05:59 AM
The Shambles 04 Jul 03 - 04:06 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 04 Jul 03 - 03:40 AM
The Shambles 04 Jul 03 - 03:26 AM
DMcG 04 Jul 03 - 03:14 AM
DMcG 04 Jul 03 - 02:49 AM
Richard Bridge 04 Jul 03 - 02:04 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jul 03 - 08:31 PM
Gareth 03 Jul 03 - 06:59 PM
The Shambles 03 Jul 03 - 06:34 PM
Ferret 03 Jul 03 - 06:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jul 03 - 04:11 PM
The Shambles 03 Jul 03 - 02:53 PM
ET 03 Jul 03 - 02:00 PM
IanC 03 Jul 03 - 12:26 PM
The Shambles 03 Jul 03 - 12:25 PM
IanC 03 Jul 03 - 12:24 PM
The Shambles 03 Jul 03 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,ET 03 Jul 03 - 09:17 AM
GUEST 03 Jul 03 - 08:27 AM
Richard Bridge 03 Jul 03 - 08:21 AM
The Shambles 03 Jul 03 - 05:17 AM
The Shambles 03 Jul 03 - 05:05 AM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Jul 03 - 07:26 PM
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McGrath of Harlow 02 Jul 03 - 03:19 PM
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The Shambles 02 Jul 03 - 12:10 PM
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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jul 03 - 12:10 PM

"For I will look forward to the day when this Government declares that the world is flat, that the moon is made of green cheese, that I am Mickey Mouse"

I note that the formula used is that "that (the Act)is, in her view , compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights" rather than that the Act is in fact comnpatible with teh European Convention. In other words it is merely a statement about her opinion.

So it would presumably be perfectly in order to make a similar statement about the Earth being flat or the Moon being made of Green Cheese, or Shambles actually being Mickey Mouse, so long as it was a truthful account of the state of mind of the Government representative making it.

However quite why the subjective opinion of a Government Minister about such matters should be seen as carrying any particular weight is a bit hard to see.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jul 03 - 12:02 PM

Yes,

Options?

Conservatives - I think NOT! The last time they could vaguely be considered as anything other than actively malevolent was when MacMillan went, and with new historical research perhaps he was just better at hiding it.

Lib Dem - Is that "Don't know" or "Redesdale got conned", or "Redesdale stitched us up"? (Maybe wait for the Commons vote before deciding)

Green - and relevance?

Democratic Labour? - does Scargill have a policy on this and if so what is it?

Socialist Workers - but what about those of us who do not live in Hampstead?

Please don't suggest NF or UK independence, or BNP.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Jul 03 - 11:57 AM

FAO Paul Evans, Clerk to the JCHR
Jean Corston
JCHR Members

Licensing Bill.

Dear Madam

I am concerned that The Secretary of State will state that the Licensing Bill (as it stands) will be declared to be compatible with Human Rights legislation, as I greatly fear that it is not. If she is permitted to so declare this – I fear that we may as well not have Human Rights legislation, as no one appears to take any notice of it, and our Government appear to setting the lead in this.

The opening, and the closing words of the Lords debate on 3 July 2003 from Lord MacIntosh – would seem to sum up the Government's position towards the concerns expressed by your Committee.

There has been an awful lot of fundamental misunderstanding of the issues, particularly outside the Chamber. I think that that misunderstanding can be summed up in just a few words: generally speaking, nothing that does not need a licence now will need one under the Bill. Even the so-called two-in-a-bar exemption needs a justices' licence.

What the Bill does is to make it much cheaper and easier to get a licence where one is needed. As the Joint Committee on Human Rights stated in its seventh report, it is legitimate to say that there is a pressing social need for regulation in this area. It is not legitimate to claim that, for example, the Bill will spell the end of folk clubs. If they need a licence now, they will need one under the new system, but at much reduced cost and bureaucracy.
[snip]

And

When we come down to it, I have two things to say: first, I have huge respect for musicians from Gloucester or Portland, particularly if, as I hope, they are good musicians, but I have to put that against the views of those who are responsible for public safety and the interests of residents—"public amenity" if one wants to use the words of the noble Lord, Lord Phillips.

The Association of Chief Police Officers, on behalf of the interests of public safety and crime and disorder, and the Local Government Association, which will be responsible for these licensing activities and has as its interest the protection of residents, are firmly against the amendment tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe. I have to put that against the views of individual musicians, much as I wish to respect and accommodate them.

I also have to say that, as the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, said, we are at the third stage of disagreement between this House and another place. Yes, of course, it is legitimate for this House to continue to insist on matters of high import—for example, Lloyd George's People's Budget of 1909 and matters of profound conscience such as the War Crimes Bill—but ambient unamplified bass guitar?

I suggest that the Government have gone as far as they can in meeting the legitimate concerns of those who have been expressing those concerns. Without abandoning our profound duty to preserve public safety and to prevent crime and disorder and public nuisance we can go no further.


The right of freedom of expression, even for a single 'ambient unamplified bass guitar' player, is a matter of the very highest import – and one of profound conscience. I am not a Peer of the Realm but I consider that Human Rights in general should never be treated as a matter of political expediency – as it would appear to be treated by our Government, on the introduction of vital new legislation.

Lord MacIntosh again
It is interesting to note that the people who are really concerned about this are the performers, who will not actually have to get licences, rather than the publicans or organisers, who are largely content. However, we are alive to those concerns. That is why in another place we made a concession to the effect that where a pub with a capacity of up to 200 wanted to put on live music of any kind, any conditions imposed on the licence by the licensing authority would be suspended except where they related to public safety and crime and disorder.

The second part of this paragraph, is no real concession, as it applies only when a Premises Licence, Entertainment Permission and a safe capacity limit are first in place. It does not prevent the type of conditions that can be required, it only declares them to have no effect if these are not to the Bill's objectives of public safety and crime and disorder. If the Premises Licence or Entertainment Permission should be refused say on the grounds of noise - any other form of entertainment, not presenting this concern would have also been prevented.

I doubt whether it is true that publicans and organisers are largely content, as this organiser is not. The fact that musicians are so concerned, especially about the HR aspects, is important, as musician's expectations for their rights are not excessive.

They first recognise that their freedom of musical expression is subject to a third parties agreement but expect that if a licensee or other third party gives permission for them to make music on their premises, this should be enough. Any further licensing permissions, conditions will act as a disincentive and if these measures are not proportionate to the risk presented, and result in the entertainment permissions nor being obtained, the musician's right of freedom of expression is prevented unlawfully by this Bill.

I have attached for circulation a list of four examples of how the Bill's different entertainment licensing requirements apply to conventional paid music. However my direct experience and concern is to unpaid music making, in pubs in particular.

Currently there is an exemption for music only, where once a week my wife and I could for fun and no reward and with the licensee's agreement, play traditional folk tunes on non amplified instruments in their pub. The local council considered that the addition of one unpaid other musician would make this a licensable activity. If the licensee did not pay and obtain a public Entertainment Licence to enable it, the activity and our freedom of musical expression would be prevented on the grounds that this activity made the premises unsafe, or unsafe without this particular licence.

I foolishly hoped that this new legislation would remedy this sate of affairs. But that was not to be the case, as this Bill will require additional Entertainment Licensing Permission, even for one non amplified unpaid musician and still consider that this activity presents a risk to public safety that can only be dealt with by this advance blanket licensing requirement.

But at the 11th hour the Government have provided -given the objectives of the Bill - yet another illogical, inconsistent and unfair measure, to add to the others already contained in the Bill and commented on by just about all of those speaking in this Lords debate.

62LSchedule 1, page 112, line 12, at end insert—
"Morris dancing etc.

The provision of any entertainment or entertainment facilities is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act to the extent that it consists of the provision of—
(a) a performance of morris dancing or any dancing of a similar nature or a performance of unamplified, live music as an integral part of such a performance, or
(b) facilities for enabling persons to take part in entertainment of a description falling within paragraph (a)."


.....As a result of this – when I want to regularly play a non-amplified Morris tune on my own at a pub – this will make the premises automatically unsafe without the Entertainment Permission of the Premises Licence.

.....If a non-amplified and non specified number of musicians regularly play the same Morris tune for an unspecified number of dancers at the same pub, this is not considered to make the premises automatically unsafe.

Are there are any real public safety risks presented by either of these activities, ones that can really only be dealt with by the advanced blanket entertainment licensing contained in this Bill? If so it must be clear that the musicians + dancers present the (slightly) greater risk - but this activity is now specifically exempt.

Given the objectives of the Bill, there can be no grounds for this exemption or for the many other exemptions to the blanket entertainment requirements. The economic burden was the reason why places of public worship were made exempt from any entertainment controls and for the lifting of the charges for church halls etc. The reason why pub TV sport and music events should be exempt, is still a mystery…..As is why a sensible safety measure like safe capacity limit, cannot be imposed on all Premises Licenses.

There are, I am sure many more qualified of HR matters than I am, and I hope that your Committee will also be presented with concerns from them. But I hope that you will take my concerns on board, as a member of the public who is astonished that vital new legislation can be pushed through in this casual and arrogant fashion. The Government have provided the public with scare stories rather than facts or solid evidence, whilst largely ignoring your Committee's serious concerns or of even distorting them by being rather selective over how these concerns are presented.

If the Secretary of State is permitted to declare this unfair Bill as being compatible with HR legislation, this member of the public for one, would have lost all faith in our political system. For I will look forward to the day when this Government declares that the world is flat, that the moon is made of green cheese, that I am Mickey Mouse, and I will have to go to the courts to try and prove otherwise.

If the Government consider that the Bill is compatible with HR legislation – they should have no problem in providing the evidence for this and proving this to your Committee. I am relying on your Committee to show that there is still common sense and that principles are not just a designer label and a high street store.

Yours faithfully

Roger Gall

Attached
Four examples of competing premises wishing to provide entertainment.

[see elsewhere in the thread for this document]


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Jul 03 - 05:04 AM

Well there will be a General Election.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jul 03 - 04:45 AM

There isn't one


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jul 03 - 01:30 PM

If Tessa Jowell does make such a declaration "that (the Act)is, in her view, compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights" - as we can assume she probably will do whatever reservations the Joint Committee on Human Rights may express - what is the procedure for legally challenging this assertion on her part?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Jul 03 - 11:41 AM

URGENT

The following from Hamish Birchall.


When the Licensing Act 2003 is finally published, Secretary of State Tessa Jowell has to make a statement on the front of the Act that it is, in her view, compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Personally, I cannot see how the Act is compatible with musicians' right to freedom of expression. How can it be proportionate that even unamplified solo performance remains illegal unless licensed, but you can pack 'em in with big screens and a powerful PA?

The Joint Committee on Human Rights is to consider the Licensing Bill a final time. It may still make a difference to write to the JCHR at: jchr@parliament.uk

If it is of any help, here is a copy of the submission I have put in today:

~ ~ ~

FAO    Paul Evans, Clerk to the JCHR
          Prof. David Feldman
          Lord Lester of Herne Hill
          JCHR Members
          John F Smith, Musicians' Union General Secretary
          Horace Trubridge, Central London Branch Secretary, MU
          Keith Ames, MU Communications Officer
From    Hamish Birchall, Musicians' Union adviser - PEL reform

Dear Mr Evans


I would be grateful if you would make this email available to the Committee as soon as possible.

Once ratified by the House of Commons, the Licensing Bill should go on to receive Royal Assent. Secretary of State Tessa Jowell will make a declaration on the face of the Licensing Act 2003 that it is in her view compatible with the ECHR.

However, I do not see how the Bill can be declared compatible with rights under Article 10.1 of the ECHR. There may also be incompatibility with rights under Article 8. The following will explain my reasoning:

Last Thursday (03 July) during debate in the House of Lords, the Government made a concession in the form of an amendment exempting 'a performance of morris dancing or any dancing of a similar nature or a performance of unamplified, live music as an integral part of such a performance...' (Amendment 62L).

While grateful for further concessions, this exemption leads to more anomalies and further undermines the government's argument that entertainment licensing is a justifiable interference with performers' right to freedom of expression under Article 10.2. For example, under the Bill as now amended it would be a criminal offence to organise, say, a public piano recital in a library or even your own home, unless first licensed. However, if the pianist were to accompany folk dancers, the event would be exempt.

Customers in a bar swaying rhythmically to a performance by one musician, could, on the other hand, lead to a licensee facing heavy fines and a jail sentence - unless the venue were licensed for the provision of these regulated entertainments.

Also last Thursday, the Government made concessions for unamplified live music in places used for the supply and consumption of alcohol (see Amendments 62B through to 62J). The provision of both unamplified and amplified live music in such places remaind illegal unless licensed; however, the licence conditions are restricted.

It is rather difficult to interpret these amendments of amendments, but having now checked with the DCMS, it seems Lord Phillips of Sudbury was correct in pointing out during the debate that the concession for amplified and unamplified live music in pubs is totally contradictory.

The amendments appear to mean that a bar licensed for amplified live music will not, initially, be subject to noise conditions and, if granted 24-hour opening, the music could go on all night.

This is quite obviously incompatible with residents' rights to a quiet night's sleep under Article 8 of the ECHR. However, a pub licensed only for unamplified live music has a performance time constraint: performance is prohibited between midnight and 8am.

I would add some comments about three of the four licensing objectives:

Public safety
The Government justifies its position with repeated claims about the inadequacy of public safety and fire safety legislation where entertainment is provided, even at the smallest scale.

Yet the Government has never produced any evidence from a qualified authority setting out how this legislation is deficient such that entertainment licensing is the only means to ensure public safety. Indeed, in their statements Government Ministers appear to have relied on uncorroborated assertions made by unqualified civil servants within the DCMS.

By contrast, the Musicians' Union, together with the Arts Council, has provided at least two detailed reports by a lawyer with health and safety expertise, and one statement from a former Home Office entertainment safety expert, to the effect that existing legislation is indeed adequate to allow an exemption for small-scale performance.

Furthermore, senior officials at the Local Authority Unit of the Health and Safety Executive confirmed last week that risks arising from trailing cables, for example, should be covered in workplaces irrespective of licensing. (I attach the email response from the official concerned.) Officials at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Department responsible for the new fire safety laws due to come into force in 2004, have also said that under the new fire safety laws licence conditions should not be necessary (contact Andy Jack, ODPM: 020 7944 6632).

Noise
The Committee will be aware by now that there is no evidence of a significant noise problem caused by live music. The overwhelming majority of noise complaints associated with pubs and clubs are caused by noisy people outside.

There are in addition very strong powers available to local authorities and the police to deal with noise emanating from within bars and pubs etc, although it is probably true that there are inadequate resources with which to implement these powers.

Throughout this debate the Government notably avoided mention of the noise data and comment provided by the MU (from the Noise Abatement Society, UK Noise Association, Residents' Associations in Soho and Covent Garden, Institute of Alcohol Studies and so on).

Earlier in the year the DCMS instead selectively and inaccurately quoted from an unpublished document by the Institute of Acoustics, not even identifying the title, in a manner which suggested that live music was top of the list of sources of complaint.

The President of the IoA subsequently wrote to Tessa Jowell objecting to the way in which their publication had been used without their permission. The IoA document, the 'Good Practice Guide on the Control of Noise from Pubs and Clubs', was finally published in March 2003. It does list noise from amplified and unamplified music as a source of complaint, but it also states:

'Noise disturbance can also arise from televised sporting events, which are often relayed at high volume and can be accompanied by patrons cheering, shouting and singing.' [p5, para 3.4]

That sentence was present in the draft IoA document quoted by the DCMS, and yet it did not appear in the DCMS publications and letters sent to MPs and the public concerning the purpose of and justification for the entertainment licensing provisions in the Licensing Bill.

Crime and disorder
Again, during last week's debate, Government Minister Lord McIntosh put forward the following justification for licensing live music:
'... because of public concern over drugs, guns and extreme right-wing bands who excite the audience to racist violence as part of their act.'

It is perhaps significant that this rather dramatic announcement should be made at the 11th hour of the licensing debate. The issues raised are of course matters of serious concern, but it is hard to understand how such problems relate to chamber musicians performing in libraries and other public places, or folk musicians in bars, who are also caught by the licensing regime.

In fact, ACPO's representative on the Licensing Advisory Group has confirmed that most of the problems described by Lord McIntosh occur in premises that are already licensed for entertainment. The Government has provided no evidence of any crime and disorder associated with the two performer exemption in licensed premises, or from private events raising money for charity or any of the other currently exempt events.

On the other hand, the police made written representations to the DCMS last November stating that televised sporting events are 'quite frequently a source of disorder' and should therefore be declared on the operating schedules that must accompany licence applications. Only licensable entertainments are required to be declared on these schedules.

Conclusion

On 26 June 2003, Richard Caborn, the new Culture Minister with responsibility for licensing, wrote a letter to Dennis Skinner MP explaining, among other things, why the Government exempted public places of religious worship:

'The approach set out in the Licensing Bill reflects the current exemption for places of public religious worship in relation to the provision of music outside Greater London, and at the same time brings Greater London within this exemption, thereby removing the artificial geographical distinction currently drawn in this aspect of the licensing regime.

This approach has been approved by both Houses of Parliament. To remove this exemption without any evidence of a public interest reason to do so would, in our view, raise issues concerning the compatibility of the provisions with the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and would appear to be contary to the public interest.'
[Richard Caborn to Dennis Skinner, 26 June 2003, ref: CO3/04325/02468/mk. My emphasis]

Mr Caborn's argument could equally be applied to other current PEL exemptions. The Government has provided no evidence of 'a public interest reason' to abolish the 'two in a bar' exemption, or any other existing entertainment licensing exemption. In the absence of such evidence, or indeed any credible argument that small-scale performance which finishes at a reasonable hour requires entertainment licensing, the increased licensing control proposed in the Licensing Bill has surely no legitimate basis.

The reference to an 'artificial geographical distinction' is also significant. Account must therefore be taken of the situation in Scotland, where exactly the same safety and noise laws apply as in England and Wales. In bars and other places licensed for the sale and consumption of alcohol in Scotland no entertainment licence for live music is required provided the music is secondary to the main business, and finishes within 'permitted hours'.

The DCMS has claimed that Scotland is different because licensing boards have powers to impose conditions. But licensing justices in England and Wales have similar powers (under s.4 of the Licensing Act 1964). According to Jack Cummins, editor of 'Scottish Licensing - Law and Practice', no prior conditions have ever been applied to the provision of live music in this context in Scotland.

I would be grateful if the Committee would consider whether, in view of the above, it is appropriate for the Bill to be declared compatible with rights under Article 10.1 of the ECHR.

Yours sincerely

Hamish Birchall


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Jul 03 - 05:51 AM

On the second saturday they play for the WI at the Church hall, are paid but are EXEMPT from licence and conditions.

As a correction to the above example - I think Terry meant this to apply to an entertainment in a church or place of public worship - rather than church or village halls. The former would not need any licensing contols whereas the latter would need the licence but not have to pay.

The following has been seen and approved - so although longer it is problably a better list of examples to distribute.

Four examples of competing premises wishing to provide entertainment.

Is the Government justified in claiming that the Licensing Bill is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, and is a deregulated and fair licensing system that will encourage music making?

Looking for the moment at conventional paid entertainment only, let us question the differences and the possible effects of the following four examples of premises competing to provide a commercial concert every week:

1:   A place of religious worship (i.e. any church):
No requirement for additional permissions and possible conditions or modifications in order to provide licensable live entertainment.
No requirement for a Premises Licence.
No requirement for the one-off Premises Licence application fee.
No requirement for an Annual Inspection.
No requirement for Annual inspection Charges.
* See note below - re Personal Licenses and application fee.

2:   A church or village hall:
A requirement for additional permissions and possible conditions or modifications in order to provide licensable live entertainment.
A requirement for a Premises Licence.
No requirement for the one-off Premises Licence application fee.
A requirement for an Annual Inspection.
No requirement for Annual Inspection Charges.
*See note below - re Personal Licenses and application fee.

3:   A coffee bar or other premises not serving alcohol:
A requirement for additional permissions and possible conditions or modifications in order to provide licensable live entertainment.
A requirement for a Premises Licence.
A requirement for the one-off Premises Licence application fee.
A requirement for an Annual Inspection.
A requirement for Annual Inspection Charges.
*No requirement every ten years for a Personal Licence or the fee.

4:   A pub or other premises serving alcohol.
A requirement for additional permissions and possible conditions or modifications in order to provide licensable live entertainment.
A requirement for a Premises Licence.
A requirement for or the one-off Premises Licence application fee.
A requirement for an Annual Inspection.
A requirement for Annual Inspection Charges.
*A requirement every ten years for a Personal Licence and the fee.

*Note that the licensing exemption for places of religious worship is only for regulated entertainment, not alcohol. Anyone selling alcohol must pay to hold a licence: either a Temporary Event Notice, or a Personal Licence valid for 10-years.

**Note also the word 'licensable' before 'live entertainment' (because there is popular live entertainment that is not licensable regulated entertainment under the Bill, like stand-up comedy (and TV sport).


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: ET
Date: 05 Jul 03 - 04:11 AM

Forgive the length of these comments but I feel strongly about all this. The other day on TV was some film of our new modern leader, Tony Blair soon after taking office playing lead guitar with a young rock band. How ironic. Today old left Labour is setting up a rally to bring new labour back into grass roots!

I am not a natural born Tory by any means but at least on this issue they stuck firm. I despise the Lib Dems for not doing the same. It must have been a painful process getting off the fence and Lord Redesdale has, as he admits, let all musicians down.

Whatever the local government association says about the exemption, and months ago they reported in their enforcers trade magazine that they should oppose any watering down of the bill, local authorities are left with a confused jumble of an Act with even more confusing set of guidance and regulations. Trouble is they have power and authority and will use it without a doubt. However I do work in the law and I know that the hard pressed criminal justice system will not welcome prosecutions against organisers of music sessions etc. The real core of the problem now is pursuading licensees etc to apply for entertainments.

The are many problems for them. Firstly sessions do not bring in vast amounts of income. Seondly the Act extends drinking time. Add the music tick box to 1 or 2 am opening and locals will be up in arms.

At a local pub last year following a raid by officialdome, the BBC Look North came to a session held with the consent of the licensee who had locked her pub to the public and created a private club (dubious but it worked). About 30 musicians turned up, great night but as part of the broadcast I pointed out that even with all playing their hearts out you could not hear the music outside and the hope was the Lords would recognise the folly of licensing acoutsic music.
This they did till the lib dems ratted!.

In almost 40 years in the law dealing endlessly with government legislation I have never known a statement that the government wil review the provisions after a shortish period of time. They must have little faith in what they have done.

Well I don't think musicians will lie down and die and take folk and tradition with them, do you?

Can I suggest all that read this and care copy and paste Shambles examples a thread or two above this and write to Tony Blair telling him what his government have done. I will do so. Make sure in your letter, which will go to some petty official, that you say there is no point in passing this to DCMS - they created this. The reply will say what a busy man Tony is, weighed down with great and important matters of state but if he reads just one or two of these letters his interest in music may creat a pang of conscience?

I also think we must think of publicans etc and new applications for a premise licence. Asking a few they know little or nothing yet of the new bill/Act


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: DMcG
Date: 05 Jul 03 - 03:24 AM

I've been thinking a little about the description of the events taking place on the premises that needs to accompany the 'ticked box' of Howell's fame. Is it possible to frame a sentence along the lines of:

"Music exempt from licencing conditions as defined in paragraph x.y.z of the Licencing Bill."

If we could find a way of doing this that could stand up in court, then McGrath's test case could be created if the council attempts to impose restrictions at the time the licence is applied for.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 05:11 PM

The problem with getting a test case is that the initiatve in enforcing the law in a way that sets the case in motion has to come from the authorities. And the main damage done by restrictive legislation like this is that the publicans and the companies that own the pubs will avoid doing anything that would breach their interpretation of the law.

There don't need to be any actual prosecutions for an awful lot of music be be shut down in advance. And that kind of thing won't be likely to show up in any Government review after 12 months.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 01:24 PM

The following from Terry Redmond

So what? It makes no difference to the situation, I did predict that this would be the outcome last year.

Now look at what you have achieved in the way of amendments and feel pleased.

Then look at the path you have laid to fight this law in the EEC when it is passed.

A semi pro acoustic Jazz quartet plays Pub A on the first saturday each month. The event is advertised and has to be licensed.

On the second saturday they play for the WI at the Church hall, are paid but are EXEMPT from licence and conditions.

On the third Saturday they play for the local Arts College, are paid and the licence CONDITIONS are enforced but no fee is required.

On the last Saturday they play in pub B in a Jam session with amateur musicians UNPAID.
They are now exempt from the conditions but NOT THE LICENCE OR FEE......


The words CONSISTENCY, STREAMLINING, TRANSPARENCY AND SIMPLIFYING THE LAWS were the catchphrases of the DCMS throughout....I suggest it would be advisable to seek the opinion of an EEC court at the earliest opportunity to allow them the chance to demonstrate the application of this process?

Lets keep ALL our options open and the sites running. I'll update www.does4you.co.uk on our return from the festival next week.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 01:19 PM

Events have moved on but the Bill is now due to be ratified on 17 July.

As the dust settles - perhaps we can all assemble here and work out if we are mourning - celebrating or just planning for the future.

These are the words that I have been requested to send for inclusion in the Rally programme.

Action for Music http://actionformusic.cjb.net - The Musicians' Union and many others have been campaigning against measures contained in the Government's Licensing Bill that are damaging to LIVE MUSIC.

These concerns were echoed when an E petition containing 110,000 signatures was recently presented to 10 Downing St. However the Government are not listening to reason - despite this popular concern and the many defeats inflicted on the Bill by the House of Lords.

These measures threaten the right of freedom of expression, employment prospects and the benefit that music making and dance brings to us all. Including measures that will mean that a piano alone - as an entertainment facility - will be illegal on premises without an additional licence for it!

Thanks to the TUC for inviting concerned performers from all over the UK to perform and contribute here at The Tolpuddle Martyrs Rally. The the idea is to simply to bring attention to the threat presented to live music - by the Licensing Bill's illogical, inconsistent and unfair measures.

Please see the Musicians' Union website for more details.


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


The Tolpuddle Martyrs Rally
Friday 18 Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 July 2003.
Tolpuddle village
Dorset
Off the A35 just east of Dorchester.

The following site has the following details + a map
http://www.tuc.org.uk/the_tuc/tuc-6486-f0.cfm

All events free [except Writing on the wall with Tony Benn and Roy Bailey £10 Saturday 7pm..

Friday 18 July

Camping contact South West TUC to book your pitch £20 per pitch
SW TUC Church House, Church Rd, Filton, Bristol BS34 7BD

8pm The Martyrs Marquee
Come all yesession. An evening of singing songs, old and new. Whether you sing, play and instrument or just hum along, get down and join in.
Licensed bar and food on sale.

Saturday 19 July
From noon onwards:

Singer-songwriter sessions in the Tolpuddle village hall.
Fiddles, banjos, whistles traditional music in the Martyrs Inn
Sing/around session in the Festival Beer tent
Radical choirs singing in the Martyrs Marquee
Plus the Tolpuddle Summers School discuss current issues facing the Trade Union Movement
Details to be announced nearer to the time.

7pm The Martyrs Marquee
Writing on the wall The renowned double act of Roy Bailey and Tony Benn host an unforgettable session of song and spoken word. This show will be over-subscribed four times over buy you ticket now and something to tell your grandchildren! Admission £10.

Followed by Reggae Revolution music to get jiggy to.

Alternative free entertainment for children with the Monster Massive Kids Ceildh.

Sunday 20 July

Main stage

11.45 Nick Harper singer/songwriter simultaneously steeped in tradition yet completely contemporary he deserves to become a major figue..Robin Denslow, The Guardian.

12.00 Susan Hedges- Blind since birth, a 17 year old with an amazing voice and talented song writer. Another act that is destined for great things, with a set thats hard to define Country? Folk? Rock? Doesnt matter shes great.

12.45 Guest speakers including Nigel De Gruchy TUC President.

1.15 Eric Bogle legendary Australian singer-songwriter on tour in the UK. His songs have gone around the world and been covered by just about everybody. Now hear the man himself.

2.00 Dedication of the Parade with John Ellis secretary for Business and Economic Affairs of the Methodist Church.

2.05 MusiciansUnion Great Western Marching Jazz Band

2.15 The Parade of banners. Up off your backsides and join in the procession through the village, accompanied by a brass band, The Musicians Union Marching Jazz Band, and a samba band you wont have been on many marches with this music!

3.00 Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne)

3.45 Billy Bragg local resident and Tolpuddle aficionado, the man for all seasons and all campaigns. Enjoy his inimitable mix of songs to rouse the rabble and soothe the fevered brow.

4.30 Pato Banton and the Reggae Revolution.

5.00 Martyrs Day service in the Methodist Chapel with Rt Hon Paul Boateng MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury .


Plus on the Martyrs Marquee stage, there is a full programme of entertainment in a slightly more restful mode, with Socialist and radical choirs from around the UK, and laid back jazz, plus lots of stalls and kids stuff.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 08:25 AM

Lord Redesdale:

Many musicians will believe that I am betraying them by not throwing this matter back to the Commons.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 07:57 AM

I've sent an email to the Guardian Readers Editor at reader@guardian.co.uk asking for a correction to be made, and I suggest that a few more people do that.

Here is my email:

Here is a quote from today's Guardian story by Sarah Hall about the Licensing Bill in the Lords:

"...unamplified ensembles such as string quartets will not have to overcome this bureaucratic hurdle."

Well, it's a pretty confusing piece of legislation, with last minute amendments, and highly misleading Goivernment press statements   at various times - but Sarah Hall (or possibly whoever subbed her copy) has got it completely wrong on this point, and I think the Guardian needs to correct it.

There is in fact no exemption for unamplified music as such - for a public musical performance to be legal the law which require that there in place a license covering it. (With the sole exception of performances in Church, and possibly in certain circumstances some traditional dances.)


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 07:22 AM

Pretty obvious that they cared little about music - all that really mattered was to get the vote friendly (they hope) relaxation of opening hours through - at any cost.

If Judas Redesdale (who just happens to be good chums with the Government's Lord MacIntosh) had kept his nerve - the Government would have had to eventually give in to any demand made by the Lords on entertainment.

Click on the following for the full Lords Debate.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199900/ldhansrd/pdvn/lds03/text/30703-16.htm#30703-16_head0


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 05:59 AM

With all the horse-trading at the last minute I am very unclear about what the actual situation is going to be, especially as regard un-amplified music.

As I understand it, it is still going to be illegal to have any musical performance, even un-amplified, in premises which are not covered by a licence permitting entertainment, apart from churches etc. And there is a possible exception for music accompanying traditional dances of some kinds, and the very unclear "incidental music" exemption. So far as I can see that essentially means that there is no reason to think that anyone will particularly enjoy listening to it.

I think to call this bit of legislation a Dog's Dinner would be very flattering to it.

Here is the Guardian piece on it today. I think it gets it wrong on some points, especially the situation as regards un-amplified music - but at least there is a Government promise of "a review of the effects of the legislation within 12 months of implementation".

"If it proves the bill has had an unintended, disproportionate, negative effect on the provision of live music, we will use powers already in the bill to modify the position through secondary legislation," said the junior culture minister, Lord McIntosh of Haringey.

This doesn't add up to much - "a promise" doesn't mean much in the light of the broken promiss we have had already, while "a review" can mean a rubber stamp operation. However clearly it's going to be important to take advantage of this opportunity for common sense to be allowed to creep back in.

Note that they seem to have give up on the original idea that the purpose bill should be that it makes things better, and have fallen back on the hope that it won't actually make things all that much worse.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 04:06 AM

I agree that the problem was and still is largely the local authorities. Not all of them have, but some have acted disgracfully and some of these would appear to have their very own MPs to represent their interests. But the Government really tried to ignore this fact and pretend that these bodies, with their considerable powers were to be trusted with even more.

The great irony at the end was the LGA last minute letter's scare stories about the perils of a small premises exemption being looked upon by the Lords as impartial and geniune concern.

The lesson is that a disrebutable lobby from a perceived respectable source will always have more sway than a reputable lobby from a percieved disreputable source.

The main problem with the Bill and it was also our undoing in fighting this problem was the very catch-all nature which made no distinction between the risks of say Glastonbury and one performer in a pub.

For when the 11th hour scare stories came in from the LGA and ACPO about right-wing heavy metal bands being unregulated by the amendment - our side appeared to be arguing that this should be unregulated, along with the activities that clearly did not need any additional regulation.

Many Lib Dems I suspect just lost their nerve at being seen to vote to support such things and risk the Bill and the displeasure of the Government. I have also lost my nerve over the possibilty of ever voting for them - but that is another story.

When things are as complicated as this Bill was, and folk do not have the time or real interest to establish the truth - it has been proved by this that it is easy to place a smokescreen of half-truths and downright lies that will scare people into voting measures they know to be stupid.

The TV screen issue was mentioned and ACPO's earlier objections to it being not regulated entertainment also. The stupidity of this was highlighted in the Lords - even by people that went on to vote to support it!

So we now also have a situtaion where a tune played for dancing is OK but the same tune played without dancing - is illegal. Progress? I think not.

We are largely back to having to trust to the common sense of local authorities. We had the chance to enshrine that required common sense in legislation. Sadly we did not take that chance but chose to play Party politics with that chance instead - with a fairly inevitable outcome.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 03:40 AM


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 03:26 AM


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: DMcG
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 03:14 AM

Gareth:
While I don't agree with you that licensing was never the issue, I do agree that - Europe aside:

The challenge now is simple :-

1/. To ensure that the centally fixed fees are affordable by small venues.

2/. That local councils act reasonably



I haven't read the latest amendments yet, but I imagine it still requires all premises to be inspected by fire brigades, police, local authorities, 'arry 'awk, old Uncle Tom Cobley and all, together with any adminstrative overheads arising, even when the only events being considered are unamplified music where some of the conditions will not apply. All of these have costs, which have to be covered either through charges to the small venues or through the general rates. Surely the 'sensible' local authority is going to put as high a proportion as possible of the charges on the venues and as little as possible on the general rates? As an absolute minimum, therefore, the small venue is likely to have to pay the equivalent of the salaries+overheads for all these inspectors for the time (plus a bit) they are on the premises and doing whatever paperwork arises.

I think the only way to achieve both of your objectives, then, is to try to encourage the councils to make these inspections as perfunctary as possible. But that means a greater share of the inspectors cost has to be borne by the ratepayers, (as they still have to be paid, even when they are not actively inspecting something), so that is not really in the councils interest. Have you any suggestions on how we could bring any pressure to bear on councils, given that any action we propose is likely to be dwarfed by campaigns to save local schools, install road crossings, etc, etc?

(By the bye, what are these conditions that local authorities can insist are present for the licence but do not need to be present for unamplified music? Apart from bouncers, I can't think of anything that makes sense.)


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: DMcG
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 02:49 AM

... probably unlawful under European Law.

Hamish has mentioned taking things to Europe if need be at various meetings and posts in the past. We seem to be heading towards that now at least as a possibility. So what are the mechanics? I imagine we need to have the current bill ratified first. Is an ECHR action brought straight away as a matter of principle, do we then have to wait and see how it is being applied generally, or do we have to wait until some specific breach of the ECHR is manifest?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jul 03 - 02:04 AM

May I endorse that the issue is indeed one of licensing - and more.

It is wholly offensive, and probably unlawful under European law, for a licence to be required for a human right. Some Human rights may be interfered with where there is a pressing social need, and the interference is proportional. Neither of those tests are passed here.

Let me try for an analogy. In some situations having sex may be soocially offensive or harmful to (some) individuals. But it would be an unlawful interference for the law to say that having sex per se was unlawful without a government (or local authority) licence.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 08:31 PM

"The problem has never been the question of licensing...

Yes, it was and it is. It's wrong for any Government to make us have a licence for a basic human right. Even if it exercised sensibly and in a way that doesn't interfere in practice all that much, this legislation is still oppressive.

There's a difference between on the one hand having a law that lays down a number of situations that limit our right to do something, and on the other hand a law that says that we can't do it in any circumstances unless we have a licence.

Fair enough to say you can't do things such as make music in a public place in circumstances where this could cause a nuisance or cause danger - but to say you can't do them period without a licence, that is way over the limit of what is acceptable.

A few concessions have indeed been achieved which will make things better than they would have been without the campaign; and it could well be that the guidelines will dictate a softly softly approach generally. But I'd be ashamed to be a member of any political party that had been responsible for this whole thing.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: Gareth
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 06:59 PM

Sorry to tread on any assumned posistions.

The problem has never been the question of licensing, but more the attitude of Local Authorities towards it and the fees they charge, and the attitude they take. This was the position prior prior to the Bill. In fact the original complaint was that the existing law was being used erratically and as a "Cash Cow" by local authorities.

Perhaps I have made myself unpopular by taking this view, well so be it.

The challenge now is simple :-

1/. To ensure that the centally fixed fees are affordable by small venues.

2/. That local councils act reasonably

and

3/. That the "Music Tendancy" provide a quick and easy kit to ensure that those licencees who wish to apply for a licence can do so with minumium effort and paperwork.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 06:34 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

The Government has defeated the small events exemption proposed by Opposition Peers.

The Lib Dem/Conservative alliance crumbled in the House of Lords this afternoon. The Government won by 145 votes to 75. The reason for the turnaround was that during behind the scenes horse trading late last night, the Government offered an outright exemption to morris dancing, and a marginal concession for unamplified live music.

This appeared to satisfy the Lib Dems who decided to vote with the Government. The letters to all Peers from the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Local Government Association opposing the exemption were also influential.

There were powerful speeches in support of the exemption from Baroness Buscombe, who led for the Conservatives, and Lord Colwyn. Significantly, Lord Lester of Herne Hill, the guru of human rights law, also spoke out strongly against the Government position. He warned that it was, in his view, disproportionate interference with the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention.

He contrasted the level of licensing control with the exemption for big screen entertainment (as did Lord Colwyn, and Baroness Buscombe). He speculated whether Lord McIntosh, the Government spokesman, would in a court of law still say that the Government's position was proportionate.

Lord McIntosh did not answer that point, but said the Government had made a commitment to review the new Licensing Act 6-12 months after the Transition Period - which means in about 2 years' time. He also announced that a 'live music forum' would be set up by the DCMS to encourage maximum take-up of live music under the new rules.

As a formality, the Commons will ratify the Government amendments (probably next Tuesday 08 July) and the Bill should receive Royal Assent by 17 July.

So what will the Bill mean for live music?
It is anyone's guess whether it really will lead to a significant increase in employment opportunities for MU members, and/or new venues allowing amateur performance. A positive outcome will depend to a great extent on the proactive efforts of musicians, performers unions, and the music industry, to make the best of the new law.

What has been achieved?
When the Bill was published it proposed a blanket licensing requirement for almost all public performance and much private performance. All performers were potentially liable to criminal prosecution unless taking all reasonable precautions to ensure venues were licensed for their performance.

Lobbying has led to:

A complete exemption from any licensing requirement for regulated entertainment provided in a public place of religious worship.

A similar exemption for garden fetes and similar functions, provided they are not for private gain.

An exemption from licence fees for village halls and community premises, schools and sixth form colleges.

An exemption for the performance of live music (amplified or unamplified) anywhere, if it is 'incidental' to other activities such as eating and drinking (but not dancing, or another licensable entertainment).

An exemption from licence conditions (but NOT the licence itself) for unamplified live music in places such as bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants (i.e. where alcohol is sold for consumption on the premises) between 8am and midnight (subject to review, if, for example, this gives rise to problems for local residents).

A limitation on licence conditions for amplified music in pubs, bars etc (subject to the same review procedure above), restricting those conditions to public safety, crime and disorder only.

A complete exemption for morris dancing and similar, and any unamplified live music that is 'integral' to the performance.

An exemption from possible criminal prosecution for ordinary performers playing in unlicensed premises or at unlicensed events. Now only those responsible for organising such a performance are liable, this includes a bandleader or possibly a member of a band who brings an instrument for another player to use. There remains a 'due diligence' defence, however (taking all reasonable precautions first etc).

A clarification that at private events, where musicians are directly engaged by those putting on the event, this no longer triggers licensing (however there remains an ambiguity that if entertainment agents are engaged to provide the band, this does fall within the licensing regime).


In spite of all this, the Bill does mean 'none in a bar' is the starting point of the new licensing regime. Any public performance of live music provided to attract custom or make a profit, amplified or not, whether by one musician or more, is illegal unless licensed (other than in public places of religious worship or garden fetes etc).

In the opinion of leading human rights lawyers, like Lord Lester, this remains a disproportionate interference with the right to freedom of expression - whatever the Government may say about how easy or cheap it is to get the licence. The point being that there is and never has been evidence of a problem sufficient to justify such interference. Why add new rules where there are enough already?

The Bill for the first time extends entertainment licensing across all private members clubs, and registered members clubs. It also captures private events, such as charity concerts, if they seek to make a profit - even for a good cause.

The Bill creates a new category of offence for the provision of unlicensed 'entertainment facilities', which would include musical instruments provided to members of the public for the purpose of entertaining themselves, let alone an audience.

However, the 'incidental' exemption could prove to be quite powerful, but that will depend to a great extent on how local authorities choose to interpret the provision. The Guidance that will accompany the Bill may become particularly important on that point, and others.

This is by no means an exhaustive analysis of the Bill's provisions for live music, but should serve as a summary.

My sincere thanks to all who have kept pace with these developments and lobbied their MPs, Peers and the press.

My thanks to Hamish.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: Ferret
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 06:30 PM

Trust the government to take something simple and complicate it.

In the words of the grate philosopher Charlie Brown <"GOOD GRIEF">


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 04:11 PM

"Dancing of a like kind" - would that include Irish set dancing, for example? If they discriminate in favour of English Traditions and against other minority ethnic traditions they could be asking for trouble. Klezmer Bands and Hassidic dancing...

Then of course there's the traditional jigging doll.

This could be quite entertaining. I suspect that there could well be some flexxibility introduced through the guideliones as they realise how easy it is going to be to make them appear totally ridiculopus.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 02:53 PM

Redesdale says he does not want to go back to the two-in a-bar rule where the addition of one performer to a duo is illegal.

We start off with this exemption for music only - which everyone agrees is daft - and not one for dance -

We end up with an exemption for dance but not for music and one where the same music is only legal when there IS someone dancing to it!!!!

Is the man really the fool he appears to be? Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

The Government was in no position to argue with whatever the Lords demanded at this point, and this is what he agrees to.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: ET
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 02:00 PM

Ye Gods. What a mess. Looks Like providing you can obtain a Morris Dancer at an unamplified session in a Pub - no Licence but if no dancer - needs a licence? What insanity. Labour caused this, Libs supported it and Conservatives opposed it? Hells teeth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: IanC
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 12:26 PM

also ... what about folk drama? loads of other things?

HELP!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 12:25 PM

The following from Richard Bridge urging the Lords not to vote with the Government - but they did!

I have but minutes ago spoken to Hamish Birchall.


I understand that a government manuscript amendment will now treat Morris dancing and dancing of a like kind, and unamplified music which is an integral part of such entertainment, as NOT being regulated entertainent.

It will also deal with facilities.

This is welcome as far as it goes, but it leaves a completely unsatisfactory and totally irrational position for other unamplified music - or, to parody the words of the manuscript amendment "folk music and music of a like kind", in that the same music will be subject to a licensing regime and to the capital requirements of a licensing regime if it is performed WITHOUT Morris dance, but wholly exempt if it is performed WITH Morris dance.

Just how could any rational person defend this on noise, disturbance, or safety grounds?

I would continue to point out that subjecting all other(even largely
unamplified) music) to the full rigour of a licensing regime more apt, in the words of ACPO, to "Heavy Metal" is disproportionate, and, indeed, that no pressing social need has been shown.

This will, for the reasons set out in my fax of this morning, tear the heart out of professional folk music, and most small music, throughout England and Wales.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: IanC
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 12:24 PM

Well, I've never voted tory in a general election before ...


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 12:09 PM

The Lib Dems ratted...................


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: GUEST,ET
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 09:17 AM

From Hamish but todays the day

The Lib Dem/Conservative coalition in the Lords is under pressure. Within the last 24 hours the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Local Government Association (LGA) have written to all Peers warning against the exemption. This development, combined with limited and somewhat irrational concessions by the Government for unamplified performance (licensable, but not subject to conditions initially) might persuade Liberal Democrats to accept the Government position and not to vote with the Conservatives tomorrow. The Conservatives will stick to the small events exemption, but unless they have the support of Liberal Democrats, or Cross Benchers, they cannot win a vote.

Lobby Liberal Democrats and Cross Benchers now!

Remember, with faxes you are restricted to ONE fax to SIX peers (names below) on this number (the Peers Lobby): 020 7219 5979.

Email Lord Redesdale, leading for the Lib Dems in the Lords: redesdaler@parliament.uk, cc to Nick Harvey MP, leading on the Licensing Bill in the Commons: harveyn@parliament.uk .

Draft text (your own words are best):

Dear.....

Licensing Bill - House of Lords - Thursday 03 July 2003
Live music - small events exemption

I ask that if possible you attend this debate and strongly urge you not to accept the Government's amendments that overturn the small events exemption for live music. It cannot be right in principle that live music, even unamplified, should require licensing when the provision of big screen broadcast entertainment, or jukeboxes, can be exempt no matter how powerfully amplified.

It must be possible for the Government to devise a regime where live music, alongside other entertainments, is regulated proportionately and consistently according to risk. Arbitrary discrimination through licensing which favours recorded music is bound to restrict opportunities for live performance, particularly in smaller venues.

The police have the power to close noisy licensed premises immediately, and local authorities will have that power when the Anti-social Behaviour Bill becomes law. Local authorities already have the power to seize noisy equipment immediately, or to serve anticipatory noise abatement notices. Local authorities are also responsible for enforcing Noise at Work Regulations, which can bear down significantly on noise breakout from within premises. The Government's exemptions for places of public religious worship show that, as far as safety is concerned, it is possible to regulate performance without licensing.

Yours etc.

~ ~ ~

Liberal Democrat Peers (incl. some email addresses):


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 08:27 AM

Any news from the Lords this morning? Think I have missed the live stream as they have just popped out for a spot of lunch!!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 08:21 AM

Sent my 6 - see the other thread.

I'm thinking about joining Arthur Scargill, or the Greens. Or the Lib dems if they stand up for us on this - Redsdale told me they would.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 05:17 AM

Today's details in the Lords.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldordpap.htm

Listen to the debate LIVE.

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/holvid.asp?scheduleID=1162


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jul 03 - 05:05 AM

I have sent this one to them - it recognises the stark reality that this is now a political football and many back -door deals are being done and past favours repaid and that if they wish to ignore the issues and play political games with our lives - there is a price to be paid.


Nick Harvey (Lib Dem, Shadow Culture Minister) said: '... I listened the Minister's predictions of doom, disaster and calamities for public safety if we do not have entertainment licensing for all events, however modest their scale. I cast my mind north of the border to Scotland where there is no public entertainment licensing, yet I see no signs of the death, disease and pestilence that the Minister anticipates if we do not operate the regime in England. The Government have raised a completely false spectre.'

I have never voted anything other than Labour.

Because of this Bill and the lies that have been told about it by this Government - I intend to vote Lib Dem from now on.

If at this late stage the Lib Dems in the Lords vote to support the Government, to sacrifce music and the principles they have stood firm on so far - I will not do this way - ever.

The Bill was reported to have been much improved after the Lords amended it. The Government have voted out these. If Lib Dems in the Lords now accept the Bill as stands - for this amendment is purely cosmetic - they may has well accepted it the first time.

Please circulate this to anyone who can help to ensure that democracy and truth is not dead.

Roger


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jul 03 - 07:26 PM

Just sent my fax, this time to the Liberals.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jul 03 - 05:25 PM

House of Lords Thursday 3 July

Leg - Consolidated Fund Bill (3R);
Co-op & Community Benefit Societies Bill (3R);
Licensing Bill (CA);
EU (Accessions) Bill (2R);
Railways and Transport Safety Bill (3R);
Finance Bill (RS); Taxation (Information) Bill (2R);
Fire Services Bill (Comm)
OPQ
Del Leg - Budget 2003 - EC (Amendment) Act 1993


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jul 03 - 03:19 PM

And here is the site for sending a fax to the Peers lobby - http://www.networks-id.co.uk/tpc.htm - and since the number for the lobby is 020 7219 5979, that means (I think) that the number you need to enter into that fax site is 44 20 7219 5979, from wherever you are

Do it now. And the further afield you are the better.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jul 03 - 02:55 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall

The Lib Dem/Conservative coalition in the Lords is under pressure.

Within the last 24 hours the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Local Government Association (LGA) have written to all Peers warning against the exemption.

This development, combined with limited and somewhat irrational concessions by the Government for unamplified performance (licensable, but not subject to conditions initially) might persuade Liberal Democrats to accept the Government position and not to vote with the Conservatives tomorrow.

The Conservatives will stick to the small events exemption, but unless they have the support of Liberal Democrats, or Cross Benchers, they cannot win a vote.

Lobby Liberal Democrats and Cross Benchers now!

Remember, with faxes you are restricted to ONE fax to SIX peers (names below) on this number (the Peers Lobby): (0)20 7219 5979.

Email Lord Redesdale, leading for the Lib Dems in the Lords: redesdaler@parliament.uk

harveyn@parliament.uk , cc to Nick Harvey MP, leading on the Licensing Bill in the Commons: .

Draft text (your own words are best):

Dear.....

Licensing Bill - House of Lords - Thursday 03 July 2003
Live music - small events exemption


I ask that if possible you attend this debate and strongly urge you not to accept the Government's amendments that overturn the small events exemption for live music. It cannot be right in principle that live music, even unamplified, should require licensing when the provision of big screen broadcast entertainment, or jukeboxes, can be exempt no matter how powerfully amplified.

It must be possible for the Government to devise a regime where live music, alongside other entertainments, is regulated proportionately and consistently according to risk. Arbitrary discrimination through licensing which favours recorded music is bound to restrict opportunities for live performance, particularly in smaller venues.

The police have the power to close noisy licensed premises immediately, and local authorities will have that power when the Anti-social Behaviour Bill becomes law. Local authorities already have the power to seize noisy equipment immediately, or to serve anticipatory noise abatement notices. Local authorities are also responsible for enforcing Noise at Work Regulations, which can bear down significantly on noise breakout from within premises.

The Government's exemptions for places of public religious worship show that, as far as safety is concerned, it is possible to regulate performance without licensing.

Yours etc.

~ ~ ~

Liberal Democrat Peers (incl. some email addresses):

The Lord Addington

The Lord Alderdice

The Lord Avebury

The Lord Clement-Jones CBE FRSA

The Lord Dahrendorf KBE FBA

The Lord Dholakia OBE

The Lord Ezra MBE

The Viscount of Falkland

The Lord Geraint

The Lord Goodhart QC

The Baroness Hamwee - sally.hamwee@london.gov.uk

The Lord Holme of Cheltenham, CBE

The Lord Hooson QC

The Lord Hutchinson of Lullington QC

The Lord Jacobs FCA

The Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC - lestera@parliament.uk

The Baroness Linklater of Butterstone

The Baroness Ludford MEP

The Lord Mackie of Benshie CBE DSO DFC LLD

The Baroness Maddock

The Lord McNally

The Lord Methuen

The Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer - millers@parliament.uk

The Lord Newby,allnewbys@aol.com

The Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne FRSA

The Lord Perry of Walton OBE FRS

The Lord Phillips of Sudbury - a.philips@bateswells.co.uk

The Lord Razzall CBE - arginaut@easynet.co.uk

The Rt Hon The Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank

Professor The Earl Russell FBA

The Lord Russell-Johnston

The Lord Sandberg CBE FRSA

The Baroness Sharp of Guildford - sharpm@parliament.uk

The Lord Smith of Clifton Kt FRHist - sirtas@jrrt.org.uk

The Rt Hon The Lord Steel of Aikwood KBE PC DL MSP

The Lord Taverne QC

The Lord Thomas of Gresford OBE QC

The Lord Thomas of Swynnerton

The Baroness Thomas of Walliswood OBE DL

The Rt Hon The Lord Thomson of Monifieth

The Lord Tope CBE

The Lord Tordoff - tordoffg@parliament.uk

The Lord Wallace of Saltaire

The Lord Wigoder QC

The Rt Hon The Baroness Williams of Crosby

The Baroness Barker

The Baroness Harris of Richmond JP DL - harrisa@parliament.uk

Professor The Lord Bradshaw

The Lord Carlile of Berriew QC - accqc@compuserve.com

The Lord Rennard MBE - chrisrennard@cix.co.uk

The Lord Sharman OBE FCA - lordsharman@kpmg.co.uk

Professor The Lord Watson of Richmond CBE - alan_watson@uk.bm.com

The Baroness Northover - lnorthover@cix.co.uk

The Baroness Scott of Needham Market

The Baroness Walmsley - walmsleyj@parliament.uk

The Lord Greaves - greavesa@parliament.uk

The Earl of Mar and Kellie

The Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

The Lord Roper

The Lord Shutt of Greetland - shutt@jrrt.org.uk

The Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon PC KBE

The Lord Fearn

The Lord Livsey of Talgarth

The Lord MacLennan of Rogart

The Baroness Michie of Gallanach

CROSS BENCHERS with an interest in music:

Lord Armstrong of Ilminster GCB CVO

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

Rt Hon Lord Cameron of Lochbroom QC

Rt Hon Lord Chalfont OBE MC

Rt Hon Lord Clyde

Lord Elis-Thomas AM

Lord Flowers FRS

Lord Freyberg

Lord Gibson

Rt Hon Lord Hope

Field-Marshall Lord Inge GCB DL

Prof Lord Lewis of Newnham FRS

Earl of Listowel

Rt Hon Lord Lloyd of Berwick

Lord Neill of Bladen QC

Rt Hon Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead

Rt Hon Lord Oliver of Aylmerton

Lord Roll of Ipsden KCMG CB

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy

Viscount Tenby

Lord Tombs

Lord Walton of Detchant TD

Baroness Warnock DBE

Lord Wright of Richmond GCMG FRCM

Baroness Prashar CBE

Baroness Greengross

Lord Adebowale

Lord Adebowale

Lord Moser


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jul 03 - 01:16 PM

The really frightening thing is that a bunch of people who are incompetent enough to create this botched piece of legislation are in charge of what happens to us in all kinds of ways. War, health, employment, the environment...

It doesn't bear thinking about.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jul 03 - 12:10 PM

I have also sent the following.

The Government's latest amendment is rubbish but is at least a start.

For although only applying as a condition they have accepted things that they have long argued against being able to do..

- A time limit i.e. 8am to 12 midnight

-The concept of unamplified music -

- And a demimimus.

As this only applies where a Premises Licence, entertainment permission and a safe capacity limit is in place it of little use and there are no details on how/when/where this safe capacity limit can be imposed and where it cannot.

It is only the Government's determination not to impose a safe capacity on ALL premises that prevent the whole issue being easily resolved by this simple act - as a measure to prevent overcrowding which must be consistent with public safety and rather difficult to argue against.

If all premises had a safe limit imposed - and it looks as if this is way we are going - any legal activity could take place as long as this limit was not exceeded, without any need for additional entertainment permission or conditions.

But whatever! The opposition in the Lords are the ones holding all the cards. I hope the Lords recognise this and will stand firm and not sell us down the river. The Government do not appear to recognise the weakness of their position and are fast running out of time.

But they really must come up with something better than this............One that will not necessitate all premises to hold a Premises Licence and perpetuating the plainly ridiculous idea that all and only premises requiring entertainment - will need a safe capacity limit to be imposed.

With this senseless proposal - which in practice will make no difference at all except to still require all entertainment permissions to require a safe capacity limit to be imposed - just to see if this pointless exemption to the conditions applies. And for no other reason - and only in pubs - not coffee bars or cafes or premises not supplying alcohol.

How is overcrowding to be prevented in premises not providing entertainment?

The fact will still remain that if premises do not apply for the optional entertainment- any live music will be criminal without this - and the Bill being able to increase the take-up figure in alcohol serving premises - from the current 5% - is still a gamble.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jul 03 - 06:46 AM

I enclose the following letter that I have sent to Baroness Buscombe in the Lords. I am sorry for the length of this - as the actress said etc...

Licensing Bill

Dear Baroness Buscombe

Firstly can I thank you for your efforts so far. Could I ask that you consider the following and distribute this to anyone in the House of Lords who you feel may be able to help to turn this pigs ear- if not into a silk purse at least to improve it? Or if that cannot be achieved to let the Bill fall?

The Minister for Sport (Mr. Richard Caborn): said in another place on 24 June 2003.

What many people do not seem to realise is that the Licensing Bill is not an extension of the scope of entertainment licensing. Generally speaking, nothing that does not need a licence or other authorisation now will need one under the Bill. What the Bill does is make it much cheaper and easier to get a licence where one is needed.

This Government mantra is plain nonsense as it is a plain fact that the Licensing Bill extends potential criminal law sanctions to performance in thousands of venues and performances where entertainment licensing has either never applied, or has not applied for a very long time.

Like the 5,000 registered members clubs that now fall within the new regime and will also lose the right to hire out the club to non-members - unless they convert to a full premises licence.

Like the live music at private events raising money for charity has always been exempt from entertainment but now the provision of live music at such events triggers the licensing requirement.

Providing unlicensed musical instrument like a piano for the public to play for their own amusement has never been a criminal offence, but will be under the Bill, unless licensed as an 'entertainment facility', this being a totally new regulation.

Even Punch and Judy shows, traditional sessions and dance on public land also fall into the extended scope of entertainment licensing, where it will even be a criminal offence for the organiser to put on such an event without a licence.

Even if you ignore all of the above, as the members in another place have been successfully led to do - in order for the Governments claim to have any creditability at all, a deminimus to replace the existing deminmus MUST first be found.

Small events exemptions

The provision of one or two musicians performing in 110,000 liquor licensed premises has been exempt since 1961 (not 1964 as the Government often claims). But the Licensing Bill now does away with this deminimus and now will ensnare these performances, with no evidence provided for this. For as this exemption, applies only where a justices licence is held it simply reflects the controls, already in place in the 95% of licensed premises currently without additional Public Entertainment Licences.

In fact if the brains of the Government were to be concentrated on finding a deminimus that is acceptable - rather than only finding fault with what already exist or is proposed by the Lords - in order to scrap it completely - we may at least have this small problem solved already?

Safe capacity limits

If however a deminimus is to be found a way of establishing which premises/events are exempt must be found. My favoured approach has not been a deminius exemption, or indeed any exemption but one recognising that a safe capacity limit would have to be imposed to enable this and that a safe capacity limit be imposed by way of a fire certificate/Premises Licence etc on all premise whether providing entertainment or not.   

This would be easy and also do away with Schedule 1 and all the dated arguments and confusion about what is or is not regulated entertainment. For the only genuine concern that I have for musical events is one of possible overcrowding this measure would deal with this and with the problem of overcrowding at vertical drinking establishments.

For as long as this safe capacity limit was not exceeded any (legal) activity could take place. If specific concerns subsequently arose from or were presented by these activities, these could be address without the risk of discouraging all activities everywhere by the continuation of blanket entertainment licensing.      

I suspect that this may be seen as a little too radical and the following scare-storywas (part) of the reply I received from my MP Jim Knight, who sat on the Licensing Bill Standing Committee, in another place. This reply provoked the following questions to him from me about the Bill as it stands and I would be grateful if you could consider (and find the answers) the following questions, as I am not sure they have been established in either House.

Safe capacity limits on all venues would have required all venues to check customers in and out, using door staff as in nightclubs. This was an unrealistic burden on the industry.

Can you establish from Mr Caborn the answers to the following?

·       Will he confirm that currently ALL premises with PELs have to have a maximum safe capacity limit imposed - and as most of these premises manage to do this perfectly well without bouncers- where the is the unrealistic burden currently presented to the industry?

·       In most premises with safe capacity limits and PELs - these limits can be maintained now without bouncers - where is it written that all venues under the Bill with Premises Licenses and imposed safe capacity limits will have to employ bouncers?


·       Does the Bill require all Premises Licence holders to automatically have an imposed safe capacity limit ?


·       Does the Bill require all Premises Licence holders applying for entertainment permission to automatically have an imposed safe capacity limit - as is current practice?


·       Why is currently imposing a safe capacity limit on all PELs, not an unrealistic burden on the industry?


·       Why would imposing a safe capacity limit on all premises under the Bill be an unrealistic burden on the industry?

·       Can this presumed unrealistic burden on the industry be quantified?

·       Given the objectives of this Bill - should this presumed burden on the industry be considered to be more important than ensuring that the public are not placed at risk of overcrowding, by placing a safe capacity limit on premises?

·       Given the objectives of the Bill - are the public being placed at risk by NOT insisting that all premises have an imposed safe capacity limit to ensure that premise are not overcrowded?


Whilst a safe capacity limit in premises providing entertainment is a good idea for public safety is there really any good reason why premises not providing entertainment should not also be subject to this?

The Commons Amendment in lieu of Lords Amendment 62A

My view on the latest amendment is that it is a genuine attempt to alleviate the fears that licensees will not want to include entertainment for fear of costly mitigation measures such as sound proofing. It would then be easier for them to include entertainment in their operating schedule, at no extra cost, and thus resolve the problem.

The above reply to me from Jim Knight MP.

I am amazed if, given all the scare stories from the Government and local authorities about needing additional entertainment licensing to deal with noise - that measures like the sound proofing of premises cannot be a condition of entertainment permissions. If this is now the case - I am even more amazed that the Commons have voted for it but I am not really surprised as the level of understanding of this Bill in Commons, seems to be very low and Labour MPs do as they are told.

But if the Government and the Commons has really accepted that (all) noise cannot be dealt with by blanket entertainment licensing, as the Lords largely have - why oh why can they not give us substantial measures that really reflect this view?

But the amendment does not say such conditions can't be insisted on before permission is given. It just says when they are applied by a local authority, for pubs only with a premises licence and a safe capacity - conditions other than those based on the Bill's two objectives of crime and disorder and public safety - will have no effect. It will be a little late by then.

As the pub will have already had to satisfy all four of the Bill's Licensing objectives in order to obtain a premises licence - there really is no concession. If there are noise concerns or objections - the premises will simply not get permission even if sound proofing would solve the problem. Possibly given this amendment - even if they offer to provide sound proofing!

If in fact the amendment was saying this - the Commons or the Government did not seem too sure, but they voted for it anyway.

Does it mean that conditions based on all four of the Bill's objectives and measures like sound proofing can then be placed on pubs with a premises licence and a safe capacity of more than 200 (or indeed no safe capacity at all)? Is this not even more inconsistency and more ammunition for the JCHR?

If all this were so - it will not be much of a concession for say a cafe (or even a village hall) not serving alcohol. They would still have to apply for the premises licence - just to be able to provide entertainment alone and this amendment would not apply to them even if they had a imposed safe capacity of less than 200, unless they did also provide alcohol. So the local authority could insist on soundproofing, or even say, a condition that pictures on the wall had to be removed, on the grounds of protecting children from harm.

Surely given the problems associated with alcohol consumption and young people in particular - it would be a good idea to have measures that encourage live music in coffee bars and other places not serving alcohol? Rather than creating a permanent and link and presenting these premises with the whole burden of entertainment licensing or providing any incentive for them to apply to supply alcohol?

Connecting together the benefits of music and the problems of alcohol in this one Bill is the main reason why the Licensing Bill in this form deserves to fall. This will enable future reform to be done properly.

All this is very good reason why this Bill should not be rushed - as it continues to be rushed.

Yours faithfully

Roger Gall



Four examples of competing premises wishing to provide entertainment.


Is the Government justified in claiming that the Licensing Bill is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, and is a deregulated and fair licensing system that will encourage music making? Looking for the moment at conventional paid entertainment only, let us question the differences and the possible effects of the following four examples of premises competing to provide a commercial concert every week:

1:   A place of religious worship (i.e. any church):
No requirement for additional permissions and possible conditions or modifications in order to provide licensable live entertainment.
No requirement for a Premises Licence.
No requirement for the one-off Premises Licence application fee.
No requirement for an Annual Inspection.
No requirement for Annual inspection Charges.
* See note below - re Personal Licenses and application fee.

2:   A church or village hall:
A requirement for additional permissions and possible conditions or modifications in order to provide licensable live entertainment.
A requirement for a Premises Licence.
No requirement for the one-off Premises Licence application fee.
A requirement for an Annual Inspection.
No requirement for Annual Inspection Charges.
*See note below - re Personal Licenses and application fee.

3:   A coffee bar or other premises not serving alcohol:
A requirement for additional permissions and possible conditions or modifications in order to provide licensable live entertainment.
A requirement for a Premises Licence.
A requirement for the one-off Premises Licence application fee.
A requirement for an Annual Inspection.
A requirement for Annual Inspection Charges.
*No requirement every ten years for a Personal Licence or the fee.

4:   A pub or other premises serving alcohol.
A requirement for additional permissions and possible conditions or modifications in order to provide licensable live entertainment.
A requirement for a Premises Licence.
A requirement for or the one-off Premises Licence application fee.
A requirement for an Annual Inspection.
A requirement for Annual Inspection Charges.
*A requirement every ten years for a Personal Licence and the fee.

*Note that the licensing exemption for places of religious worship is only for regulated entertainment, not alcohol. Anyone selling alcohol must pay to hold a licence: either a Temporary Event Notice, or a Personal Licence valid for 10-years.
**Note also the word 'licensable' before 'live entertainment' (because there is popular live entertainment that is not licensable regulated entertainment under the Bill, like stand-up comedy (and TV sport).


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jul 03 - 02:42 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: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Jun 03 - 07:10 PM

Just sent a fax to these peers - Lord Attenborough CBE; Lord Bach; Lord Donoughue of Easington;Lord Evans of Watford; Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld; Rt Hon The Lord Murray of Epping Forest OBE. The Pers Lobby will only pass a fax on to six I gather; so I leaver it to others to pick off a few more from that list in this post of Shambles

And here is what I put in it:

My Lords

Licensing Bill - live music

As I am sure you are aware, the Licensing Bill returns to the Lords yet again on Thursday July 3rd for Lords Consideration of Commons Amendments. I hop every much that you will be able to attend this debate, and vote to protect informal live music in England.

When this Bill came to the House of Lords some very sensible amendments were introduced relating to the performance of music, which went a long way to undo the danger feared from this legislation as originally drafted. Unfortunately, the Commons appears determined to try to exclude these amendments.

I hope very much that the House of Lords will refuse to accept this, and will insist on them being restored. Most especially one amendment should be reinstated: the small events exemption for the performance of live music.

Possibly there might be a case for reducing the size of events covered by such an exemption from 200, or modifying it in some ways - however it is absurd and unfair that we should have to have a licence even for the smallest kind of public "performance", such as a handful of people sitting in a room in a pub or a cafe playing and listening to live music.

Like many people, I enjoy taking part in informal music sessions in public houses, together with friends. As currently worded, the Licensing Bill will make it an offence for any premises, other than churches, to host any regular public "performance", unless it has a licence covering such performances. Even providing a piano for the public to use for their own amusement will be an offence unless licensed, a new offence that is a consequence of the 'entertainment facility' licensing requirement. However, jukeboxes in bars, or big screen broadcast entertainment anywhere, remain exempt. This is clearly disproportionate and a discrimination against live music.

It also goes clearly against a firm "promise" made in a BBC broadcast by the then minister of culture, Dr Kim Howells, that "so long as money was not changing hands" no licence would be needed for such events.

Local authorities and the police already have wide-ranging statutory powers to deal with public safety, noise and crime and disorder. The Anti-Social Behaviour Bill will give local authorities even greater power to clamp down on noisy premises. Imposing an additional licensing requirement at this level is unnecessary and will stifle live performance that is already struggling to survive. Over 100,000 people have signed a petition objecting to the clampdown on our freedom to make music. The amendments introduced in the Lords reflected our worries. When these amendments were summarily thrown out it felt as if we were being kicked in the teeth.

I would point out that since this Bill was introduced in the House of Lords the final say on what it includes is yours, since the Parliament Act does not apply.

I hope very much that you will insist on restoring the small premises exemption - and also the exemption for non-amplified music.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: BanjoRay
Date: 30 Jun 03 - 06:46 PM

Thursday 03 July IS this thursday! So get it done NOW, people.
Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill UK - Urgent help please.
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jun 03 - 06:05 PM

So it's ping-pong time. Here is the fax number for the Peers Lobby in the House of Lords so we can send the messages asking them to dig in their heels : 020 7219 5979.

And here is a link for sending faxes via your PC -
http://www.networks-id.co.uk/tpc.htm from anywhere. Remember Peers don't have constituents, so faxes from foreign parts should get read as well.

It means that Opposition peers will have another go at a small events exemption when the Bill returns to the Lords on Thursday 03 July (not this Thursday as originally proposed).

This is our only chance!............But it must be stressed that should we lose the vote in Lords - we are dead in the water.

So we must work and not simply trust and rely on the Lords goodwill to survive all the Government pressure that will be placed on them to allow the Bill to pass. And quickly - for if the Lords do carry on and the Commons don't compromise - The Government's whole Bill will run out of time and fall.

Personally I think that to be the very best option but it is most unlikely that this Government will allow this to happen.


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