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Licensing Bill - How will it work ?

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Subject: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 11:45 AM

The thread entitled Licensing Bill moves on -OUR FUTURE has got much too long, so now that the bill has been passed, perhaps we should have a new thread. I suggest that this is used to discuss subjects such as:

How the new Licensing Bill will affect us in practice ?
How we can get around any of it's restrictions ?
What pressure can we exert on Local Authorities to make sure that it is not used in a too draconian manner ?
How can we support and (perhaps educate) the publicans etc that we come in contact with ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: cockney
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:14 PM

Good idea David! - In some ways it may be a good thing. The Tudor Barn where we hold our weekly folk club, cannot get a license at present, even though the landlord is willing to pay - they cannot make the alterations to the building that the conditions of the PEL require - because it is a listed building!!! The irony is that Greenwich council own it!

If I am interpreting what I've seen of the bill correctly, these conditions will be suspended in the case of acoustic music - so we'll be alsight for our sing-arounds. Not sure about the PA nights though, I think there was some sort of mention of partial suspension of conditions - if so which parts?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: IanC
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:16 PM

As far as I'm concerned, now the bill's all done and dusted, we can only hope the EFDSS and Musicians' Union etc. can have some influence on the "Guidance". Alternatively we could wait for a Tory government to repeal this appaling right-wing legislation.

I'm principally involved in (in each case I organise these, so I'm likely to really catch it!)

Sword Dancing (rapper)
Mummers Plays
Pub Sessions

Only the latter is safe in our case, as we definitely are incidental to the main purpose of the pub we're in.

As regards Rapper Sword Dancing, that is not covered by the "Morris Exemption" as it's not in the open air, and Mummers Plays will also be clearly illegal. In both cases, these have been questionably illegal up till now but our local authority have been happy to see it happen and to look the other way as appropriate.

I suspect we'll continue to do what we do illegally from whenever the act takes effect. I don't think this will be a fantastic handicap to us as either the Local Authority will continue to turn a blind eye (or convince them,selves it's legal for some reason) or prosecute me ... at which time the fun WILL BEGIN.

If we don't look like being prosecuted, I'm still being tempted by the idea of deliberately drawing the attention of the police, as I think we can win the Human Rights argument and now it's US vs THEM because it's the organiser who's doing something illegal.

I'd like to see us start up a fighting fund so that we can have a single test case. Perhaps EFDSS or someone else could supervise this. I'm happy to fundraise ... especially if the fundraising activity is itself illegal.

I think it's probably time the worm turned. If we were prepared to do this, it could be King Blare's equivalent of the Poll Tax.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: cockney
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:19 PM

Blimey, I didn't realise it was that bad!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: IanC
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:24 PM

Well, it is.

Actually, I'm looking forward to 6 months inside for "Organising and illegal Mummers Play". I'd be unrepentant and wouldn't pay any fine or agree to be "bound over to keep the peace" so i'd have to be given the max. sentence (and I wouldn't get remission as there'd be no chance of being "rehabilitated").

Think of all the research work I could do! And they'll pay my mortgage too ... rather them than me!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:24 PM

There certainly is a deal of confusion about the acoustic music suspension but my reading of the situation is No Licence No Music full stop.

Where the "concession" comes in is shrouded in lack of definition but I believe that, provided you have a licence, small acoustic gatherings "may" at the discretion of the licencing authority be exempted from some of the more onerous conditions of the licence.

Of course, as with most of the drafting of this awful piece of legislation it appears to be discretionary and I have yet to see, and don't believe there is, a definition of what "onerous conditions" are.

So a complete mess. Put in a few waffle words to fool people into thinking there's a concession and push the legislation through seems to be the approach taken. Trust no-one as they say.

Any experts care to add some clear enlightenment on this, am I correct?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:29 PM

If we can fight to keep the cost of a license as low as possible - with a cap on what LAs are able to charge for "varying" conditions, there is the chance that many local authorities will decide that they can't make any revenue from the bill and will only want to do the minimum. This might result in a reluctance to enforce the PEL side too tightly.

I am still interested to know how the bill will affect existing PEL licenses and restrictions.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: DMcG
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:32 PM

Suppose we put on an unlicenced mummer's play. Am I right in thinking such a case would be before a magistrate?

What would be grounds for an appeal, and what would be the mechanism? In short, how do we minimise the risk of the test case just re-inforcing the law that all mummer's plays, etc, are illegal?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: IanC
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:38 PM

Unless the law is changed to disallow jury trial for crimes which could result in a prison sentence (as King Blare currently is trying to do) then I think the accused could opt for trial by jury. If that's the case, the jury could decide to Pervert The Law, which would result in it being effectively nullified. This has been done recently (read the article).

Appeals can be made on the basis that the particular action (gaoling someone for organising a mummers play) contravenes Human Rights legislation.

;-)


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 03:13 PM

Given the main thrust of the support for the Bill was on the grounds of protecting residents from noise - the idea that conditions that concern themselves with these objectives of the Bill - can be made non effective for entertainment permission and that this can provide ANY practical use to anyone- is rather strange.

Let us look at a case where noise from amplified music is considered as presenting a problem to residents now. Conditions could be applied that still permit some form of amplified music. These can be conditions like time limits or structural things like sound proofing-shutters or noise cut outs. If these are not agreed to - no music, even non amplfied (exept for two performer exempt) music - can take place

Under the act - these type of conditions can still be placed but would be non effective - if applied.

Now in the case of time limits etc - making these conditions, subsequently non effective will not present too much a problem - but in practice - if conditions that require structural modifications are not agreed to and not undertaken - permission to provide entertainment will not be given - to protect the residents. So no live music will be able to take place, even if it is to be non amplified.

The same is true if the optional application is not even made.   

In reality no licensee is just going to request permission to provide non amplified music - even if such a tick box was available for this.

And we don't know what form the so-called tick box(es) will take.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 04:05 PM

I suspect the easiest way will be to fight anything like this in court and defend onesself.

There have been a lot so many confusing messages going out that it must be possible to show any self-respecting magistrate that the law is difficult to understand. And once the law gets the idea that every time they arrest a folkie they will have to go to court for trivialities then they might stop doing it.

Another thing is that I am sure we are still allowed to opt for jury trials..........now there is a wicked thought.............

Dave


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 04:28 PM

Sword dancing I would think would be likely to be treated as within the category of "similar" to Morris Dancing. I'm quite sure that most people who aren't involved in folk music would regard it as essentially much the same.

I can't see how the fact that it takes place indoors woudl make any difference. Nothing about that in the amendment so far as I can see, one way or another.

Whether "similar to" could be stretched to cover Mumming is another matter. There are Mummers Plays where I think it could be. Especially if "dancing" is a matter of moving with musical accompaniment, as has been asserted by local councils on the basis of legal advice; the human voice is, of course, a musical instrument.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 06:20 PM

I am setting myself up as a consultant and expert witness. I can certainly show a link between Morris dancing and mumming.

And break dancing.........and hip hop........and most other things given some time..............


Dave


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 06:32 PM

Rapper Ok, so long as you don't use amplifiers - assuming it is Morris or of a similar nature, which I think it is.

Mumming, sorry, that's drama. No exemptions.

Acoustic waiver of conditions. Probably useless. You see if you want to benefitn from this relaxation, there has to be a music licenec first. Now we know there is only one licence - that's a large art ofthe oint of the Act. So when you apply for your booze licence, you tick box for one to cover regulated entertainment too. You have to file an operating plan. If it says "No music with amplifiers" (which would also mean no jukebox) that may be one thing. But if you say no live music etc, then the LA may say "NO licence until you put in (etc)". Or it may say "You can sell beer but you can't have any music until (etc)". If the former, all of the capital condition have to be satisfied before you can sell beer. So the landlord has to pay up. If the latter, the relaxation works.

Geddit?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 07:26 PM

Deja Vue (SP)

The original campaign was to stop Local Authorities using PEL's as a "cash cow" - well you have your wish - All fees will be centrally fixed. The object now must be to see that the fees are reasonable and affordable.

Fire inspections - they had to be done anyway - so whats the big deal ? - I am afraid in this litigational society, new act or no, any licencing bench would have put thmselves at risk if they did not act on a Fire Officers recomendations. I am afraid that any Licencing Council would be at risk from personal surcharge by the District Auditors if basic Health and Safety Considerations were not examined, and acted on.

Now lets look at the senario. Why should any overtasked Police Officer bother about prosecution when he can :-

1/. Confiscate the Instruments and Amplifiyers ?

2/. Shut the premises for 24 hours, and object to licensce renewal ?

and if he gets any lip - Nick for various offences not conected with PELs.

One thing I have learn't in my 50 odd years, is that if you leave a loophole some smart arse will try and drive an HGV thru it.

And yes, there are premises which cause a great deal of aggrovation to local residents, non Folk maybe, but you try and differentiate !

This Act will make it easier to control them, without the risk of a brick through your window, your car damaged, or suffering an assult as the price for standing up in a Magistrates Court to give evidence.

Now Kim Howells admitted privatley (Hamish and others know the reference) the the Act was not perfect, but I an afraid that hurling insults at Kim Howells was not an ideal way of convincing him of the rightousness of our cause. The South Wales Group of Labour MP's was provided with the ULR's to see the arguments from the Folk movement. Many of these arguments were valid, others resembled those of "Dreaded Guest", and maybe, just maybe, screwed the Pooch.

The object now must be :-

1/. Keep costs reasonable

2/. Help and encourage Licensees to apply for PELS as part of the normal licencing procedure - and simplify the forms.

Do that and we have a result, fail and it reminds me of the old proverb :- Do not wish too hard, your wish may be granted !

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 07:50 PM

The original campaign was to stop Local Authorities using PEL's as a "cash cow"

That was just one aspect of it, but by no means the only one. As I reported, within a few short miles of where I live, im two different counties, we had sessions which had been going well, for quite some years even, andn they were closed down because of the regulations. Nothing do with the locals authorities especially using PEL's as a cash cow.

In one case it was because another licensee had made a complaintb that more than two people at a time were playing in the bar of a rival establishment; in the other it was because the other conbditions laid down by the local authority for a PEL were excessive.

The main reason why Kim Howells came in for such stick was because he went on the Mike Harding show on Radio 2 and made a firm promise that there would be no question of a licence being needed for sessions "so long as money isn't changing hands" - and he then he then chose to disregard this in the legislation he shepherded through.

There are circumstances, such as war and peace, where it might be possible to seek excuse a politician for lying. But this wasn't one of them. If he'd lie over this, he'd lie over anything.

It won't be as bad as it would have been if the Government hadn't been forced to back down on a few things. But it would have been so very easy to have framed this legislation in a way which would have made things far better than they ever have been, and this was what we were entitled to expect. The only obstacle to this happening was an arrogant refusal to take advice, and to admit mistakes.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 03:29 AM

I'm going to wait to see if the JCHR have anything to say about this act. I thought the whole point was about public safety and the prevention of crime and disorder - wo what about big screen televisions showing live events? Am I right in thinking that Juke Boxes will have to be licensed as they are recorded music? It seems funny to me that a pub could show Glastonbury Live, but then not able to show any edited highlights as they are not 'simultaneous reception and playing'. Does that also mean that the licensee will have to turn the screen off every time they show a replay of a goal, and of course the highlights of the first half at half time?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 03:36 AM

heloo,this,goverment,is,a,big,load,of,shit
and,kim,howells,is,a,stewpid,arseole
ps,so,is,tony,blare.
they're,all,bastards
this,is,my,opimion.john


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: IanC
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 03:48 AM

Kevin

My mistake ... the original amendment appeared to be about dancing "in the open air". I see the act doesn't mention that, so rapper should be OK.

:-(


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 05:54 AM

I'm curious about the interspersed commas between all John from Hull's words. Is it an intended effect, and in that case, what is the intention?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 06:00 AM

It is all part of John's act to make you think that he,is,a,stewpid,arseole !


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: nickp
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 06:17 AM

I seem to think from another thread that John said his keyboard had lost the use of the space bar.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 09:08 AM

But if you say no live music etc, then the LA may say "NO licence until you put in (etc)". Or it may say "You can sell beer but you can't have any music until (etc)". If the former, all of the capital condition have to be satisfied before you can sell beer. So the landlord has to pay up. If the latter, the relaxation works.

For the reason I exressed - I don't think the so-called relaxation on any structural conditions can work (or was even intended to). But I do agree that how the tick box(es) is worded is crucial and this may just possibly enable the measure to have some small effect....We wait to see this guidance and the level of the charge.

So we have the passed it and the legislation is in place but - we still no real idea of what the most important aspects of it will be.


Why the rush? I am sorry Gareth but I am lifelong Labour supporter and I have heard all this same spin from my own MP - and I will not buy it. The idea that we upset Howells and Co and that this was even partly responsible for them continuing to ignore all the sensible and reasonably worded concerns being made to them - is just nonsense. If it were true - the stock of this Government, if it reacted in the childish, unwise and arrogant way you describe - deserves to be even lower than it currently is.

The hope was that finally we could see entertainment legislation that honestly addressed safety concerns rather continue to use these vital concerns as cover to enable all sorts of hypocrisy to take place. And I hoped that it would remove the fact that music makers had to rely on a third party to obtain permission for them. That as far as music was concerned - the glass would be considered in the future- by our officials as half full rather than half empty.

I refer to refusals for permissions to provide entertainment made on grounds of morality or of taste - under reasons like car parks being too small etc.

Let us look at the arguments used by the LGA and those they represent - who have duped and decoyed this Government's attention away from their excesses into supporting these bogus arguments.

Look at the objectives of the Act and then look at the reasons why certain activities are not covered or are exempt. The reasons vary from the costs presented to the industry or in the case of TV sport - because no one had requested it to be licensed.

We have long debates on whether an event is designed to make a profit etc - when all that matters is if the event is safe or the best way to ensure that it is safe without risking the activity.

At the very last minute we have the Government using the LGA's letter against exempting the proposed small events exemption on the grounds of safety - when this body had made no such opposition to the Government's own amendment to exempt any commercial entertainment in any place of public worship, from any licensing controls at all!

The US idea of house concerts was looking to gain ground in the UK - but of course that concept will not now be possible - not because it would be unsafe - but if it was designed to make a profit.

The answer of course would be to hold these concerts in your local church. It may not be very warm, safe or have any toilets but you could make as much noise or as much profit as you wished without any licensing controls.

Or of course you could hold the concert in your home - but always remember to ensure that a tame Morris side was also booked to dance.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 09:24 AM

Now lets look at the senario. Why should any overtasked Police Officer bother about prosecution when he can :-

1/. Confiscate the Instruments and Amplifiyers ?

2/. Shut the premises for 24 hours, and object to licensce renewal ?

and if he gets any lip - Nick for various offences not conected with PELs.


Perhaps Gareth you should have presented these arguments to your Government? Why should this Government have insisted on opposing the proposed small events exemption - when the powers you refer to (and more) were already in place?

In peddling the Government myths - it may have escaped your attention that the position that adequate controls already exsisted - was the position your Government opposed.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 09:58 AM

From Hamish Birchall

On Monday 21 July the Joint Committee on Human Rights will publish a further report incorporating their conclusions about the Licensing Act 2003 and live music.

The JCHR website is: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/hrhome.htm


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 10:17 AM

Bill requires no license. Since playing James T. Kirk he has attained a legendary status that supercedes the need for such ordinary legal certification, and can go anywhere and do anything he pleases. Kind of like what Austin Powers yearns for, but will never quite succeed in achieving...

Sound to me like you've got way too many lawmakers in England. Time for another revolution, lads! To the Tower with the vile oppressors! Give them the sword, I say!

- LH


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 11:00 AM

Bill has now changed his name to Act.

Something I would suggest that Mr Shatner knows little about.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 11:11 AM

Now lets look at the senario. Why should any overtasked Police Officer bother about prosecution when he can :-

1/. Confiscate the Instruments and Amplifiyers ?

2/. Shut the premises for 24 hours, and object to licensce renewal ?

and if he gets any lip - Nick for various offences not conected with PELs.


Nice try Shambles - Unfortunately for your argument Points 1 & 2 are as a result of this Act.

Licensing reform was needed. In general terms the public needs some form of protection - the existing Law was not effective.

I am not convinced that this Act is perfect, but there is to be a revue.

Your comments would be better served marshalling the facts for that revue, and evidencing where and how there are imperfections.

Unless you take the view that there should be no licences absolutly ?

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 11:23 AM

"a revue" - now that could be entertaining. Lotsf singing and dancing and humorous sketches.

But a panto might be more in keeping with what we've seen so far.

"I am not convinced that this Act is perfect" - my God, that's pretty hard-hitting stuff, Gareth.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 11:47 AM

Gareth - I don't think that there there should be no licenses at all, but why not license the the things that really have been shown to raise problems of public nuisance or safety ?

There are several pubs near to me, which have loud recorded music every weekend, and which attract way over 200 youngsters each. In spite of (or because of) having bouncers on the doors, there are usually police cars outside by the end of most evenings. During the recent world cup, I saw many cases of vandalism and nuisance as supporters rolled out of pubs with large screen TV. Yet the government in their wisdom has decided that this sort of event does not require an entertainments license.

How many folk clubs or sessions do you know that need bouncers ? - mind you, the sight of a Black Maria being filled with folkies might become common, if the new Licensing Act is enforced vigorously. If the small events clause had been retained intact (even with the numbers reduced to 150 or 100) most folk clubs and sessions would have been exempt. Would this have posed any serious problems for public safety or nuisance ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 12:34 PM

Dave - I think recorded music is now regarded as needing a PEL as I can see nowhere in the Act to show that it is exempt. However Big Screen is another matter, but the language suggests that it has to be Live Broadcast, and as I said earlier where does that leave the recorded highlights a half time?

Gareth - I don't think that points 1 & 2 are a result of this act, maybe you meant "resulted in this act". You also mentionbed Folk and how do you differentiate. Well that was fairly easy as we kept on trying to make them see the sense of acoustic music being just not that noisy. The only thing they came back with was about 6 Japanese drummers - - see them every day don't we!!

No - I'm sorry, but if a minister cannot take a bit of criticism from the citizens of this country, he should not be there in the first place, for after all he is supposed to represent us, not resent us. Some very sensible things were put forward, but rejected out of hand.

Finally I'll ask you why we can't enjoy the freedoms that our fellow citizens of the United Kingdom & Northern Ireland enjoy. I of course mean our brotherts in Scotland. Does the National Parliament think that they are at less of a risk than us? Or do they think they are not worth the bother? Or for that matter the congregation at Churches? I'm sorry it just doesn't wash, it just smacks of "I've made my mind up and I'll not be swayed" I'm afraid. I just can't believe that a Labour Government can have got it so wrong.

I must agree however that we must let our licensees know that they'll need a PEL for Darts, pool, Karaoke and the Juke Box, so include Live Music in the operating plan and tick the Box, as they're going to have to tiuck the box anyway. The big problem is that so many pubs are managed these days, and the premises licence will probably held, and initiated elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Grab
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 01:18 PM

If you don't think acoustic music is noisy, I suggest you attend any orchestra or choir of your choice and get your mind changed! Even a single bloke with a trumpet is a force to be reckoned with! Sure, a guy with an acoustic guitar or a mandolin or something isn't significantly noisy, but we're not the only acoustic musicians our there.

I do agree with Dave's point though, that folk clubs should be well down the list of places needing extra regulation!

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 02:39 PM

You don't get many orchestra's in pubs. And even when they sound loud in a concert hall, it doesn't actually carry that far, unlike electronically amplified music, where the actual,voliume is likely to be far higher, even on a duo.

If you can still find a pub with a trad band with trumpets and all, unamplified, just step outside into the car park. The noise fades away remarkably before you've gone too far.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 07:16 PM

Why are WE still hung-up on noise - especially those who welcome the Act - when the the Act itself isn't?

For can someone please explain to me why if noise from music is such a problem and can only be dealt with by the blanket entertainment licensing contained in this Act - why there is a Government amendment that does not allow any licensing conditions based on this objective of the Act i.e noise - to take effect?

Are those residents suffering from noisy (usually already licensed)premises - who are under the impression that the Act is going to help them combat this noise - actually aware that the Government have given them this amendment?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 07:34 PM

Why are WE still hung-up on noise - especially those who welcome the Act - when the the Act itself isn't?

For can someone please explain to me why if noise from music is such a problem and can only be dealt with by the blanket entertainment licensing contained in this Act - why there is a Government amendment that does not allow any licensing conditions based on this objective of the Act i.e noise - to take effect?

Are those residents suffering from noisy (usually already licensed)premises - who are under the impression that the Act is going to help them combat this noise - actually aware that the Government have given them this amendment?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 06:37 AM

Point taken Roger.

For me it's not noise so much as the inferrence that what I do is somehow going to turn mild mannered reporters into yobs. However, seeing as the act is 'de facto' I'm just trying to point out that

1) We are being treated Nationally different to some of our fellow citizens
2) Because of the way the legislation is couched it is in our interest to point out to licensees that they will have to 'tick the box' if they want to keep darts, pool etc. etc., so what harm will it do them to include live music in the plan.

This is the direction we should now come from in my opinion. Just wondered if anybody has any other ideas, seeing as we must now accept the inevitable.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 06:45 AM

"we must now accept the inevitable."

That's not the way to put it. Rather - we now have a better idea what we are up against, and what we need to do to get by until it is set right, taking advantage of any loopholes or concessions, and minimising danage.

And also we proabbaly have a better idea how we can try to work to make sure that it is set right.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 07:21 AM

Yes - my poor use of the language. You've said exactly what I'm trying to say, and of course what this thread is about. How do we now use this act to our advantage - that's the real question I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 01:09 PM

Gareth stated:

Now lets look at the senario. Why should any overtasked Police Officer bother about prosecution when he can :-

1/. Confiscate the Instruments and Amplifiyers ?

2/. Shut the premises for 24 hours, and object to licensce renewal ?

and if he gets any lip - Nick for various offences not conected with PELs.


Nice try Shambles - Unfortunately for your argument Points 1 & 2 are as a result of this Act.

I have emailed Gareth with the following message from Hamish Birchall - as requested by him. I post the message in full here as it is vital - if we are to make the most out of the Act - that we all understand it and other legislation.

It is also vital that incorrect information i.e. not 'spin' but lies -that Labour MPs and supporters would like to be true - are not accepted by us as being true...

Hamish writes

Gareth

I am sorry, but you have been seriously misinformed. Powers of seizure of noisy sound equipment and police power to close noisy pubs immediately have been around for a while.

They are emphatically NOT an innovation of the Licensing Act 2003.

I will set out the detail below and address your other misconceptions apparent from your discussion with Roger Gall. You can verify my statements about noise legislation independently with the Noise and Nuisance Policy Branch of DEFRA (020 7944 6429) and about police powers of closure with Chief Inspector Peter Keown of the Greater Manchester Police who represents the Association of Chief Police Officers on the Licensing Advisory Group (0161 856 3361).

1.    The Noise Act 1996 clarified local authority powers of seizure of noisy sound equipment already outlined in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA). Since 1996 it has been clear in the law that all authorities have the power to seize noisy sound equipment immediately.

In addition, all local authorities not only have the power to issue reactive Noise Abatement notices under the EPA, they can also issue anticipatory Noise Abatement notices if they are satisfied a statutory nuisance is likely to occur or recur. The time allowed for compliance with an abatement notice is specified by the local authority and can be immediate. Breach of an abatement notices carries a fine of up to £20,000.

2.    The police have had the power to close noisy licensed premises immediately for up to 24 hours since December 2001. This was a consequence of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 which amended the Licensing Act 1964.

3.    Also under the Licensing Act 1964 the police have the power to initiate a review of a justices on-licence if they believe the premises is a serious nuisance to local residents (i.e. in response to neighbour complaints), and on review or renewal licensing justices have the power to impose conditions relating to noise or indeed a 'safe capacity' (usually done on the recommendation of either an environmental health inspector, or fire safety officer).

The reason why these powers have not been implemented efficiently to the satisfaction of local residents is not because the legislation is inadequate: it is because of a lack of resources, and probably a lack of joined-up thinking between local authorities, the police and licensing magistrates.

Now to other points:

The original campaign was not simply to stop local authorities using PELs as a 'cash cow'. It was that, but more importantly it was also a campaign to reform licensing so that places like bars, clubs, restuarants etc could host live music ensembles automatically, within certain reasonable constraints. In short, to treat live music as a normal part of community life, and to allow it to thrive as a secondary business of such venues. This happens in other European countries, notably Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, Finland and Denmark - why not here?

The Musicians' Union accepted that licensing could be necessary where premises specialise in music, or music and dancing, particularly if opening late.

As far as health and safety, and fire safety is concerned, it is plain that subsisting legislation is perfectly adequate for small-scale performance in such premises, irrespective of licensing. The exemption for places of public religious worship amply demonstrate that - if safety law is OK to provide amplified bands in churches (a common occurrence in evangelical places of worship), why is this legislation mysteriously deficient in, say, a library, restaurant or bar? The Government's near-hysterical babbling about trailing cables, staging, lighting etc was a complete red-herring. (See attached email from the Health and Safety Executive re trailing cables.)

As for fire safety, consider this statement by a senior officer from the London Fire Brigade, commenting on over-crowding in bars during the World Cup last year: 'We have the power to go into a pub or any other premises unannounced and place a restriction order on it that can be indefinite. I personally did it recently with a snooker hall. It is nothing to do with the licensing regime, it is simply the law of the land'. ['Hosts warned on Cup crowds', Morning Advertiser, front page, Thursday 13 June 2003].

The same paper carried a report about a Bristol Walkabout pub having to conduct an emergency evacuation because a ceiling started to come down on drinkers. Five people had to be treated for injuries. This was caused by football supporters jumping up and down while watching a big match in the first floor bar.

And of course ACPO wanted televised sporting events in bars to be licensable as entertainment because they are, in their own words, 'quite frequently a source of disorder'. The Government never put forward any evidence of disorder caused by the two in a bar rule, or any of the other PEL exemptions. And yet they abolished those exemptions, and ignored the televised sporting events. Musicians have been made the scapegoat for problems that are nothing to do with live music.

Kim Howells admitted the Licensing Bill was not perfect - not the Licensing Act. And what about the new Act? Where the provision of live music is concerned it is vastly more complex than the present law.

It is chock-full of complex, obscure and ambiguous provisions that will inevitably lead to test cases at needless cost to the tax-payer, local authorities, and businesses. The 'incidental' exemption sounds good on paper - except that lawyers are now telling us that it won't work if a venue provides any 'entertainment facility' (like a piano) because of the wording. Until a test case establishes the boundary of the definition, we cannot know how local authorities will interpret it.

The last minute government amendments concerning the potential 'suspension' of licence conditions in small premises make little sense. For example: late-opening bars will be initially exempt from any noise nuisance condition round the clock if they are licensed for and providing live music, amplified or otherwise.

Paradoxically, other places like restaurants will be subject to the full range of licence conditions, including noise, between midnight and 8am. The Local Government Association has already labelled this provision as unnecessarily complex and difficult to enforce.

The Morris dancing exemption is great - but it creates more anomalies: unamplified performance is legal if accompanying folk dancers, but illegal if featured on its own as entertainment. Where is the logic in that? Should all musicians now become Morris dancers so that at least unamplified live performance would be free of entertainment licensing?

The abolition of high annual PEL fees is the one unambiguously welcome provision in the Act, but the legislation maintains an unjust discrimination against live music, placing a significant legislative hurdle before any featured performance - even by one unamplified performer - whereas most canned entertainment gets through on the nod no matter how many people attend, no matter how powerfully amplified.

The government has, in effect, based its grass-roots cultural policy on this ridiculous statement by ACPO:

'Live music always acts as a magnet in whatever community it is being played. It brings people from outside that community and having no connection locally behave in a way that is inappropriate, criminal and disorderly'.
Chris Fox, President, Association of Chief Police Officers: letter to Tessa Jowell, DCMS, 2 July 2003

Is that something for the Labour Party to be proud of?

Hamish Birchall


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: ET
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 05:12 PM

Be careful of fees. The Local Government Association has a web site and is already campaigning long and hard to control fees locally - back to square one.

And it probably wont be folkies in court but owners of unlicensed (for music) premises. And most will just tell musicians where to go if they have no licence...so sacrifices in court and trips to the Court of European Rights in Strasbourg just will not happen. The best hope in my view is for a future minister to amend the definition of regulated entertainment to exclude acoustic music.

Tony looked suicidal himself on tele tonight. Maybe if he goes we will be in the hands of the Deputy PM. Bloody hel. Thats Prescott, known as the Mouth of the Humber!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 05:13 PM

Well I could ignore Shambles post and go for the quiet life, but I think that the more rational comments of Hamish require some response.

1/. The powers of confiscation of equipment in the past were held by local authority enforcement officers - how well they were used depended upon the attitude of each local authority.

2/. My undertanding, and this was obtained after discussions with local police, was that the existing powers to suspend a licencse were convoluted, and ultimatley on convincing the Magistrates. The police found them unsatisfactory.

I am aware that parts of the Act are unsatisfactory, and yes I concur that Widescreen sporting events should be within the purview of the Act.

We have seen in this and other threads discussions on finding loopholes etc. Fine, only it's not only respectable Folkies who will be looking for loopholes.

The point Dave Bryant, who started this thread, was trying to make was that the Act is here - how to we ensure that Muscians of our inclination can opperate under it?

I recall many threads and posts ago making this point, that the presure must be to ensure that the cost of application and compliance are reasonable, and the means of obtaining that licence easy ans understandable. I don't think that this has been fully addressed.

Finally, that the Public now have a means of input into the matter, that was long overdue.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 06:43 PM

"the Public now have a means of input into the matter" - so how does that work? How do I, as a member ofvbthe public, actually access these means?

I've lost count if the letters I've sent my MP about this over the last year or so, mostly without a response.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 05:43 AM

The whole argument against the need for blanket entertainment licensing of all live music is based on the fact that exsisting legislation is already in place to deal with all the potential problems.

The reason these current measure are not more widely used, is mainly because the blunt tool of the current Licensing regime, is preferred as a more profitable if unfocused and less effective method.

Gareth - I don't really see that if your position, (and the standing of the Labour Party), is to have any respectabilty at all - that you could have ignored my post (as many Labour MPs have just ignored many letters to them and just as many plain facts).

The main point of Hamish's entirely rational and detailed comment was to finally demonstrate the following - in reference to your two points.

They are emphatically NOT an innovation of the Licensing Act 2003.

When you had earier, incorrectly and just as empatically stated - with no evidence provided:

Nice try Shambles - Unfortunately for your argument Points 1 & 2 are as a result of this Act.

Perhaps if you wish to have a quiet life - and unlike your political masters - you could just apolgise for your mistake and for misleading anyone reading your post - as to what the true facts are.

I am afraid the 'Googly - Gook' words you used - about what your understanding was - will not be enough to prevent you from being seen as attempting to peddle 'myths', in true 'Howellsian' fashion.

Despite your waffle - do you understand and accept now Gareth - that the measures you refer to - were not introduced into legislation as a result of this Act?

If you finally do understand this - perhaps you would be kind and gracious enough to simply say so here - in plain words?

I may go on to address the points about how we come to terms with the Act - but there is little point in that if as a starting point- we do not understand what is in it - or what is NOT. Especially as some of us - like Gareth (and for reasons best known to him), seem determined to continue to try and mislead others, as to what the Act contains.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 08:00 AM

Shambles - Suggest you address the question.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 02:00 PM

Despite your waffle - do you understand and accept now Gareth - that the measures you refer to - were not introduced into legislation as a result of this Act?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 02:08 PM

Shambles - Suggest you address the question

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 02:42 PM

Gareth - I don't really see that if your position, (and the standing of the Labour Party), is to have any respectabilty at all - that you could have ignored my post (as many Labour MPs have just ignored many letters to them and just as many plain facts).


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 04:33 AM

Gareth accused Roger. Gareth said that the powers of confiscation (etc) were introduced by the Licensing Act. That was simply wrong of Gareth, and I suggest as a responsible chap he should apologise. Roger gets a little het up at times and occasionaly misses the point, but don't we all? The central point is that the Act requires a licence for (amongst other things) any music in public, in regulated clubs, or for consideration and with a view to profit, unless there is an exemption that covers it. This is very plainly overregulation in principle.

Spontaneous music is not exempt unless it falls outside the definitions of regulated entertainment. Of course it may occur in such a way that it is within an exempiton but it is not exempt as such.

The same (John) applies to recorded music. Usually it will be argued that recorded music is "incidental". This will usually be so of jukeboxes, and there is no automatic control of volume (or electrical safety) under this act. However it may be the case that the courts will be able to take account of the loudness of music in deciding whether it was "incidental" (and so exempt), but it is odd that I suggested a partial defintion of "incidental" to help clarify this and other issues such as advertising and regularity (silly question, if the fact that a folk session takes place every week means it is not incidental, as Howells said, can it be argued that the fact that a jukebox is on every night makes it not incidental?)

The next draft of the guidance is I think out tomorrow. I will be aiming to have a look at it. I think it is very important to make it clear that conditions imposed because of the intention to provide regulated entertainment shoudl be so worded that they are conditions of the lawfulness of the entertainment, not conditions of the licence as such. That way, if the local authority says "oh dear, music, double glazing to keep the noise in" then if the landlord does not want to provide non-exempt amplified music, he can carry on as before, and if he provides unamplified music he can rely on the statutory disapplication of the condition.

The worry is that local authorities will make the double glazing a condition of the licence as such - so it would have to be paid for even though it was not needed for acoustic music.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 05:18 AM

If licenses fees are capped at a rate that means they will not be a "Cash Cow" what is going to be the main incentive for LAs to push for expensive modifications or to oppose licenses ?

I gather that the new licence carge will be a one-off fee. Will it automatically transfer to the new owner when a pub changes hands ?

Does it seem likely that there will be a cap on on the fee charged for varying a license, ie making a later application for entertainment ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 05:56 AM

Richard, some sanity, and thanks> I thought I made it clear that the existing powers were not enforced as this power of confiscation was down to the Enviromental Officers, not Police, and any action fell within Council policy/discretion.

I thought I also made it clear that because of the sheer convolution and difficulties the existing powers of closure by the police were not used. To give an example after discussions with the local senior officer he pointed out that to have sufficient Plods to turnover a local drinking club and alledged "public nusience" on a Friday/Saturday night he would have to strip/ request officers from as far away as Newport, Pontypool and Ebbw Vale - and all stations in between. Not good news, and he would only get thay authority for a major drugs bust, which is not the problem. He welcoms the Act.

If I have read this correctly this Act simplifys these powers. If I have inadvertantly mislead any body then I appologise.

Dave's original point, how do we utilise the Act to best advantage is a valid one.

Capping fees, and determining fees on a sliding scale on size, and ensuring that the paperwork is simplified would appear to me to be the best way forward. Work with local LVA to encourage licencees to apply.

I think that you (Richard) as a practicing Solicitor will appreciate that in the "Blame Culture" Society we seem to be heading into, no local authority dare ingnore safty considerations, due dilligence comes to mind.

And just to cao it all - I was reading the local rag on Saturday, a large advert pimpimg for trade from a well known firm of South Wales ambulance chasers, of no high repute in the insurance trade. Includd the line " Have you had an accident in..... a pub or club "

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 06:19 AM

I heard the other day that there are two things that we should not know how they are made - sausages and laws.

But once we do find out - and with this legislation many of us have found this out in rather unsavoury detail - it is rather important that we are not subsequently persuaded that the ingredients were not the ones that we plainly saw go in to the making.

We are all now involved in damage limitation as to how the Act will affect our various activites. Some of us like Gareth have divided loyalties and the damage limitation that would appear to concern him most is the damage done to his Party.

Now we have our opinions and these will differ but Gareth's Labour Party seems to have really come to believe that the truth is what they can get away with saying it is.

Hamish Birchall is a straight-shooter. Partly because he recognises that not telling the truth would always backfire, but mainly because the truth matters to him. As he has again done here - he has always taken the upmost care to ensure that the information supplied is correct and is always quick to ammend even the smallest detail - if it should be even thought to be questionable. The response to this from Gareth in this thread has not reflected this approch.   

If I am 'het-up' now - it has been as a result of the continuing unfounded smears that have form the main part of the Labour Party's approach to this issue and sadly have convinced many that the world is indeed flat - despite all the firm evidence provided to the contrary.

No one is more sorry about the damage done to a Party I (and many of us) have always supported. The fact remains that this Party has not introduced measures that supported us and no attempt to re-write history will ever change that sad fact. Unless they now recognise it and work to undo this damage.

For the Act could not have been more damaging - if that had been their intention. It was not their intention and many of them are upset that we may think it was. But if good intentions were enough - we would not ever requre any legislation.

Gareth will us have blame ourselves - Civil Servants - Local Authorities - the LGA etc. And it is true that all these factors have all played a part but - it was the Government's job to deal with and protect us from these lobbies and this they have failed to do.

However it is time they and their apologists now stop the pretence that the 'lies' were being told anywhere else but from their side. If they wish to continue with this - we must insist that they first provide the evidence for their assertions, before we give them any future creditibilty our allow them to sow any seeds of doubt?

When Gareth claims the measure he refers to were introduced by the Act - when my MP informs me that small events are exempt from the Licensing and when the local MP informs her constituents that the Act has ensured the continuation (unlicensed) of the Shieffied Carols - they all want to believe it They so want to believe that what they are told to tell people is the truth.

But it does not make it so............


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 06:40 AM

So, once again, if the shouting has died down for a bit, a post I made earlier:

"the Public now have a means of input into the matter" - so how does that work? How do I, as a member of the public, actually access these means?

It seems to me that you can write letters to your MP till you're blue in the face. Mostly they get completely ignored. Occasionally you get a reply back which is more than likely completely wrong on basic points.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 07:42 AM

THe new guidance should be available tomorrow, I think.

THen it's time to read it very carefully and to put sensible practical measures to Hamish, for the MU to follow, to Marc, for the EFDSS to follow.

I am hoping to find time to do a Performer-Lawyer group response but it is time consuming.

You can all send your own points to Caborn, Estelle Morris (who might listen) your MPs (they still need to know how badly this is affecting thier support). You may as well copy the so-called civil so-called servants, but all you will get back will be half-truths (at best) evasiveness and spin.

I don't want to be thought of as undermining Roger. As I said, he has the main principles right. I also feel I should point out that the accusations of a "pernicious lying campaign" came from HOwells, whose department also wrote that at least the musicians' union could conduct the debate in civil terms "unlike Mr Bridge" after an outburst of mine at insolent and peurile debating tricks from the civil servants. But if you actually line-by line the act, you will see that most often the erroneous or misleading statements came from govrenment.

However, Local authorities do have powers of instant closure under teh Environmental Protection Act, and under health and safety legislation. But they don't bother, adn if my own experience is anything to go by they even deny that their statutory duties exist. THat does not make it the job of the police to use the new act, and by and large claims that the regulations introduced under this act are necessary are rather suspect. In some places they are iffy. For example I suggested that it should only be an offence to obstruct an authorised person if it were knowing and if he had produced evidence of his authority. Rejected. Why does that remind me of the miners' strike? WHy should an authorised person be authorised to effect entry to inspect for a breach or likely breach of the licensing law unless he had reasonable cause to believe?

Given the way some local authorities have enforced the existing law, there can be little doubt that prosecutions will be mounted to test the new law - the limits of the words, not the limits of common sense.

But even more, remember what the alternatives to the present government may be. It may have no respect for the truth, but THatcher had no respect for jobs or lives either. We need teh labour party, but can it be in some way accountable to us please?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 07:56 AM

I'm,voting,Conservative,next,time.
john


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 08:17 AM

If I have read this correctly this Act simplifys these powers. If I have inadvertantly mislead any body then I appologise.

Gareth can YOU please supply the evidence to support YOUR new assertion and produce here the words that "simplfys these powers" - in the Act.

As for if you misled anybody - can I remind you again of what you did initially state without providing any supporting evidence for?

Perhaps you could just finally and simply apologise to those you did mislead inadvertantly or otherwise by wrongly claiming that the Act introduced the measures you referred to - into legislation?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: DMcG
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 08:50 AM

But even more, remember what the alternatives to the present government may be. It may have no respect for the truth, but THatcher had no respect for jobs or lives either. We need teh labour party, but can it be in some way accountable to us please?
That is indeed the problem. I don't know what we can do about it that could be effective. One thing I've done, which is probably of no value at all except to make me feel better, is to write to the local Labour Group saying I am happy to vote Labour in future unless my current MP is the candidate, in which case I will definitely vote elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 11:02 AM

I'm interested in knowing just when the act is going to start being implemented. If a publican's license is due to expire, does he still have to renew it via the licensing justices or does the new act apply ?

When will the famous form with the box to tick for registration become available ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Grab
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 11:12 AM

Somewhere above (before Shambles' flames), someone asked about how residents got input into licensing, with reference to MPs not listening...

My understanding (which may be flawed, I know ;-) is that licensing will remain the province of magistrates. However under the new law, local residents will be allowed a voice when a license application is made, in much the same way that residents would be allowed to speak up over planning permission. Currently I believe local residents have no standing when a music or liquor license is granted, so there's no way for them to get their views heard. That sounds like a useful change, although as ever the implementation remains to be tested.

Graham.

PS. Don't take this as general approval of the whole of the new law, or the Labour Party, or Gareth, or the police, etc... ;-)


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 12:36 PM

My understanding (which may be flawed, I know ;-) is that licensing will remain the province of magistrates. However under the new law, local residents will be allowed a voice when a license application is made, in much the same way that residents would be allowed to speak up over planning permission. Currently I believe local residents have no standing when a music or liquor license is granted, so there's no way for them to get their views heard. That sounds like a useful change, although as ever the implementation remains to be tested.

Please excuse my 'flames'.

Your understanding is the reverse of the position but understandable as the liquor licence and entertainment licence are now just referred to as licensing - as if they presented the same problems.

All licensing will now be the province of local authorities as entertainment licensing already is.

Residents can certainly now make their views known as regards entertainment licensing and they do this to great effect - if they complain when the PEL is applied for and they are given a period of time in which to do this. Every application must provide a public notice to inform residents.

There is little real change to this procedure under the Act.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 12:44 PM

I'm,voting,Conservative,next,time.
john


It will be interesting - given the opposition expressed by the Tories to the entertainment measures in the Act - if any word of changing them or of introducing a small events exemption appears in their manifesto.

I rather doubt that it will - unless we can make such a fuss that sensible licensing towards music is seen as a popular vote winner.

I am afraid that whilst it was expediate of them to run with this whilst in opposition - reform of the Act will not figure very highly in their election plans. But it is largely up to us..........


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 02:38 PM

"Residents can certainly now make their views known as regards entertainment licensing and they do this to great effect - if they complain when the PEL is applied for..."

But of course there is no way of complaining when the PEL (ir whatever we call it) is not applied for. And I'm not even sure that letters in support of an applicatioin rather than opposing it are admissible.

Arguing about this in terms of Labour/Tory politics is pointless. If this had been Tory legislation under a Tory Government, there is no doubt at all that the Labour MPs who trooped through the lobbies would have been screaming to high heaven about how it was an affront to human freedom, and an attack on cultural traditions. And Kim Howells would probably have been the loudest of all in our support.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 02:57 PM

But of course there is no way of complaining when the PEL (ir whatever we call it) is not applied for. And I'm not even sure that letters in support of an applicatioin rather than opposing it are admissible.

Not too sure what point is being made in the first part here Kevin?

My experience - and this would vary locally - when I did write in support of application for a PEL during the period of the public notice - was that the complainers were invited to the public hearing and granted automatic permission to speak. I had to request to be there and ask the Chair's permission to speak.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: ET
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 04:29 PM

The transitional provisions - from old to new law, work with both acts in tandem - licences under old act from Magistrates' run out next February and regulations may allow them to be renewed for a shorter time than the present 3 years until new ones take over. Transitional period not yet announced because, say the Department of Constitutional Affairs, awaiting guidance from the Ministry of Fun (Department of Culture Media and Sport). Licensees still in the dark (like DCMS) but it will be petty officials at the local council who will grant the licences unless there are objections in which case it will be their political lords and masters, local councillors, who will want to be hereos with local nay sayers, and yet want local jobs, so a problem.

I really wish there was some way of getting through to politicians what damage this bill could do and how many votes could be lost, but as said above the Torries objected on principle maybe rather than to support traditional music. By the way a local session on TV recently for fighting with local authority has its last session next week, new landlord wants to do somthing else so chucking us out - see last session at the Sloop, Barton upon Humber.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 05:30 PM

But of course there is no way of complaining when the PEL (or whatever we call it) is not applied for.

My point there was that, if the proprietor of some premises, such as a pub or a cafe, would be quite happy to have a session or a singaround, but is unwilling to jump through the hoops involved in getting a licence that would make this legal, that is not going to show up in the planning process at all - and accordingly it won't be likely show up in any feedback to a review of how the Act is working.
And yet that is the kind of thing that is really likely to get in the way of people who would like to start up informal music in their locality. So it is important that people make strenuous efforts to record this kind of thing and make sure that it is brought to the attention of any review, and the local press.

The other important thing, of course, is that "the local nay sayers" are drowned out by the local yes sayers! Musical delegations to planning committees when this kind of thing is coming up would be one way.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 05:15 AM

Just read the JCHR 15th. report. It quite plainly says that Parliament has now legislated. I'm wondering if 5.6
is applicable to Juke Boxes or not - but I expect Ricard Bridge can help out there

5.5 Places of public religious worship play an important part in the development and performance of secular as well as religious music and other artistic activities of considerable cultural value. However, it is arguable whether these considerations mark those places out sufficiently from other artistic and musical venues to justify, in an objective and rational way, the different treatment afforded to them in relation to entertainment licensing. A large number of correspondents wrote to us just prior to the Commons' consideration of Lords Amendments to the Licensing Bill on 8 July, arguing the case for further intervention before the Bill became law.[40] A number of these were under the misapprehension that the Government would be required to make a "section 19 statement" on the face of the Act, guaranteeing compliance with Convention rights. In fact, of course, the Human Rights Act expressly preserves the right of Parliament to legislate as it thinks fit, having due regard to Convention rights, and to the opinion of the Minister on these matters, which is stated only when a Bill is first introduced into either House. In the case of the Licensing Act, Parliament has now legislated.

5.6 Before leaving this measure, we wish to take an opportunity to correct a misleading comment made in our earlier discussions of the Licensing Bill. In our Fourth Report, we suggested that the regime for public entertainment licensing in the Bill would not cover the use of amplification equipment for recorded music, but only electronic amplification of live music.[41] The Department has pointed out that this suggestion was based on a misconception. We accept that the Act covers performances of live and recorded, amplified and unamplified music in the same way, as the description of entertainment to which the Bill applies, contained in Schedule 1 to the Act, makes clear.

Lets now look to the guidance.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 05:39 AM

The JCHR 21 July 2003

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200203/jtselect/jtrights/149/14908.htm#a7


5.1 The Licensing Act 2003 received the royal assent on 10 July.

We reported on the Licensing Bill on several occasions during its progress through each House.[36] In our Twelfth Report, we drew the attention of each House to our view that the proposals for exempting places used for public worship from the requirements of the licensing regime, and allowing certain other places associated with places of public worship to obtain licenses without paying the usual fee, might be regarded as discriminating against the occupiers and users of purely secular premises.

We were concerned that these exemptions might give rise to a significant risk of violating the right to be free of discrimination under ECHR Article 14, taken together with ECHR Articles 9 (right to freedom of religion, conscience and belief) and 10 (freedom of expression). We were also concerned that there was a risk that the exemptions might—

… leave a patchwork of different licensing requirements without a coherent rationale, calling in question the existence of a pressing social need for the restriction on freedom of expression through a licensing regime for public entertainment, and so undermining the Government's claim that such a licensing regime is a justifiable interference with the right to freedom of expression under ECHR Article 10.2.[37]

5.2 The Department for Culture, Media and Sport subsequently expressed concern about our apparent failure to take account of a letter from the Minister to the Committee, sent in April 2003, explaining that the exemptions for premises used for public worship would simply extend to London the system which, under existing licensing law, applies in the rest of England and Wales, and stating that the Government takes the view that such a move would have a rational and objective justification for the purposes of ECHR Article 14.

5.3 That letter (which is published as an annex to this Report)[38] did not explain why the Government considered that there was an objective and rational explanation for distinguishing, for the purpose of entertainment licensing law, between places used for public worship and other places. The distinction was introduced to the law before the Human Rights Act 1998, and with it ECHR Article 14, took effect in the domestic law of the United Kingdom.

It is now necessary to test the special treatment of such premises by reference to the standards of the ECHR. A proposal to extend the differential treatment to new parts of the United Kingdom merely makes the need for that assessment more pressing. The Minister of State for Sport provided further clarification in a letter received on 2 July 2003. (This letter, too, is published as an Annex to this Report.)[39]

So far as is relevant to this issue, the Department pointed out that the exemption for places of public religious worship from the requirements of entertainment licensing law would benefit people who were using the premises for the enjoyment of secular entertainment there. Those people might be of any religious affiliation or of none. In addition, the exemption for religious venues is a recognition of the—
… distinct pastoral role in the community played by many of the faiths and the wider responsibility that, for example, the church has in bringing the community together.

5.4 The Minister also drew attention to the central role of the churches to the development of music in this country, particularly because churches provide venues large enough for the performance of many pieces of music requiring large forces. For these reasons, the Government argued that Articles 9, 10 and 14 are not engaged, but that, if they were engaged, there is a rational and objective justification for the exemption which does not call into question the pressing social need to regulate public entertainment in general.

5.5 Places of public religious worship play an important part in the development and performance of secular as well as religious music and other artistic activities of considerable cultural value. However, it is arguable whether these considerations mark those places out sufficiently from other artistic and musical venues to justify, in an objective and rational way, the different treatment afforded to them in relation to entertainment licensing.

A large number of correspondents wrote to us just prior to the Commons' consideration of Lords Amendments to the Licensing Bill on 8 July, arguing the case for further intervention before the Bill became law.[40] A number of these were under the misapprehension that the Government would be required to make a "section 19 statement" on the face of the Act, guaranteeing compliance with Convention rights.

In fact, of course, the Human Rights Act expressly preserves the right of Parliament to legislate as it thinks fit, having due regard to Convention rights, and to the opinion of the Minister on these matters, which is stated only when a Bill is first introduced into either House. In the case of the Licensing Act, Parliament has now legislated.

5.6 Before leaving this measure, we wish to take an opportunity to correct a misleading comment made in our earlier discussions of the Licensing Bill. In our Fourth Report, we suggested that the regime for public entertainment licensing in the Bill would not cover the use of amplification equipment for recorded music, but only electronic amplification of live music.[41]

The Department has pointed out that this suggestion was based on a misconception. We accept that the Act covers performances of live and recorded, amplified and unamplified music in the same way, as the description of entertainment to which the Bill applies, contained in Schedule 1 to the Act, makes clear.


http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200203/jtselect/jtrights/149/14911.htm

Letter from Dr Kim Howells MP, Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to the Chairman
Joint Committee on Human Rights: Seventh Report

I am writing in response to the points that you raised in your Seventh Report, regarding the compatibility of the Licensing Bill with the European Convention on Human Rights ("the Convention").

In relation to the point previously raised in your Fourth Report, regarding the compatibility of clause 134 of the Bill with Article 10 of the Convention, I am pleased to note that the amendments we made to that clause on Report in the House of Lords overcome your concerns.

I note, however, that you have drawn to the attention of each House the matter raised in paragraph 35 of your Seventh Report ("the Report"), namely that exempting from the requirements of the licensing regime the provision of regulated entertainment in places of public religious worship may give rise to issues of discrimination under Article 14 of the Convention. I hope the Committee will find it helpful if I set out in a little more detail our reasoning behind this policy.

As you note in paragraph 34 of the Report, the licensing regime serves legitimate aims, namely the protection of public safety, the protection of the rights of others and the prevention of crime and disorder. Indeed, these aims are enshrined as key licensing objectives in the Licensing Bill as the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance (it is the Government's intention to restore this as the third licensing objective) and the protection of children from harm.

As you also note, there is a pressing social need for regulation owing to the importance of these public interest issues. The question of the extent of that regulations for the purposes of compatibility with the Convention, therefore becomes a question of proportionality.

In practice, addressing the concerns that you raise in paragraph 35 of the Report presents us with very little choice beyond maintaining the provisions in the Bill as they currently stand. It appears to us that we could either provide a wholesale deregulation of the provision of regulated entertainment, or impose a blanket requirement for all premises to be licensed before the provision of any public entertainment may take place.

We believe that neither approach would represent a proportionate response. The former approach, of course, would remove the essential protections contained in the licensing regime that are necessary in the interests of public safety, for the protection of the rights of others and for the prevention of crime and disorder.

The latter approach would engage other Convention rights, particularly the right to freedom of expression set out in Article 10 of the Convention. Walking the correct line between these competing Convention rights, as noted above, is achieved by ensuring the proportionality of the regime.

We believe that the approach to the regulation of entertainment set out in the Licensing Bill represents a proportionate response, a fair balance and has an objective and reasonable justification. In all places outside Greater London, the current licensing regime treats the provision of music at places of public religious worship differently from that provided at secular venues—the former is exempt from the requirement for a public entertainment licence (Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, Sch 1, para 1(3)(a)(i)) whereas secular venues currently are the subject of control.

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.

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 Convention and would appear to be contrary to the public interest. Further, you will note that there is a power in paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 to the Bill to add to, vary or remove any description of entertainment. Accordingly, if in the future, evidence was received suggesting the need, in the public interest, to remove or modify the exemption in relation to places of public religious worship, we would be empowered to do so.

On the issue of proportionality, I should also mention that Guidance issued in conjunction with the Bill will play a vital role in ensuring that a proportionate approach is taken to those venues which do form the subject of the licensing regime. We acknowledge that certain venues which are currently licensed, and which will fall within the scope of regulation under the Bill, have a recognised role to play in the community.

We will be making it clear in Guidance that in relation to such venues, eg village and community halls, licences should only be subject to conditions that are necessary and proportionate. Further we have announced that such venues having a community role eg village, parish or community halls or other similar buildings should be exempt from the fees associated with the provision of regulated entertainment or entertainment facilities, thereby alleviating the financial burden associated with the provision of regulated entertainment. We believe that these factors will combine to ensure a proportionate approach to the regulation of entertainment and a fair balance.
I am copying this letter to Members of Commons Standing Committee D.
10 April 2003

Letter from Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP, Minister for Sport, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to the Chairman
Joint Committee on Human Rights: Twelfth Report


I am writing in response to the points that you raised in your Twelfth Report, regarding the compatibility with the ECHR of the exemption in the Licensing Bill for places of public religious worship providing secular entertainment, and the fee exemption for church and chapel halls, parish and community halls and other similar buildings.

Your concerns echo those set out in paragraph 35 of your Seventh Report. Dr Kim Howells previously responded in considerable detail to those concerns, in his letter of 10 April 2003, but I have since learned that this letter was regrettably not put before the Committee in advance of the issuing of your Twelfth Report. For ease of reference, I attach a copy of that letter and would ask the Committee, when considering its contents, to also kindly take into account the following more general additional points.

First, in paragraph 3.1 of your Twelfth Report you refer to the large number of communications that you have received from individuals who are concerned about the impact that the Bill may have on the ability to mount performances of various descriptions.

Although I realise that, as you said in paragraph 18 of your Fourth Report, very strong feelings are held on the subject of the provision of regulated entertainment, in itself, the number of letters received from lobbying groups in relation to certain provisions in a Bill does not indicate the compatibility or otherwise of those provisions with the European Convention on Human Rights, nor indeed whether the genuine concerns of those lobbying are based upon an accurate understanding of the system that the Bill will introduce as a whole.

In paragraph 3.1 of your Twelfth Report you indicate that a large volume of letters that you have received are from those who are concerned about the impact that the Bill may have on the ability to mount performances by folk singers, Morris dancers and other kinds of performers, as well as concerts in a variety of venues. As the correspondence that we have received on this subject has revealed a considerable amount of misunderstanding regarding the changes that the Bill will introduce, I wanted to take this opportunity to clarify that, far from being more restrictive than the current system of regulation, the Bill will generally lead to a greater promotion of Article 10 rights.

When compared with the current system of regulation, the new system is streamlined, coherent, cheap and simple and, if industry makes full use of the reforms, should encourage a significant opening up of the opportunities for performing a huge variety of regulated entertainment.

This is not an area of law where we are moving from non-regulation to regulation and, generally speaking, what the Bill requires to be licensed in any event already requires a licence under current law.

In terms of its general impact, the Bill will therefore not present increased regulation but wilt instead involve a significant move towards greater simplicity, transparency and a reduction in costs. For example, under existing legislation all public performances of music in a building (except for a place of public religious worship or where performed as an incident to a religious service or meeting) require a public entertainment licence.

The only disapplication of this requirement is very narrow and applies where a justices' licence under the Licensing Act 1964 exists in relation to the premises and where the performance is by no more than two performers in any single night. Anything beyond that—including the performers combining live music with recorded music—requires an additional public entertainment licence.

The perverse effect of this rule in practice has been that many types of music and other forms of entertainment are discouraged by reliance on the existence of the rule. Under the new licensing regime, any premises will continue to need a licence to sell alcohol but will be free to apply simultaneously for permission, to be set out in the premises licence, to put on music or dancing or other entertainment whenever they wish.

The bureaucracy of the current system of separate licences, which acts as a deterrent in many cases, will accordingly be significantly reduced, leading to a greater freedom to exercise Article 10 rights. The financial burden imposed by the current system will also be reduced, as the fee for a premises licence will remain the same whether or not it contains a permission to provide entertainment and the licence will not have to be re-applied for regularly, which is the current position.

In addition, by moving from a system where fees are set by local authorities to one where they are set centrally by the Secretary of State, the Bill will have a harmonising effect by removing the huge regional variations in fee levels that currently exist in practice.

Turning now specifically to the exemption for places of public religious worship, in addition to the points that I made in my letter of 10 April 2003 on this matter, I would like to add the following. From paragraph 3.4 of your Report, your concern that the exemption might be incompatible with Articles 9 and 14 is based on two related reasons.

The first of these is that the exemption is afforded to premises used principally for religious purposes, or occupied by people or organisations on account of their religious beliefs or practices. On this point I would like to emphasise that, while the exemption indeed attaches to places of public religious worship, attendance at entertainment held at such premises is in no way confined to, nor in any way distinguishes between, those of any religious belief.

Further, the exemption places no restriction on the type of entertainment that may be enjoyed at such venues and there is no requirement for the entertainment to have any religious content The second reason for your concern is that the exemption is denied to premises used principally for secular purposes, or occupied by people or organisations without a religious affiliation. Whilst it is indeed true that the exemption is not afforded to secular venues, the creation of this exemption was prompted by a recognition, after discussion with representatives from various faiths, of the distinct pastoral role in the community played by many of the faiths and the wider responsibility that, for example, the church has in bringing the community together.

By way of contrast, secular venues are run solely for commercial purposes and have no equivalent pastoral role in our society. Further, churches have a central role to the development of music in this country, particularly because the premises are large enough to stage performances, particularly classical pieces. For these reasons, it would not appear to me as though either Article 9 or 14 are engaged.

However, if I am wrong about this, it is my view that there is an objective and reasonable justification for this exemption and that its existence in no way calls into question the pressing social need for the general regulation of public entertainment.

As a final point, I would like to draw the Committee's attention to the fact that we have responded to and addressed any points in relation to the Bill that have been raised in either House during its passage through Parliament, and the decision to exempt places of public religious worship was one reached by both Houses—indeed, no Member of either House spoke against the Amendment that created this exemption.
30 June 2003


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 06:40 AM

I now gather that existing licenses last for 3 years and expire in February. Does this mean that All licenses expire next Feb or only about 1/3 of them, with the remainder needing renewal in 2005 and 2006 ? If the latter is the case, then a landlord might have 30 months left before he needs to apply for his new license. As I'm sure that he wouldn't be in a hurry to fork out £500 (or perhaps £1,000), he would have to wait two and a half years to tick the famous box and get an entertainment license.

In fact, I feel that things will be in somewhat of a limbo until the rate has been fixed - the LAs will probably want to delay things until they've held out for the maximum fee possible. I assume that until things are sorted, many councils (especially avaricious Greenwich) will want to try forcing landlords to buy PELs at high prices - will this still be possible ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: treewind
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 07:37 AM

The LA's may not want to delay, because they'll get the licence fees for every alcohol licence once they've taken over from the magistrates.

It may be that they will also get grants from central government to meet the extra costs for licencing admin, but in any case, whatever the exact financial details, this bill has been sold to the LA's as a moneyspinner or they would NEVER have taken it on, for sure.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 07:59 AM

The LA's may not want to delay, because they'll get the licence fees for every alcohol licence once they've taken over from the magistrates.

My understanding is that these new licences won't expire. Therefore LAs will only get one chance to collect the fee. I also gather that most LAs are saying that £500 won't cover their costs, and want to up the ante. That being so, wouldn't they rather fight to get the maximum fee, even if they have to wait longer for it.

As I've said before, under the current arrangement, Greenwich are charging "The Cricketers" £400 for a PEL which covers 2 evenings a week (and would want proportionally more for extra evenings). I believe that this is per year. If the pub could get their license (including PEL) for a one-off £500 there wouldn't be any profit in it for the council. I think that as the council has granted a license under the old scheme, it would be rather difficult for them to refuse one under the new, or to ask for further modifications to the premises. I also think that the restriction to only two evenings would not be enforceable under the new scheme - especially as the session should fit inside the "small events" provision.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: treewind
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 08:21 AM

I've just read Richard Caborns letter to the JCHR above, and it reminds me of an issue that hasn't been discussed much in any of the online PEL discussions I've seen.

Many informal sessions have been taking place in unlicenced pubs. They have been technically illegal but typically the landlord has turned a blind eye (or should it be a deaf ear) because in reality what was going on was totally harmless, and common sense prevailed.

It's easy for Cabon to argue that the new bill is deregulatory because the last minute amendments applied exemptions (of a vague sort) to activities which technically should have been licensed already: "what the Bill requires to be licensed in any event already requires a licence under current law."

Of course, we could respond to this by continuing to break the law. The only problem is that the penalities are much higher now, the whole affair has been widely publicised and the council jobsworths are on the warpath.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: IanC
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 08:29 AM

Anahata

"what the Bill requires to be licensed in any event already requires a licence under current law."

Not true. The Cerne Abbas Mummers were turned out of a pub last year because there was no license. However, they were allowed to perform in the street outside because it is not currently illegal to do so in a public place. With the new act, it will be.

I know people aren't terribly interested in folk drama but, whenever we perform now, it will have to be done illegally. There are other circumstances where the new act applies to things it didn't apply to before (like one or two singers in a pub using amplification), but this is the main way I'm personally going to be affected.

:-(


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: DMcG
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 08:51 AM

IanC/Anahata: What was said was generally speaking, what the Bill requires to be licensed in any event already requires a licence under current law.

Its a great little escape clause, that 'generally speaking', and well worth watching for. What is means is 'except, of course, for any counter-examples you can think of'.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 09:04 AM

I was looking to see if you could use the 'Morris or similar' gambit, but it does specifically mention dancing. Maybe if you hop every minute or so??


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 09:28 AM

My understanding is that these new licences won't expire. Therefore LAs will only get one chance to collect the fee. I also gather that most LAs are saying that £500 won't cover their costs, and want to up the ante. That being so, wouldn't they rather fight to get the maximum fee, even if they have to wait longer for it.

The fee will ONLY last for the lifetime of the business. Common sense would dictate that when a new business starts on the same premises (i.e. in the case of a pub - a new licensee comes in) another fee will be liable. Possibly also new fee would be liable - when an alteration to the exsisting licence were made by the same licensee.

But you seem to be overlooking the fact that an annual inspection charge will also have to be set and paid for every licence. The loose figures proposed for this charge are is already set higher than the present alcohol licence and this is where the bulk of the revenue will be coming from.

And in the case of alcohol - there is also a personal licence needing to be paid for and renewed every ten years.

The cash cow is far from dead - just being milked differently elswhere.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 10:15 AM

Do we know for certain how the law will handle changes of licensee ?
If the landlord is not a tenant but a manager, how will this affect things ? If a new license is only required on change of tenant - there might be even more pressure for breweries to only have managed houses.

It is precisely these sort of details that I want to know the answers to. If things go pear-shaped on some of these issues, it may not just be clubs and sessions whose demise we will be lamenting, but the pubs themselves. As I have previously mentioned, we have lost an awful number of pubs in our area in the last 5 years already.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 11:23 AM

It seems from the DCMS website that the new draft ofthe guidance is not available yet.

I wonder how close to the deadline of September for it to be brought in as a statutory instrument they are going to leave it.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 11:31 AM

I have just read the JCHR report.   They seem to miss the rather obvious point that if the Act does apply equally to amplified and unamplified music, it is very hard to see how both applications cn be proportionate. They hardly note at all that the exemption for Morris discriminates against other European (and other) cultures. They fail to note that the incidental exemption and Sky TV exemption do not provide for respect for private lives and homes. My impression is that they have been nobbled somehow.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 01:09 PM

"They hardly note at all that the exemption for Morris discriminates against other European (and other) cultures."

I would think that "and similar" should cover that. The differences between Morris Dancing and other forms of folk dance display might be very important to folklorists, but the essential similarity here sdurely is thta they are all forms of display dancing rooted in some ethnic tradition or other.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 03:27 PM

I have just read the JCHR report.   They seem to miss the rather obvious point that if the Act does apply equally to amplified and unamplified music, it is very hard to see how both applications cn be proportionate. They hardly note at all that the exemption for Morris discriminates against other European (and other) cultures.

They also miss that the exemption for music as an integral part of Morris (like kind etc) - applies only to non amplified music. Difficult to see how they can accept that the Act does apply equally to amplified and non amplified music.

The idea that the JCHR now accept that live music and broadcast/recorded music are treated equally is of course wrong.   

Interesting also that it would appear that as long as the statement of compatabilty is made at the introduction of the Bill - any subsequent amendments (and rubbish like this) if voted for - automatically become OK with our HRA.......

Mr Caborn making the point that no one mentioned opposition to the Church exemption in the debates is a good one. Had the JCHR been able to meet and make this point in their report in time - it would have been impossible for this NOT to have been mentioned.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 02:07 AM

From Hamish Birchall

The Joint Committee on Human Rights yesterday (Mon 15 July) published its 15th Scrutiny of Bills report, including final comment on the Licensing Act 2003 and live music. Downloadable copies, HTML or PDF, are available at:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt/jtrights.htm

Responding to criticism from the JCHR that the entertainment licensing exemption for churches could lead to discrimination against secular venues, the Government for the first time cites churches' special role in the development of classical music:

'Whilst it is indeed true that the exemption is not afforded to secular venues, the creation of this exemption was prompted by a recognition, after discussion with representatives from various faiths, of the distinct pastoral role in the community played by many of the faiths and the wider responsibility that, for example, the church has in bringing the community together. By way of contrast, secular venues are run solely for commercial purposes and have no equivalent pastoral role in our society. Further, churches have a central role to the development of music in this country, particularly because the premises are large enough to stage performances, particularly classical pieces.'
[Letter to JCHR from Richard Caborn, Minister for Sport, 30 June 2003, annex to 15th JCHR Scrutiny of Bills Report , HL Paper 149, HC 1005.]

This is an interesting development, particularly in the context of the Government's earlier vehement protestations that licensing is essential for public safety at concert venues. The Government's own draft Guidance states that each of the four licensing objectives, which include public safety, are of equal importance. Mr Caborn's arguments clearly did not satisfy the JCHR, which, while recognising churches' special role, commented:

'... it is arguable whether these considerations mark those places out sufficiently from other artistic and musical venues to justify, in an objective and rational way, the different treatment afforded to them in relation to entertainment licensing.'

The JCHR Report goes on to correct the misapprehension that the Act should have had a declaration of ECHR compatibility - this only occurs on the face of Bills, not Acts. But, disappointingly, the Committee then makes a fundamental error in accepting the DCMS argument that the Act treats performances of live and recorded music equally, amplified or unamplified.

Paragraph 5.6 on p20 of the Report concludes that, having received advice from DCMS: 'We accept that the Act covers performances of live and recorded, amplified and unamplified music in the same way, as the description of entertainment to which the Bill applies, contained in Schedule 1 to the Act, makes clear.'

This is simply not true. Consider the exemption for broadcast entertainment (Sch. 1, para 8). This exempts, for example, a live or recorded concert broadcast publicly in any place, whereas even one featured live musician actually present and performing, amplified or unamplified, would be illegal unless licensed.

A bar, or indeed any secular venue, could advertise to the public that a particular broadcast concert will be shown as a featured entertainment on a plasma screen with a powerful sound system, and this would not require licensing under the Act. However, a similarly featured performance by one musician actually present and performing in the same premises, amplified or not, would be illegal unless licensed.

That is not equal treatment, and it is difficult to see how the inequality can be justified on the grounds that the live performance is generally likely to give rise to greater risks than the broadcast entertainment. Indeed, the opposite is more likely: the broadcast might be of a popular DJ; the live performance by a relatively unknown musician.

Consider also the exemptions for the exhibition of film for the purposes of advertisement, information, education etc and at museums and art galleries (Sch. 1. paras 5 and 6). Any music that is recorded on the soundtrack of such films will be reproduced through amplification. However, if a live musician (or musicians) were to perform live music as an accompaniment to the film, amplified or not, this would be illegal unless licensed under the Act.

The 'incidental' exemption cannot apply to the performance of live music in this case because it would be combined with another licensable entertainment - a combination that is explicitly prohibited in Sch. 1, para 7(a).

It is also common for the music retail sector to employ well-known musicians for public demonstrations of musical instruments. This is by way of entertainment as well as advertisement with a view to commercial sales. Such performances fall within the licensing regime, whereas the showing of a video or DVD of the same musician (inevitably amplified) to the public for the same purpose would be exempt. Again this is not equal treatment, and difficult to justify on the grounds of a greater risk arising from the performance of live musicians.

The Morris dancing exemption similarly highlights the fact that the Act does not cover performances of amplified and unamplified live music in the same way. Live unamplified music with Morris dancers in a bar would be exempt; but the same live unamplified performance without the dancers would be illegal unless licensed.

The last minute concessions relating to licence conditions in smaller venues (s. 177 of the Act) treat licensable performances of amplified and unamplified live music very differently and, arguably, irrationally, in terms of the conditions which may be imposed.

Leaving aside for the moment the Act's unequal treatment of secular venues and places of public religious worship, the fact is that a very large number of bars and other potential secular venues that could provide some featured live music will have to clear a much greater legislative and administrative barrier than if they provide amplified music via broadcasts.

Taken together with the other examples above it is difficult to see how this does not amount to manifest discrimination against live music. This is now part of primary legislation and cannot be disapplied by guidance. The discrimination goes to the heart of the issue of musicians' right to freedom of expression and whether the Act is proportionate in its control of live performance.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 04:31 AM

If we look at the history of the 'incidental' exemption - it was originally only for 'incidental recorded music' such as that provided in lifts and background (juke-box) type things.

Now it would be a strange person indeed who seriously tried to maintain that advertising the fact that you had music in your lift would turn this into public (or now regulated) entertainment.

Now that the exemption is extended to all 'incidental' music - I would suggest that just advertising a regular session was to take place would not turn this 'incidental' live music into public (or now regulated) entertainment.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 06:30 AM

"Incidental" may turn out to be quite flexible once the courts get on it - Human RIghts Act.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 07:04 PM

"...once the courts get on it..."

But at least in the short run it's not going to be the courts who decide. When local councils lean on licensees, most of them are going to give in without fighting it in court. And the same kind of thing applies even more with pub chains - the board is going to send down an instruction to the managers of pubs telling them to play it safe by not having any live music.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 08:03 PM

Can I make the point that there is a concentration on landlords etc and the bill is much wider.

In the past we have needed the co-operation of a landlord or similar to make a protest because there was really only pubs that this sort of thing was a problem in.

It is now a problem in all sorts of places and I can envisage all sorts of interesting places to hold music sessions where the local authority will not want to prosecute people.

Be creative!!

Regards,

Dave


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 08:19 PM

Actually to have a music performance in public places without a Public Entertainment Licence has been illegal for many years. The two-in-a-bar thing which we have lost was an exemption, not some special restrictionon pubs - two-in-a-coffee bar, for example, was never covered by the exemption.

But this whole campaign and the attention the bill has aroused has, I hope, made us all more aware of the unreasonable limits on our freedom, which have been there all along. Maybe it might push us into refusing to knuckle under. Unjust and stupid laws can only persist in the long run if people obey them.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Jul 03 - 10:54 AM

Yesterday I received the following extraordinary message from Lib Dem Peer - Baroness Hamwee. To my knowledge the same message was sent to at least one other..........

I received your email after the the event, but wanted to reply.

The Liberal Democrats supported the Government's exemption of morris and other forms of folk dancing as well as introducing amendments that enabled the performance of unamplified live music for up to 200 people in places that have a licence to be exempt from needing permission to do this.

Our reason for accepting these proposals at this last stage is that we recognised the Government would probably rather lose the Bill than concede an amendment that enabled up to 200 people to listen to live amplified or unamplified music without a licence.

It appears that the Government may have given us a form of reintroduction of the "two in a bar" rule to enable some form of amplified music to be exempt had we defeated them again, but my colleague Lord Redesdale has campaigned extensively against this arcane measure far longer than the life of the Bill's progress through Parliament so was very reluctant to concede a situation where this would return.

We were very pleased that the Government conceded on the issue of exempting the performance of live incidental music, a Liberal Democrat amendment originally inserted into the Bill when it was first introduced to the Lords, and believe this ensures pianists in restaurants and carol singers at train stations will not need to be licensed.

Thank you for contacting me.

Baroness Sally Hamwee


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: vectis
Date: 24 Jul 03 - 01:01 PM

Sorry folks I've missed all this because I've been in Ireland enjoying the craic that will soon be illegal here in our pubs. Time to emigrate I ask myself?

Are village halls still exempt from the necessity to get a licence?
Do they need one if there is a bar, temporary or permanent in said hall?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Jul 03 - 01:49 PM

The follwing from Graham Dixon.

Dear Mr Dixon


A response to your e-petition has been published. View the response here:


http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page297.asp


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: ET
Date: 24 Jul 03 - 03:23 PM

I am certain that both the Lords and Commons were mis lead into thinking they had granted an exemption for acoustic music. They ought to be ashamed but maybe they could be pursuaded to turn that on the Minister to amend the definition of regulated entertainment by ministerial order as the Act provides. This is quicker and faster than legislation. But see the Downing Street response to the penition - wrtten me thinks by Kim Howells?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 24 Jul 03 - 04:27 PM

Kim Howqells could not write that much.

And I also received the idetical extraordinary letter from Baroness Hamwee, or Sally as I now call her.

Regards,

Dave


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Jul 03 - 06:00 PM

Dave that make at least three letters from the Lady.

'Sally Free And Easy'?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 02:55 AM

Isn't it worth remembering that DJ's and Karaoke are going to be caught by this new legislation, so there are going to be quite a few pubs that are going to want to 'tick the box'. I can't see them only having the 'Big Screen' and that's it. These are the ones that should be reminded that it won't cost any extra to include live music in the application, and if it's acoustic the Licensing Authority may well be hamstrung by the act.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 07:10 AM

As being hamstrung re non amplified music - this appears more and more to be a nonsense. The Act would seem to understand that non amplified music - with an imposed safe capacity limit of less than 200 people etc - does not present a public nuisence concern. BUT....

Conditions on the Act's objective of public nuisence can still be placed on these premises. They will simply be considered not to be effective when non amplified music is to be performed. This is not really a lot of practical use.

[But strangly for premises with an imposed safe capacity limit over 200 or non at all - this will automatically present a public nuisence - even in the unlikely event that an application was ever to be made only for non amplified music.]   

This is rather like saying that anyone who is refused entry on the gounds of their colour or their sex by immigration officials and are sitting outside the country - do not have to worry because these conditions of entry will subsequently not have effect.

The already exessive conditions of the Premises Licence, entertainment permission and an imposed safe capacity limit have already been placed for non amplified music. For the safe capacity limit is NOT set to be automatically imposed on ALL Premises Licenses.

Stand-up drink establishments for example and those providing large-screen football will not need have an imposed safe capacity imposed - for they will not need to apply for entertainment permission.

However, the current custom of automatically imposing this - only on premises applying to provide live entertainment - will just continue. In fact - and this is the danger of this new measure - this practice will have to - as this requirement is written in to the amendment and the only way of seeing if the less than 200 people figure kicks in or not.

But if the public nuisance condition of the entertainment permission insisted on - was a structural one like soundproofing etc - it will hardly be physically removed - should only non amplified music be performed. So stating that this condition was not in in effect is a nonsense

And if it isn't undertaken in the first place - no entertainment permission will be granted and no music - even non amplified will be able to take place..........

Now I can't really see anyone arguing, (even our Gareth) that an imposed safe capacity limit is a most sensible - if not vital public safety measure to ensure that the public are not placed at risk by overcrowing. But the historical idea - sadly enshrined and it would seem permanently embedded in entertainment licensing - that live music is the only activity that gives rise to this concern is plain nonsense - but it just continues in this Act.

So the big question is - if this Act is really about public safety - why are the Government so determined that heavy drinking establishments - the stand-up drinking establishments and the TV football crowds - should NOT have an automatic safe capacity limit imposed upon them as a condition of all Premises Licenses applications?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 07:24 AM

Well I think we should forget all the b****hit regarding 'it wasn't licensable before' as it's only a few years back that all there was in a pub for example was a 21 inch screen television with a puny little speaker, so of course it wasn't. Things have moved on, and now it's 100 inch mini movie screens and 5.1 surround sound that blasts it out. No - it's because they didn't want to take on the media moguls plain and simple. There can be no good reason for these monster TV's not to be licensed if it is a question of noise or public order, and of course capacity limits. Total and utter popycock!!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 09:59 AM

On the contrary there's a very good reason why wide screen Sky TV is being exempted - the labour party is hoping to get a fair sized donation from the likes of Murdoch and MONEY TALKS.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 10:37 AM

Just dug this out of the Guidance:-

Live music, dancing and theatre
4.45 Statements of policy should also recognise that as part of implementing local authority cultural strategies, proper account should be taken of the need to encourage and promote live music, dancing and theatre for the wider cultural benefit of communities generally. The potential for limited disturbance in neighbourhoods should always be carefully balanced with these wider benefits, particularly for children. In determining what conditions should be attached to licences and certificates as a matter of necessity for the promotion of the licensing objectives, licensing authorities should be aware of the need to avoid measures which deter live music, dancing and theatre by imposing indirect costs of a substantial nature. Licensing authorities should be aware that the views of vocal minorities should not be allowed to predominate over the general interests of the community that the committee represents.

Pub games
6.9 Games commonly played in pubs and social and youth clubs like pool, darts, table tennis and billiards may fall within the definition of indoor sports in Schedule 1, but normally they would not be played for the entertainment of spectators but for the private enjoyment of the participants. As such they are not
regulated entertainment, and the facilities provided (even if a pub provides them with a view to profit) do not fall within the limited list of entertainment facilities in the Schedule. It is only when such games are staged for spectators, for example, a darts championship competition that the activity would become licensable.

So, if there's a dart match for a local league it does become licensable.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 10:53 AM

The response to the E Petition is probably summed-up in the very first para.

A great deal of misinformation has been circulating about our modernisation of the licensing laws in England and Wales and we are therefore not surprised at the level of concern that has been shown.

This cop out means don't blame us if the Act does actually not do what we keep on trying to make out that it does and that 110,000 people do not accept what we say. And that we have not bothered to really address this level of concern as it is far easier to 'spin' the truth and to pass the blame on to others.

But who is really guilty of misinformation? Does your MP understand it?

Reading through this thread it is quite obvious that many here, even those trying hard to follow it - still do understand what is or is not covered and many other aspects of the Act - mainly because you need a solicitor to explain this Act and they will be arguing these points of law for ever....

That folk still do not understand how this legislation is to work and affect them is clearly not due to any 'lying campaign' for that would have plainly been counter-productive, but simply because the Act especially Schedule 1 and the entertainment aspects - is an ill-conceived mess.

So as well as making efforts here to try and live with the practical applications of the Act - I feel that it is still vital that if you do not understand particular details, do not agree with them or find in practice that you cannot make them work - that you keep on at your MPs and Councillors to (try) and explain and to sort things out for you.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 11:07 AM

More from the Guidance. Sorry I can't get a blue clicky to work but if you go to Google and search for 'Licensing Act 2003' then down a couple of lines is 'GUIDANCE ISSUED UNDER SECTION 177 OF THE LICENSING ACT 2003'. Anyway, this is relevant:-

8.8 Licensing authorities and responsible authorities should also have proper regard for the history of certain events and activities. If over a significant period of time, regular events of a particular kind have not given rise to problems of disorder and disturbance or concerns about safety or children, this should stand in favour of the applicant for a premises licence in respect of the activities involved. For example, for many years events involving up to two live musicians in premises licensed for the sale of alcohol have been exempt from the requirements for a public entertainment licence. Local authorities will be aware of premises where this freedom has caused local disturbance for residents and where it has not. This local knowledge is important. Where premises have not caused such problems, the provision of small-scale live music should not normally give rise to the need to attach any substantial conditions to the main premises licence. On the other hand, where in the minority of cases problems have occurred, the new premises licence will afford an opportunity to attach conditions addressing any nuisance previously caused. The views of local residents will be important in establishing the extent of any history of problems.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: ET
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 11:17 AM

Interesting Stuff. The other night a bloke in the town I work in was stabbed to death after a night out in a pub that has loud music all night - the 14th murder this year so far in this town!

Most landlords are dreading the local authorities taking over.

Local Pub had to cancel weekend gigs because its PEL renewal had not been processed-too much work!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: ET
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 11:29 AM

Guidance

Be careful because the guidance on the net is an early version not taking into account the amendments. There is more to come and a new edition


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 09:42 AM

I am certain that both the Lords and Commons were mis lead into thinking they had granted an exemption for acoustic music. They ought to be ashamed but maybe they could be pursuaded to turn that on the Minister to amend the definition of regulated entertainment by ministerial order as the Act provides. This is quicker and faster than legislation. But see the Downing Street response to the penition - wrtten me thinks by Kim Howells?

http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page297.asp

Perhaps we can concentrate via our MPs of establishing what this ministerial order can do and what it cannot do?

Does it have to wait for the so-called promised review - for example? Or can these powers be introduced at any time?

When we have done this - perhaps we can work on a way of ensuring that these powers are used to the best possible effect - via a Parlimentary Committee perhaps?

When the dust has settled a little - but before the momentum is lost and perhaps to provide some incentive for this approach - another E petition would be a good idea? One carefully worded for the best possible effect and in order to obtain the maximum of support from the broadest section of the community?

Possibly one concentrating more on the basic basic principles and containing a simple but effective slogan and banner to unite under? Or at least one our media can understand?

There was tremendous support given to the (some would say) even overtly Party political nature of the words of the first E petition. This being taken from the Conservative Party originated Commons Early Day Motion. And it certainly served its purpose and higlighted the problems.

However I think it is fair to say that the nature and origin of these words, (and I will take the full blame for the use of these words) did tend to mean that Labour MPs and supporters - even those that were concerned and agreed - were placed in a difficult position.......


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 09:58 AM

"...premises with an imposed safe capacity limit over 200 or none at all -this will automatically present a public nuisence - even in the unlikely event that an application was ever to be made only for non amplified music"

- Well, unamplified brass bands and symphony orchestras do actually play to audiences over 200.

There are bits in the guidelines which are helpful enough - but if a local council decides to ignore them, does that mean that its policy and decisions are illegal and unenforceable? I've got a feeling that it doesn't.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 05:06 PM

The following from Hamish Burchall

Dear Baroness Hamwee

I have been forwarded a copy of an email message from you to folk musicians concerning the the Liberal Democrat role in securing live music amendments to the Licensing Act 2003, and the effect of those amendments.

As Musicians' Union adviser on entertainment licensing reform and the Licensing Bill, I worked closely with Lord Redesdale and Liberal Democrat MPs.

The Bill as published on 14 November 2002 was draconian: it abolished a range of very significant entertainment licensing exemptions, even though the government provided no evidence of a public interest reason for doing so. If enacted the Bill would have criminalised the provision of most public performance of live music in England and Wales unless first licensed.

It is quite true that Liberal Democrat Peers, in collaboration with the Conservatives, subsequently achieved important amendments, and I am particularly grateful for Lord Redesdale's and Nick Harvey's hard work to that end. I am also very grateful to Lord Lester for his speech in the Lords on July 3 (see excerpt below). David Heath was also extremely helpful in raising the profile of this issue last year in the Commons with speeches and his Early Day Motion 1182 (which gained 233 signatures).

However, I think you may be under a misapprehension about unamplified live music under the Act. It remains the case that a featured performance of unamplified live music in a secular venue will be illegal unless first licensed, whether this is a singer in a bar or a harpist in a library.

The government made a rather complex last minute concession which may limit potentially onerous licence conditions in smaller venues (up to 200 permitted capacity), but there is no outright exemption from licensing, unless the live music (amplified or unamplified) is 'incidental' to other activities that are not themselves licensable entertainments, or is purely unamplified live music 'integral' to a performance of Morris dancing, or dancing of a similar nature.

On the other hand no licence under the Act is required for broadcast entertainment, including music or sport, which is now commonly provided with big screens and powerful amplification. This is a consequence of the broadcast exemption in Schedule 1, para 8.

Thus a bar, or indeed any venue, could advertise to the public that a particular broadcast music concert will be shown as a featured entertainment on a plasma screen with a powerful sound system, and this would not require licensing under the Act. However, a similarly featured performance by one musician actually present and performing in the same premises, amplified or not, would be illegal unless licensed. That is not equal treatment, and it is difficult to see how the inequality can be justified on the grounds that live performance is likely to give rise to greater risks than the broadcast entertainment. Indeed, the opposite is more likely: the broadcast might be of a very popular DJ; the live performance by relatively unknown musician(s).

Leaving aside for the moment the Act's unequal treatment of secular venues and places of public religious worship (performance in the former is licensable; in the latter, exempt), the fact is that a very large number of bars and other potential venues that could provide some featured live music will have to clear a much greater legislative and administrative barrier than if they were to provide amplified music via broadcasts.

It is difficult to see how this does not amount to manifest discrimination against live music. This is now part of primary legislation and cannot be disapplied by guidance. The discrimination goes to the heart of the issue of musicians' right to freedom of expression and whether the Act is proportionate in its control of live performance.

Lord Lester put this succinctly in the Lords on 3 July:

'I find the distinction drawn between live music in pubs and dead music or dead entertainment on mass television in pubs arbitrary and somewhat discriminatory. Perhaps it reflects some kind of cultural bias. I believe that it shows a complete lack of proportion to insist on unnecessary regulation in licensing. I should be interested to know how the Minister [Lord McIntosh], for whom I have such high regard, would explain, if he had to do so in a court of law, how this kind of regulation is proportionate and how it satisfies the basic principle of proportionality. Are the means being used really necessary to achieve the Government's legitimate aims, or would some lesser sacrifice of free expression be proportionate?...'

Lord McIntosh did not answer these questions.

Yours sincerely
Hamish Birchall


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Aug 03 - 02:10 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

The Guardian has published a tirade against virtually all musicians who use amplification, including the statement 'I want to firebomb the Musicians' Union'. This is, apparently, for delaying the licensing Bill by a few days arguing for a fairer regime. Perhaps the author works for the DCMS Bill team, or could David Stubbs be a pseudonym for Kim Howells?

The Guardian's letter page email address is: letters@guardian.co.uk

~ ~ ~

Guardian, The Guide, p21, Sat 02 August 2003

David Stubbs is backing Blair all the way


On July 3, the House of Lords failed to block government moves to introduce a new law requiring pubs, clubs and cafes to apply for costly new licences if they wish to provide live entertainment. The measures will, reported The Guardian, "act as a deterrent to small venues wishing to host live groups". As organisations like the Musicians' Union protest, the dangers this new legislation proposes to curb, such as overcrowding and unruly behaviour, are already covered by existing law.

Loopholes allow for the exemption of, for example, morris dancers and pubs with widescreen TV - musicians who use amplified instruments are being scapegoated. These new laws are flawed, vindictive, inconsistent and I, along with every sane person I know back them to the hilt.

Let's be clear about who's hit hardest by this legislation - talentless, timewasting pub bands. Amateurs. White blues combos from Peterborough with podgy bassists, drowning the works of Howlin' Wolf in their own sweat and phlegm. Trad jazz bands, all beards and sandals, playing When The Saints Go Marching In (Yeah? Well, one more peep out of that clarinet and it'll be the police who go marching in, suckers). Bands with the word Rockin' in their names, who reduce rock to raucous, untreated sewage. Legions of uninspired, unashamed no-hopers who, even within a music industry benevolent enough to indulge The Thrills, can't get signed and resort to ruining the lives of innocent drinkers with their relentlessly, drearily competent bletherings. Bands who can't get arrested - well, they will be now, thank Christ.

No serious lover of music seeks out dingy old pubs with blackboards boasting LIVE ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT, much as no serious lover of wine seeks out bottles with party balloons on their label. It could be argued that these excremental outfits constitute the manure from which the roses of tomorrow will bloom. Unlikely - most new talent is hatched in bedrooms on iMacs, not in back bars. Even if it were, however, better that this vast swill of pestilential conversation-drowners be suppressed and, though we be denied the new Coral, punters have their peace restored.

These bands are flogging the dead horsemeat of long-dead genres. Jazz. Blues (very dead). Rock (recently dead). So it's intensely galling that efforts to throw out this legislation has resulted in the delaying of the overall Licensing Bill, liberalising opening hours in line with civilisation as a whole, which would otherwise have been law by now. When I think of the convivial occasions I've recently enjoyed interrupted just as they were getting going by some aproned minion barking "Time, gentlemen!", of how such premature ejection is down to liberal hand-wringing over the rights of Bonnie Tyler-wannabes to inflict their renditions of I Will Always Love You on undeserving patrons, I want to firebomb the Musicians' Union. History may forgive you over Iraq, Mr Blair, but only because you've bequeathed us this wonderful legislation. Thank you, sir.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 08:16 AM

So here we are in September and still no guidance!!

I've been studying section 177 of the act and the following is what it means:-

If it's amplified live music and the venue has a permitted capacity of not more than 200, then there's no time restriction, however there can be conditions imposed for:
(a) the prevention of crime and disorder,
(b) public safety.

If it's unamplified, live music and the venue has a permitted capacity of not more than 200, then no conditions can be applied between the hours of 08:00 and 24:00 unless subsection (6) comes into play:-

6) A condition falls within this subsection if, on a review of the premises licence-

(a) it is altered so as to include a statement that this section does not apply to it, or
(b) it is added to the licence and includes such a statement
====================
So, it really is up to us to keep badgering the relevant parties to 'tick the box' as things like acoustic sessions, Folk Clubs without amplification, and the like cannot have restrictions put on the licence. And remind them - this will cost no extra to the premises license.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 08:28 AM

That David Stubbs thing is hilarious. Much as my sympathies are WITH the pub-musicians, it is a brilliant piss-take.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 09:50 AM

Unless LAs think that they can raise some revenue out of the new act, they're hardly going to be in a rush to implement it. It'll be interesting to see if the guidelines have appeared by next March when presumably 1/3 of existing magistrate's licenses will have expired.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 11:08 AM

I think (no - I 'know') that the repercussions of this Bill are just now beginning to sink in at other levels of government. Apart from the music aspects, two points have been brought to my attention:

There's apparently a requirement, now, for a personal license holder to be on any licensed premises every hour that it is open. Local Authority officers here had worked out that this would mean 2 people per premises and they could easily cope with the paperwork. Our local LVA has just pointed out that, given shift work, holidays, sick leave, etc. AND given that the Bill also now allows for longer opening hours, the Authority will be processing AT LEAST double that amount. And the LA admits that they do not have the capacity.

Second point: I've just had a civil servant from the National Assembly (Wales) on the phone who tells me that the Bill will make it illegal for petrol station shops to sell alcohol.   The National Assembly strategy for keeping rural petrol stations open hinges on diversification, which largely means providing village shop and post office facilities. They've suddenly realized that the Bill is a major kick in the teeth for the strategy.

Sadly, he also didn't realize that the Bill has actulaly passed! (((big sigh))) I told them that they should be paying more attention to this thing ....

sian


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: DMcG
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 07:32 AM

Yesterday there was a report on the radio saying one of the reasons the council tax rise was high this year was the extra responsibilities on councils because of the new Licencing Laws. Now why am I not surprised?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST,ET
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 05:18 AM

Just reviving this a bit - this so called deregulation bill is very complicated and will not now be brought in until autumn 2005.

On the DCMS website is a simplified deinition of public entertainment - it is a complete lie. See their site and FAQ. It talks about "for commercial gain". The Act says nothing of the sort.

This is what the web site says
Frequently Asked Questions
> How do you define public entertainment?   In broad terms, public entertainment is music or dancing, or entertainment of a like kind, which is presented publicly for commercial purposes or for gain.


Yes pubs need qualified people on the premises at all times but who but an idiot is going to get qualified as a "minder" and not want a pub of his/her own.

The DCMS has a flyer it asks to be distributed to the trade. It is about 3 pages long so I will copy it onto another section of this formum. If you find it- print it and give it to your local land lord. There may be a pint in it for you?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST,ET
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 05:20 AM

Official Guidance for Licensees


NEW LICENSING LAWS!
YOUR BUSINESS WILL BE AFFECTED – PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

Dear Licensee

On the 10th July last year, the Licensing Act 2003 ("the Act") received Royal Assent. The Act marks the end of existing outdated licensing regimes and introduces new licensing laws for the use of premises for the sale and supply of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and the provision of late night refreshment.   If you wish to continue selling or supplying alcohol after the Act is fully implemented you will need to have new permissions; a premises licence and separate personal licences. Applications will need to be made to your local licensing authority (normally your local authority) and NOT the magistrates' court.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will shortly announce the date for the beginning of the transitional period within which applications may be made. Details will be available on the DCMS website: www.culture.gov.uk.
In making your application, the following should be noted:
        

CONVERSION OF EXISTING LICENCES

You will normally be able to apply for a 'conversion' of your existing licence(s) to a new premises licence and to have a fast track application for a personal licence. Applications for the premises licence can only be made during a period of six months following the day to be appointed by DCMS to start the transitional period.   Applications for personal licences are likely to be allowed in the same period. You will normally be entitled to the new premises licence, containing all your existing permissions and conditions, unless there is an objection by the police.

If you do not apply during this period, you cannot convert your existing licence(s) and you will need to apply under the full requirements of the Act. If so, objections could be raised by a number of specified groups, including for example the police and local residents. It is in your own and your business' interest to consider whether you wish to take advantage of this conversion process.

You will need the correct documentation and completed forms for any applications for premises or personal licences.   Information will be available on the DCMS website in due course.


VARIATION OF EXISTING LICENCES

An application to change your existing permissions or hours is called a 'variation' and can be made at the same time as an application for a 'conversion' of your existing licence. When fully implemented, the Act marks the end of national "permitted hours" during which alcohol may be sold or supplied. If you convert your existing justices' licence, your existing trading hours will be preserved as a condition of your new premises licence. However, you will be free to apply to change the hours during which you sell or supply alcohol on any day of the week. If this variation is granted, the hours, proposed by you, will then be controlled individually by the new premises licence for your premises. You can also consider through the variation process to add other permissions covering licensable activities such as the provision of regulated entertainment or provision of late night refreshment. When a variation is sought, representations, including objections, may be raised by a number of specified groups, including for example the police and local residents.

You will need additional documentation and forms for this kind of application. Information will again be available in due course on the DCMS website.

This information is being provided to help you prepare for the changes.

Please note that applications are not required to be processed by your local licensing authority until the date to be announced shortly by the DCMS. Should you wish to obtain an application form or further advice, nearer this time, you should contact your licensing authority (normally your local authority) and ask to speak with the team responsible for alcohol, regulated entertainment or late night refreshment licensing.

Finally, please note that if you wish to request any change to your existing licence or apply for a new justices' licence to be effective prior to the date when the Act is fully implemented, you will still need to do so via your local magistrates' court under the Licensing Act 1964. The new licensing system will not take effect until the end of a transitional period. This will be announced by DCMS. This will ensure that there has been an opportunity over a period of nine months for all existing licences to be converted.

If you wish to obtain more details about the future licensing arrangements, you may wish to consult the DCMS website (www.culture.gov.uk) which contains advice and information about the new system.



February 2004


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Feb 04 - 01:45 PM

In answer to the above.

You might enjoy this editorial, published last week by the Institute for Licensing:

Licensing News, 12 February 2004


GOVERNMENT LICENSING POLICY QUERIED

The Government has come under fire for its draft guidance to local authorities under the Licensing Act 2003.

Westminster Council has said that the document is not worth the paper that it is written on. This comes after frustratingly long months since the Act received Royal Assent last June without any information from the government on how the new laws will work in practice.

Councillor Audrey Lewis, cabinet member for licensing at the council, said: 'We were told that practical detail would be contained in the guidance but having studied [it], the council discovered that the guidance is meaningless without the regulations to which it constantly refers. Unfortunately the regulations are nowhere to be seen.'

The council is one of many that has now written to the government outlining its concerns and making it clear that local authorities need to be provided with the necessary regulations, including those relating to fees.

It is concerned about numerous grey areas in the government's proposals as to how the Act will operate in principle, in particular about:

- the transition period
- absence of guidance on conditions to be attached to licences
- what application forms will look like and the detail contained in them
- a lack of clarity about the role of local authorities as objectors to licence applications
Councillor Lewis added that even issues that the government tried to address, such as the cumulative impact of licenced premises, are addressed in an incoherent way. The council is particularly concerned about the large number of expected applications during the transition period that the Act says must be determined within two months or else trigger an appeal to the magistrates' courts. The council foresees that the statutory public notices and consultation periods will be difficult to meet within those two months, let alone the adjournment of hearings often sought by applicants.

Concluded Councillor Lewis: 'The guidance is contradictory, full of holes, legally suspect and a virtually useless collection of bland statements that have no practical application.'

'If all the government and all its advisors do not know how this legislation is going to work then what hope do council licensing officers have. Councils will have to decide what conditions should be attached to premises licences with no help from this so-called guidance while dealing with a huge volume of applications during the transition period.'

Practical Effects
Meanwhile Watford Council has written to Secretary of State Tessa Jowell asking how specific issues affecting its Licensing Committee will be dealt with under the Act. Councillors were concerned that rules concerning the political balance of committees, quoracy, substitutions by councillors for others not on the main committee, and the requirement to give applicants and objectors a fair hearing could mean that it would take four years to get through the anticipated number of applications during the transition period - far in excess of the required two months.

In a letter from Minister of State Richard Caborn, the government replied that there are no rules in the Act or in proposed regulations requiring committees to achieve political balance; that existing rules as to the quorum for committees will apply; and that there is nothing to prevent substitutions to the licensing committee from other members of the council.

Guidance to be approved soon
Licensing professionals will be aware that Parliament needs to approve the statutory guidance under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 in order to start the process for implementing the transfer of liquor licensing responsibilities to local authorities.

This process has been taking longer than expected. Originally, it seemed the government would have published the draft guidance and detailed regulations in August or September 2003, a timetable that has now dramatically slipped.

In a series of oral answers to the House of Commons, the government has indicated that it hopes the draft guidance will be tabled during January, with approval from both Houses being gained by the end of February.

That should in their view lead to full implementation of the Act by spring 2005. By the last week of January however there was still no sign of the guidance appearing.

Minister Richard Caborn told MPs that as soon as both Houses approve the necessary regulations, the six-month period for consultation and production of statements of licensing policies will begin. The first appointed day in his view will be in July 2004 and the implementation "will end six months after that in the spring of 2005" - which is presumably a typing error in Hansard, a deliberate miscalculation or a calendar malfunction.

West Derbyshire MP Patrick McLoughlin pre-empted the criticism by Westminster Council when he too questioned the value of the guidance. He pointed out that the draft has not yet properly released for the public although it's 165 pages are available on the Culture Department's website - and the system, as the Minister acknowledged last August, should be a "light touch" one.

Watford's MP Claire Ward added to the questioning by asking for some certainty in respect of the timetable for implementation. Her local authority wanted to be certain about the impact that any changes resulting from the legislation would have on its budget-setting process.

Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster asked the Minister how the Act can possibly be implemented, when the guidance has not been published or approved; when the secondary legislation has not been agreed; when no fee structures have been agreed with local authorities; when no draft forms for making applications have been published; when no set-up fees have been agreed; and when there has been no start to a central database for personal licences by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport despite its intention to do so.

Richard Caborn replied that: 'Rather than the picture painted by the Honourable Gentlemen, the reality, according to the Local Government Association, is than many local authorities are already preparing to implement the Act.'

MP for Bromsgrove Julie Kirkbride questioned Ministers about the possible financial consequences of the set-up costs involved in implementing the Act on the part of local councils. She told the House that some councils had estimated it would cost £200,000 to implement, and Maidstone council's deputy chief executive had written to DCMS to complain that the government has totally underestimated the costs involved for local authorities in doing this job properly. The Minister confirmed that the full cost-recovery for local authorities envisaged by the government would include the cost of setting up new procedures and systems.

Outside of the House, the Minister has faced criticism from the trade after failing to talk to the industry, and calling off at the last minute a visit to last year's Publican Conference in order to attend the Rugby World Cup instead. Last year a poll for The Publican.com showed that 41 per cent of licencees were unsure of what they should do to prepare for the Act, and 26 per cent were still waiting to be contacted by their local council.

Lack of clarity
Mark Hastings of the British Beer and Pub Association told The Publican: 'There is a total lack of clarity about the timetable and what we are going to do and when. The industry is in a limbo and everyone is looking for some direction.'

Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licenced Victuallers' Associations, added: 'We need to get the message across to all licencees but things have been delayed because the guidance is still waiting to go through Parliament.'

END


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 05:56 AM

The Guidance. As of 23 March 2004.

http://www.culture.gov.uk/global/publications/archive_2004/draft_guide_licensing_act2003.htm


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST,ET
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 06:43 AM

The guidance is out. Storm of criticism on pub hours and binge drinking. On music "incidental live and recorded music to be exempted from licensing for the first time". Unamplified live music in small venues to be treated exceptionally to ensure traditional and amateur folk music thrives.

I quote from the guidance wihtout comment or interpretation.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 06:50 AM

Come on then Roger (and probably Richard Bridge as well) - let's have a digest of the points which are likely to affect folk song, music, and Dance.

It's rather amusing that after all the benefits that this bill was going to bring us, it now appears that the government are getting cold feet about extending licensing hours.

Also, if this act was so urgent - why is it not likely to be fully implemented until 2006 ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 02:02 PM

Looking at 5.18 on page 49 about Incidental Music.

This was a hope for us but not much hope for your singing Dave. As one factor is set to be "volume".

Common sense dictates that live or recorded played at volumes which predominate over other activities at a venue could rarely be regarded as incidental to those activities.

Having heard your singing drown out the Whitehall traffic - I fear that this exemption will not be open to you Dave.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 03:12 PM

So, if the music is louder than the sound of the knives and forks in a restaurant, it'll be illegal. And if it isn't louder than the sound of the knives and forks, it'll be pointless. I wonder how they cope with the situation when people shut up in order to listen to something - presumably it instantly becomes illegal.

I gather that the Punch and Judy people are hopping mad because they now realise that are under threat too - OUR MEDIA PAGE FOR JOURNALISTS

This government site has the guidance document. "Please note this is a large document, and may take some time to download." And even longer to read; and no doubt even longer to make sense of what it says.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 04:50 AM

I've only had a quick skim but it seems full of the waffle we've become used to.

For example it states as quoted above by GuestET "Unamplified live music in small venues to be treated exceptionally to ensure traditional and amateur folk music thrives". Nowhere does it appear to give any guidance on what is "exceptional" treatment. In fact it's impossible to know what "exceptional" treatment is since it doesn't appear to give any indication of what "non exceptional" treatment is.

As I said I've only skimmed it but the criticism seems justified, if not surprising.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 06:25 AM

In 5.11 Page 47: Said juke box for background music - is not a licensable entertainment facility. Does it then become so if the volume is turned-up (as per 5.18?

5.13 Page 48: For example, stand - up comedy is not a licesable activity and musical accompaniment incidental to the main performance would not make it a licensable activity.

So this kind of music is always to be considered incidental and not a licensable actitity - however loud the volume!

Why the distinction - given the objects of the Act? If the stand - up comic sits down - does their chair become an entertainment facility?

So let us forget the concept of session being for music, let's call it a stand - up comedy night. You just get someone to stand-up and tell a few jokes and the music - no matter how loud is always incidental and not a licensable activity.

No wonder Punch and Judy people are pissed - off at being left out. What a joke!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 06:38 AM

For example, stand - up comedy is not a licesable activity and musical accompaniment incidental to the main performance would not make it a licensable activity.

That could mean that music hall songs would slip under the net. Dig out your Cosmotheka records...


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Doktor Doktor
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 06:51 AM

Hard on the heels of the Punch & Judy fiasco*, I've heard from Equity variety branch that the Damn Act's causing havoc in the circus due to the requirement to obtain individual licences for every stop - I gather that another flurry of letters to MPs will follow.

One way of headlining it is that having failed to make morris dancing illegal theyre going for the clowns!

* of course every punch & judy prof should carry mobile toilets with him (one of the sillier implications of a booth being a "premises"). Think of the scope for fun when you install a practical joke pottie!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 07:21 AM

I hope it won't end up as a case of "and the Punch and Judy man is gone forever".

I expect that LAs (like Greenwich) will still interpret tha rules to make as much cash as possible.

What will happen where there are existing PELs in place - will they still have to carry on paying at the current exhorbitant rates ? It seems to me that if they "Tick the Box" when they apply for their first license under the new scheme, they should get the entainment provision for free, or will LAs be able to insist on new restrictions/inspections for premises that they were willing to grant a license to under the old provisions when they were asking for lotsa money ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 07:29 AM

My understanding is that the poor old Punch and Judy person does in fact stand-up to perform. Even if we can't see this because of the tent. Can they not simply be considered as stand-up (but in a tent) comedy? And exempt?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 11:57 AM

Have I got this right?

A stand-up comic's performance is not licensable regulated entertainment. Live or recorded amplified or non-amplified music at any volume, as part of stand-up comic's performance will be exempt because this would be always be considered as incidental to this performance?

Morris dancing performance is exempt. Non-amplified live music which is part of this performance is also exempt because this would be considered as integral to this performance (presumably recorded music used for Morris dancing - will be regulated entertainment as one can hardly claim it to be incidental)?

So the same live amplified or non-amplified music played entirely for fun - WILL be licensable - because it is not taking place as INCIDENTAL to a non-licensable performance of stand-up and it is not taking place as an INTEGRAL part of an exempt performance of Morris dancing............

In addition to all this - can someone explain what, how and when music and dancing is 'spontaneous' and not to be considered as regulated entertainment - re 5.19 Page 50.

Can someone also tell me what all this madness has to do with the four objectives of the Licensing Act 2003 - like protecting children from harm?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 12:07 PM

Wouldn't Morris Dancing count as stand-up comedy in many cases?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 07:16 PM

The Shambles has alighted on the question that should have been the basis of all concerns form the start.

If you want to get a quick assessment of the true impact go directly to the model potential licence conditions associated with the four objectives.

You will immediately recognise that two of the four have nothing to do with entertainment and hence will not affect the entertainment aspects of the licence. e.g. Child protection.

The two that do affect us directly have mainly reasonable model conditions - have the emergency exit unlocked and accessible. Have the emergency lights working. etc.

Prevention of nuisance might require the windows to be closed late in the evening and make us move indoors at such times - but even these are not to be applied unless there is a formal request from the neighbours.

Note that council's have to justify any conditions that are not in the appendices and can then have them challenged in court.

As for existing PELs they become scrap paper next year and council's cannot continue to charge excessively for that scrap.

It is easy to joke about having a toilet in a Punch and Judy tent - but this act absloutely precludes putting such a condition on any licence for any premises - it is now only a town planning matter. None of the model conditions will cost pub owners anything significant - so go out and persuade them all to tick the box.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 06:16 AM

None of the model conditions will cost pub owners anything significant - so go out and persuade them all to tick the box.

Putting aside the principles for a moment - this may well in fact be true but convincing licensees of this will not be easy and if we do not manage to convince enough of them - we will have to live with reduced numbers of venues. However hard we try the choice remains theirs and if they do not choose to apply - we just have to accept it.

I am not saying that it not a good idea to try this, as a 100% take-up will be fine, just that it is not wise for us as council tax payers with a voice to simply rely on increasing this take-up, where we do not have a voice or the final choice.

If the current PEL take-up of 5% is increased, and that should not be too difficult - but now the remainder can stage some form of live music. Under the new Act that will not be the case.

So it is vital, as a safety valve, that we also ensure that the incidental live music is nailed down locally so that non-amplified sessions etc can take place in ANY pub. LAs are now forming their licensing policy based on this DCMS Guidance, and this is the time to approach local councillors to ensure that the intepretation of incidental - is not set locally when your area's officers decide to make the claim that a local session is NOT exempt incidental live music. That will be too late as we will then be back in the position of having to rely on licensees to be prepared to face prosecution to decide the word in court.

As the guidance mentions volume, it may not be too difficult to get your councillors to accept that the volume of non-amplified instruments will always be incidental to the drinking. If a low volume juke box is exempt, as incidental recorded music - there should be no reason why a session is not also exempted as live incidental music, by a LA following this Guidance.

Also that the volume of these events will not generally be enough to bother the nieghbours and if it should prove to, that there are other legal solutions to noise concerns. Why not invite your local licensing committee and show them? Tell them that you expect them to make your local licensing policy - not their employees, as their votes depend on it. So when there is not a 100% take-up of entertainment applications, it will still be possible to legally hold a session in any venue with a compulsory premises licence.

We can't change the words of the Act but if we can be bothered locally - this Act does present us with the chance to improve things.

As well as trying to convince licensees that local authorities cannot place significant costs on their conditons - we will have to first convince LAs that they cannot. Old habits and tired thinking die hard, especially when officers are used to exerting tremendous power, in a field where no one else (other than licensees) took very much notice.

We could also try to work with our councillors and officers to ensure that our local council make a point of informing and convincing licensees that they cannot and will not now place significant costs upon their choice to provide live music.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 07:08 AM

It's interesting that my LA, Greenwich, have just shut down yet another folk session until they obtain a PEL, while this changeover is already in progress. I think that this is an indication that some LAs will not give in to the new legislation without a fight.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 07:17 AM

The shane is that they couldn't have made it an opt-out thing for pubs instead of an opt-in, so they'd have had to tick a box to say they didn't want to have their licence covering entertainment.

I'm still very unclear about the position as regards music on places which don't sell drink - cafés, waiting rooms, bookshops, libraries, barbers, bus shelters...


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST,JOHN of ELSIE`S BAND
Date: 26 Mar 04 - 09:20 AM

When our Mudcat friends from overseas read these postings above and understand what it is all about they will be fully justified in wondering how we manage to get dressed in the morning. They may also be astounded that we still keep the elected loonies and irrational killjoys responsible in office. As has been asked before, how can a place of public gathering be quite safe with a full house yet become a hazard and require a licence if a number of people perform a song or play a tune? Beats me! If there are any councillors who would care to elucidate, please come forward?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 01:35 PM

The Shambles last posting is extremely wise advice.

You can and should take other actions. Local Authorities have to consult various organisations and individuals as part of their drafting of there licensing policies. Folk clubs and perfomers can greatly strengthen their position by writing to their local council and asking to be one of those consulted. That way lies initial influence.

There is then a second opportunity, because Council's have to publish their draft policy and consider comments raised about it before it is formally adopted.

There is a challenge for you all!!

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 01:43 PM

McGrath's last posting also raised a very pertinent point about places that home music but do not serve alcohol. In theory the change for them is slightly less dramatic than for alcoholic premises, but not very different.

Theoretically, they all need PELs at present. In future they will need the same licence as a pub except that they will not include the parts associated with the sale of alcohol. Of course in practise some authorities have been lax about PELs and will have to get into the habit of processing large numnbers of licences in future because of the number of pubs and licensed shops that they will handle.

They have the disadvantage that where entertainment in a pub adds nothing to the license cost, they will have to recover the cost of the license from entertainment since they sell no alcohol to cover it.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 02:01 PM

Having responded to the two above mailings; do we need to consider whether it is correct to maintain on thread for the Licensing Act (we must learn not to call it a Bill any longer - it is now the law of the land).

There are important issues related to the implications of the Act in pubs which tick the box. The one thing we do not be concerned about in those is what music is exempt under the Act because the licence defines what is permitted and cannot legally exclude anything which is exempt.

There are entirely different issues in pubs that are licensed for alcohol but not for entertainment. What matters then is how wide the exemptions really are. Note the explicit example of darts in the guidance. How far are the same principles applicable to some categories of music? How encompassing are the exemptions for not-for-profit events? Note very carefully that profits over the bar do not make the activity for profit. Nor do payments to cover the costs of an artist even if the attendance is greater than expected and the takings exceed the expenses. Both these are explicit in the guidance but need checking for applicability to promotions by not-for-profit folk clubs.

There are yet different issues outside premises licensed for the sale of alcohol.

Should these be split up into separate threads to reduce confusion?

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 03:01 AM

I may be wrong but I think that after the firestorm about drinking, and police huffing and puffing, the guidance has now gone back into the box for another year - possibly until after the next election if an early election is called.

The Act is law, but not yet implimented, so the old law remains operative for the time being.

Roger is this what you have heard too?

Sorry I've been a bit quiet on this topic recently: all this trying to earn a living stuff!!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 08:29 AM

Richard you have been busy.

I can recall two SIs which are commencement orders. The first abolished ballots about Sunday drinking in Wales and so confirmed that drinking is legal throughout Wales seven days a week.

The other brought into force all the parts necessary for Local Authorities to prepare their "Statements of Licewncing Policy". She has now published the draft of the Statutary Guidance, which is subject to affirmative resolution in both houses. This now triggers the actual policy writing by LEAs. The first appointed day has to be at least six months from the Guidance publication - i.e. it is likely to be in late September. That is the first date at which applications can be made for licences. The second appointed day is indicated as being a further twelve months later at which point the new licences come into force and the old licences (including PELs) will be abolished. Your guess is as good as anyone elses whether that is before or after the General Election.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 09:03 AM

As I understand it, once the Act becomes active, there are not going to be any Public Entertainment Licences anymore, but only a section in a Licencing Application primarily for selling alcohol, which will allow the applicants to opt in to having it cover certain types of entertainment. However without signing this opt-in, they will also be allowed, by virtue of the Alcohol licence, to permit music of certain kinds in certain circumstances.

So how does an establishment which is not into selling alcohol, or even perhaps any kind of refreshment - for example a bookshop or library - go about applying for a licence to cover the kind of entertainment that would be covered under the opt-in for a pub, or for the kind of music that would be allowed in a pub even without signing the opt-in? There doesn't seem to be any way - but if they don't they are liable to be in breach of the law, if they allow any kind of singing or music anywhere on their premises.

I know I keep on asking this question, but it really does seem potentially a pretty significant one. For example, if we wanted to hold a folk club night in our house or garden, it could apply to any of us.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 09:25 AM

As the act stands, there isn't a great incentive for the LAs to rush to write their policies. Some, like Greenwich, who've been charging over the odds for licenses, will probably be sorry to see the system change. All of them will have to put expensive new procedures in place and LAs are experts at stretching things out when they want to. The government itself is getting cold feet about the extension or abolition of licensing laws. Landlords in most cases think "Better the Devil we know" than this new system.

I think that there's quite a possibility that the act will never be fully implemented - in which case let's try and make sure that the bits which are, are not detrimental to what we want.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 10:02 AM

As I understand it, once the Act becomes active, there are not going to be any Public Entertainment Licences anymore,

So far so good.

- but only a section in a Licencing Application primarily for selling alcohol, which will allow the applicants to opt in to having it cover certain types of entertainment. However without signing this opt-in, they will also be allowed, by virtue of the Alcohol licence, to permit music of certain kinds in certain circumstances.

No regulated entertainment will be allowed unless venues with a Premises Licence have first applied for an obtained additional licensing permission and specified its nature. Exactly the same goes for venues not wishing to serve alcohol.

S 177 is still being 'spun' as an exemption for small pubs and bars only. But as they have to hold a Premises Licence and already been granted the additional permission for regulated entertainment and have a local authority safe capacity imposed first - it can hardly be that. All it does is prevent the LA from placing conditions on the Premises Licence for two of the Act's four objectives.

The only real hope is that sessions etc can be considered by your LA as incidental live music and exempt from the additional licensing requirement, along with incidental recorded music. I think that would then mean that your local cafe for example - not serving alcohol - would not need a Premises Licence?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 10:22 AM

"No regulated entertainment" - but there's still no definition of what counts as entertainment.

And if "your local cafe for example - not serving alcohol - would not need a Premises Licence", without such a Premises Licence allowing music any musical entertainment would surely be illegal.

The "incidental to other actiuvities" might give a let out sometimes, though not one that would cover cases like the branch of Waterstones that invited a String Quarter to play, and the people then had to sit instead and listen to a record of them playing instead. But does the "incidental" exemption apply anyway to situations where there is no Premises Licence in the first place (such as a private house having a publicly accessible music evening)?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 10:54 AM

McGrath, you are taking a narrow drinkers view. The act replaces four different current licences with a single licence that can cover any number of the original licences subjects. Out go Alcohol licences, Public Entertaiment Licences (which are currently required by any premises providing live entertainment whether or not they serve alcohol), Film Licences and Late Night (after midnight) refreshment licenses. We of course are directly affected as folkies by the replacement of the PEL and as drinkers by the rpelacement of Pub Licences.

A dry theatre or cafe as you postulate would simply activate just the entertainment aspect of the new combined licence.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 11:35 AM

Just thinking about the Licensing Act spin about encouraging live music venues. We have tended to concentrate on pubs and the claim that for them to provide live music will not cost pubs more.

A café not serving alcohol, if they wished to hold any form of live music – would currently need only to apply and pay an annual fee for a Public Entertainment Licence (and a PRS etc, licence).

However, this café can currently have incidental recorded music – in the form of a juke box - at no additional licensing cost (except a PRS etc, licence).

So what is the situation going to be under this Act that will encourage live music venues?

This café (not serving alcohol remember), in order to stage any form of regulated entertainment, will first have to pay for a Premises Licence, this to last for the life of the business. And to pay an annual inspection charge. It will then have to apply for additional permission for regulated entertainment and specify its nature. It will also have to pay PRS etc.

Will all this encourage a venue such as this café to stage live music?

However, should it not logically follow that under the new Act, as we now have an exemption from the additional licensing requirement for incidental live music, that this café should be also be able to supply this at no additional cost (except a PRS etc, licence)? As it currently can for incidental recorded music such as a juke box.

It has taken a lot of effort to introduce this exemption into the Act. I think that if we wish to see more live music venues, and not less, it is vital to get our local authorities to establish what they consider to be incidental live music and exempt from the additional licensing requirement. This is at least in our hands. We have no control over how many licensees (or café owners) choose to apply for additional permission to provide regulated entertainment

It is helpful – if not intentionally so – that the latest guidance mentions juke boxes and low volume in the context of what might be considered to be 'incidental. If such juke box recorded music is currently exempt in cafes and pubs, as it is considered to be incidental recorded music – there can really be no grounds for a local authority to consider small-scale non amplified live music – such as sessions – as not being incidental live music under the Act.

It may also be worth a try to get small-scale amplified music as incidental – on the grounds that it is no louder than a low volume juke box. This should not be too much of a problem in pubs as the LA will be getting their money anyway.

However, it would mean that they would not be receiving additional Premises Licence fees and annual inspection charges from non-alcohol cafes, if they considered them to be providing incidental live music. The officers would probably fight to consider this live music not to be incidental but full-blown regulated entertainment in these premises. A position that will not encourage live music venues.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 12:11 PM

RichardP

Yes.

What I meant was that I thought I heard gossip that the guidance was not going to be implimented even though it had now been laid - ie the first and second commencement orders might not happen, and some re-thinking might go on (if one can call what politicians do "thinking" rather than "machiavellian manoeuvering")


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 12:30 PM

Actually a "narrow drinkers view" is the reverse of what I'm concerned with here. I like playing and listening in pubs, true - but I also like the idea of live music in other venues. All kinds of other venues - not just cafés and thetres which might have to have some kind of licence anyway, but places that don't currently and never have had.

I want live music where people who are too young to drink can come, and where older people who aren't into drinking - Muslims, Mormons and so forth, for example, can feel at home. And I want to see music happening in the places where we live without feeling we have to look over our shoulder, because its hapening as a public event in some sense.

There's been so much focus on the pub side of it, because that is what the Bill was primarily about, that this side of it has consistently been pushed aside.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 01:43 PM

Only two errors in what you write, Shambles:

a)    The promise is that there is no extra cost for inclusion of entertainment, plays or films.

b)    You need to appreciate that the Act establishes a premises licence which applies to every premises that hosts anything that is licenseable. It is only needed if a licencable activity takes place. Consequently, the incidental music exemption is an exemption that allows incidental music anywhere in the country, not just in pubs.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 02:21 PM

"The promise is that..." - but how much is a promise from this government (or any government) worth? Insofar as it is possible to make sense of such a badly worded act there's nothing to make them stick to that promise, or any of the other warm words that have occasionally been uttered.

It's going to be interpreted in different ways in different places and at different times. In some places it may allow more music to happen, but in others it'll mean less. The overall effect will be to prevent the kind of innovation and flexibility that could allow live infomal and semi-formal music to flourish.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 03:18 PM

I thought that I had to extract this paragraph, 3.58, from the Guidance, because I could hardly conceive of anything which is so pro-music when taken on its own. Someone seems to love us - however other parts are more obtuse and less dedicated to easing the path of traditional music.

3.58    Statements of licensing policy should also recognise that as part of implementing local authority cultural strategies, proper account should be taken of the need to encourage and promote a broad range of entertainment, particularly live music, dancing and theatre, including the performance of a wide range of traditional and historic plays, for the wider cultural benefit of communities. A natural concern to prevent disturbance in neighbourhoods should always be carefully balanced with these wider cultural benefits, particularly the cultural benefits for children. In determining what conditions should be attached to licences and certificates as a matter of necessity for the promotion of the licensing objectives, licensing authorities should be aware of the need to avoid measures which deter live music, dancing and theatre by imposing indirect costs of a disproportionate nature. Performances of live music and dancing are central to the development of cultural diversity and vibrant and exciting communities where artistic freedom of expression is a fundamental right and greatly valued. Traditional music and dancing are parts of the cultural heritage of England and Wales. Music and dancing also help to unite communities and particularly in ethnically diverse communities, new and emerging musical and dance forms can assist the development of a fully integrated society. It should also be noted that the absence of cultural provision in any area can itself lead to the young people being diverted into anti-social activities that damage communities and the young people involved themselves. 3.59 To ensure that cultural diversity thrives, local authorities should consider establishing a policy of seeking premises licences from the licensing authority for public spaces within the community in their own name. This could include, for example, village greens, market squares, promenades, community halls, local authority owned art centres and similar public areas. Performers and entertainers would then have no need to obtain a licence or give a temporary event notice themselves to enable them to give a performance in these places. They would still require the permission of the local authority as the premises licence holder for any regulated entertainment that it was proposed should take place in these areas. It should be noted that when one part of a local authority seeks a premises licence of this kind from the licensing authority, the licensing committee and its officers must consider the matter from an entirely neutral standpoint. If relevant representations are made, for example, by local residents or the police, they must be considered fairly by the committee. Those making representations genuinely aggrieved by a positive decision in favour of a local authority application by the licensing authority would be entitled to appeal to the magistrates' court and thereby receive an independent review of any decision made.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 03:42 PM

Yes, indeed that is encouraging. The lobbying and the campaigning has got us somewhere. Without all the fuss there is no way we would have got that kind of stuff in the guidance, and it is going to be very helpful in helping us. It'll no longer be possible for an unhelpful local authority to hide behind phony excuses like "It's not within our power...it's not up to us".

But if they feel like it they will be able to say "Well, it is up to us, and that guidance is nothing more than advice. We are working within the legislation, and our decision is perfectly legal."

The tone is one of seeking to persuade local authorities to act sensibly, rather than of requiring them to do so: "local authorities should consider establishing a policy... This could include for example... village greens, market squares, promenades, community halls, local authority owned art centres and similar public areas. Performers and entertainers would then have no need to obtain a licence or give a temporary event notice themselves to enable them to give a performance in these places. They would still require the permission of the local authority..." and so forth.

There's no suggestion that we have any right as free citizens to make music, unless there is some very good reason for this to be curtailed. It's a culture of "Yes Sir, No Sir, Three Bags Full Sir."

And I predict the result is going to be very patchy.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 03:45 PM

Secton 5.16 specifies that private events are not subject to licensing unless run to provide a profit to the premises manager/owner and/or to the event organiser. (Note that payments to musicians do not count as profits). This would appear to leave those folk clubs which are members (and guests) only exempt from the act unless they pay for the room and thereby give the premises management a profit. Note that profits from the sale of drinks or food by the landlord do not count as profits from the event.

This could be a godsend for some clubs. It explicitly states that an inadvertent profit because more people attend than expected pay the contribution to covering the costs, although presumably the surplus would have to be retained to cover losses on subsequent unsuccessful gigs. This state appears to me to represent many existing clubs, particularly where local authorities have made PELs ridiculously expensive.

On the same basis any "spontaneous" music in a bar, where there is no admission charge gives rise to no profits as defined by the guidance and hence is not licencable and therefore can take place legally anywhere.

Who can find any holes in that argument?

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 06:09 PM

quiz?

ego!

But when I have more time


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 06:12 PM

Only two errors in what you write, Shambles:

a)    The promise is that there is no extra cost for inclusion of entertainment, plays or films.


Over many years, various Ministers and spokespersons have ignored the Act's words and made many lofty claims in Parliament, the media and elswhere, for the Bill/Act's postitive effects and for its limited financial burdens on premises wishing to provide regulated entertaiment. I was rather just lumping all these fine claims and promises together.

If you include PRS licence fees - even the promise you refer to is hardly the complete truth. One could argue that PRS fees are not extra to premises already paying for them. However, when the Act is sold as encouraging new live music venues, these additional PRS licence fees may come as a bit of a shock to a licensee who accepted the Government's word that they would not be liable for any extra costs for providing entertainment for the first time, under the Act.

b)    You need to appreciate that the Act establishes a premises licence which applies to every premises that hosts anything that is licenseable. It is only needed if a licencable activity takes place. Consequently, the incidental music exemption is an exemption that allows incidental music anywhere in the country, not just in pubs.

I think that I do appreciate this and I am not sure that I was saying anything different but perhaps not wording it very well. Just pointing out that pubs had to pay the LA in their Premises Licence to provide drink anyway but other places not serving alcohol, like the cafe example - only had to pay for a Premises Licence and annual inspection charge, if they wished to provide regulated entertainment. Or indeed any other licensable activity like late night refreshment.

The incidental live music exemption does indeed apply everywhere and not just in pubs (which is at least an improvement on the old 'two-in-a-bar-exemption) - we just have to get our LAs to establish what incidental live music is, or is not.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 06:23 PM

On the same basis any "spontaneous" music in a bar, where there is no admission charge gives rise to no profits as defined by the guidance and hence is not licencable and therefore can take place legally anywhere.

Who can find any holes in that argument?


It rather depends on who is making it and who is trying to find holes in it. I fear that if it were LAs wishing to find holes - they would be able to find plenty of support from the words of the Act itself. As Kevin points out, the guidance is only that or secondary legislation - it is not the words of the Act. But the guidance definion of the word "spontaneous" is interesting. Or rather what is not this.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 06:39 PM

"Spontaneous" - not at all clear what that means.

I'd say it means voluntarily and un-coerced, and that it does not exclude activities which have been planned in advance. But there are those who would be likely to interpret it far more narrowly.

But has "spontaneous" actually got through to the Guidance? And if so, what is the relationship between it and "incidental". If something is "spontaneous" does that mean it is counted as "incidental"?

I think the number of cases where clubs are going to be allowed to use rooms in pubs for free, so allowing that "godsend" which Richard refers to, are going to be few and far between these days. At one time this happened quite often, because the landlords knew the drinks sales would go up on a club night, but I don't think it's an arrangement found very often now, especially with the general loss of function rooms.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 07:54 AM

1)    Spontaneous is indeed retained, or more accurately, defined and refined in the Guidance.

2)    Incidental is associated with some other entertainment, such as the incidental music for a play. Musicians accompanying Morris or Mummers would be incidental - but very obviously not spontaneous, because no-one is accidentally dressed for either.

3)    The Guidance is equal in importance to the wording of the act for two reasons:

       a) The Act says that it is to exist and is to be followed by the Local Authorities

       b) It is a document that is approved by both houses of parliament just as is the Act. However it is not subject to all of the line by line amendment by parliament.

       c) It is the norm for Acts of Parliament to be supported by secondary legislation - for instance the principles for establishing constituency boundaries are in an Act. Every individual boundary is defined by secondary legislation. The latter are far more meanigufl than the former.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST,Commentator
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 08:31 AM

I have been introduced to this discussion and would add the following. For reasons that are patently obvious I will neither identify myself nor the location but I know a pub where a Folk Club has been regularly held for many, many years booking all manner of folk artists. It intends to carry on regardless of the LA until such times as it is rumbled or someone rats on it. Come that day it will stop its` club, the "members" being aware of this, and just continue running its` licensed business.It will be a great loss to all.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 09:35 AM

Richard P

as you clearly quoted from 5.16 Secton 5.16 specifies that private events are not subject to licensing unless run to provide a profit to the premises manager/owner and/or to the event organiser. etc. Whilst this appears to retain the old private "members and guest only" loophole that many clubs run under in Pubs, and seems to imply what you state, typically for this legidlation and guidance section 5.17 could be interpreted as disallowing this loophole in the case of pubs, hotels etc and I quote

5.17 A private event – for example, a wedding reception - held in a separate room of a
public house or a hotel would normally be an event which needs to be covered
by the premises licence held by the public house or hotel.
For such events, the
management of the premises would normally be making available entertainment
facilities (for example, a dance floor) and the premises (the room)
for the
performance of music for the entertainment of those attending. This would
unquestionably be done for a charge and with a view to profit.


I think the important words in that section are the ones Ive highlighted in bold. I think it likely that even if no charge were being made for the room a LA would interpret the management of the premises as providing the room with a view to profit. The word unquestionably is a problem to me.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 09:37 AM

So what is the definition of "spontaneous" officially laid down by the guidance? (I knowmnit's downloadable from that link I gave earlier, but I haven't had a chance to do that yet.) From what you say about Morris dancing, Richard, it appears that it involves that spur-of-the-moment element, which means it is far more restrictive than is really justified.

"Acting, done, occurring, without external cause; voluntary, without external excitement...[f LL spontaneus (sponte of one's own accord)]. (Oxford Concise Dictionary)

Still, if there's a legally binding definition laid down it doesn't affect it even if it's completely off the wall, I accept that it's still what we have to work with. (Though would a questionable definition laid down in a guidance document, rather than in an Act, necessarily be legally binding?)


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 11:23 AM

2)    Incidental is associated with some other entertainment, such as the incidental music for a play. Musicians accompanying Morris or Mummers would be incidental - but very obviously not spontaneous, because no-one is accidentally dressed for either.

*Smiles* There is a problem with this. As the music for (exempt) Morris dancing is exempt under the Act, not because it is considered as incidental live music at all. It is exempt because it is "integral" to the Morris performance.

Also the currently exempt incidental 'recorded, music, like a juke box for example, will be exempt under the Act not because it is incidental to some other form of entertainment (licensable or not).

It is exempt because it is incidental to the main purpose of the venue. This logically will now also be the case for incidental live music and presents a better chance than try the 'spontaneous' route.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 11:34 AM

I have been introduced to this discussion and would add the following. For reasons that are patently obvious I will neither identify myself nor the location but I know a pub where a Folk Club has been regularly held for many, many years booking all manner of folk artists. It intends to carry on regardless of the LA until such times as it is rumbled or someone rats on it. Come that day it will stop its` club, the "members" being aware of this, and just continue running its` licensed business.It will be a great loss to all.

If it (or any of us ) can live long enough for the new Act to come into force - there will be no need to stop. All the licensee has to to at that point, is to apply for permission and specify the nature of the event they intend to stage. They will not need to state that they are already doing it.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 11:42 AM

No, RichardP, subordinate legislation is not equal in weight to primary legislation. SIs have been held invalid because they were not in accordance with their Acts. Here there is a case in point. What the guidance says about "profit" is quite simply not what the act says. It the LA applies the Act it will have to refuse to follow the guidelines, but if it follows the guidelines it will be in breach of the Act.

Unless something changed while I was busy, "spontaneous" is not mentioned or defined in the Act. Accordingly, whatever the guidelines say (since it is NOT provided for them to amend the Act) a "spontaneous" performance can be a breach of the Act just as much as a planned one.

I suppose the courts might, by application of the Human Rights Act, be able to interpret "incidental" in a way that gives weight to spontaneity, but it is not a natural stretch of the word. Mind you, if they can re-write statute as they did in R-v-A (No2) (about cross examination in rape trials) almost anything is possible.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 01:01 PM

Richard, of course you are right if there is a conflict (i.e. totally incompetent drafting). In this case the Act requires the Sec of State to prepare Guidance and requires Local Authorities to have due regard to it.

If anyone can find a genuine conflict between the two the Act will have precedence. However one of the problems in the debates on the Act was that the Minister said all sorts of desirable things, which were not inconsistent with the wording but were not explicit in it. At least some of those items are explicit in the Guidance and so in those cases the current Minister has now fulfilled the promise in debate.

Richard P


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 01:34 PM

It's a pretty lengthy document, and in an unwieldy format that makes it hard to search, There is a section headed "Spontaneous singing. music and dancing"- but I couldn't find any definition of "spontaneous". Perhaps it's somewhere else in the 199 page document.

The nearest that paragraph comes to an implied definition is "In the case of genuinely spontaneous music (including singing) and dancing, the place where the entertainment takes place will not have been made available to those taking part for this purpose". Which leaves it wide open, but doesn't seem to insist on it being spur of the moment.

But it's bloody comnfusing. What does "been made available" mean? Would "Is it all right if we play in here on Tuesday?" followed by a "Yes" count as "made available"? And what is the implication of the word "entertainment" here? Presumably this has to mean something over and above people merely making music for their own enjoyment. And that goes against the "spur-of-the-moment" interpretation of "spontaneous".


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 03:02 PM

First, both the minister and his servants told many outright lies about the meaning and effect of the bill.

Second, quite obviously, the moment that a landlord/other controller of premises finds that "spontaneous" entertainment has broken out, if he fails to bring it instantly to an end, he/she is then making the premises available for the entertainment.

Third (I have not been to re-check the Act), if my memory is accurate, any musician who has lent another an instrument is not within the performer's exemption for liability, so "spontaneous" performers could face liability even though the landlord did not.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 03:22 PM

"quite obviously"

I don't thing "obviously" is a safe word to use of anything in the music related part of the act.

"Made available" could mean merely being allowed to use, or it might mean something more like, having a room made exclusively available. But if it was exclusively available it would seem that it would have become a private event, and therefore Secton 5.16 could apply - which specifies that "private events are not subject to licensing unless run to provide a profit to the premises manager/owner and/or to the event organiser".

But of course, that's the Guidance, not the Act, which seems to say something completely different.

As I said, "obvious" isn't the word for anything here.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 05:05 PM

Richard, of course you are right if there is a conflict (i.e. totally incompetent drafting). In this case the Act requires the Sec of State to prepare Guidance and requires Local Authorities to have due regard to it.

If anyone can find a genuine conflict between the two the Act will have precedence. However one of the problems in the debates on the Act was that the Minister said all sorts of desirable things, which were not inconsistent with the wording but were not explicit in it. At least some of those items are explicit in the Guidance and so in those cases the current Minister has now fulfilled the promise in debate.


Richard P - are you related to old Sir Humphrey Appleby by any chance?
Would it not have been better if they had just concentrated on getting the words of legislation right? Rather than trying to make it sound like they had, just in order to get the Lords to pass the bloody thing. Then we would not all be so concerned now about damage limitation.

Carol singers we were told by the DCMS, would under the Act, require supermarkets to apply for Premises Licences and permission to provide this regulated entertainment. This may have been before the exemption for incidental recorded music was extended to include incidental live music - but I have not seen any public change in this position.

If supermarkets do not now need additional licensing for the incidental recorded music many of them kindly provide for us, and this will not be rquired under the Act - why would the incidental live music performed by carol singers in supermarkets not also be exempt?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 06:09 PM

Hmmm ! Slight drift, but this reverts back to other problems, mentioned in other threads -

Monday following yet another seroius assult and disorder in a bar in the centre of Pontypridd the local Plodds acted and closed it - Or so the "Echo" said.

Tuesday The owners appealed to the High Court. Result ????
Bar stays open - Untill a full hearing at a date to be advised but no earlier than July.

Now good people - Pray tell us why reform was not needed ?? The Plodds acted under existing legislation, 'cos the NEW ACT ain't enforcable yet, and as I said in an earlier thread, can not be used properly.

I appreciate that yer average Folk Sesion don't put a man on a life support machine, and I have no doubt the PEL strictures are over kill, but .......

Personally Public Health can deal with these matters more efficiently.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 06:22 PM

McGrath, interesting idea that "making available" only means "making available" if the landlord has prior notice. I don't see how it could be read that way, but it is not wholly impossible.

My recollection is that 5.16 is completely incompatible with the Act, on "profit"

Gareth, give me the name of the case and I might (if I have any spare time) be able to get enough of the facts to find out why the high court overturned the closure. With what we have so far, it is anyone's guess, and it could be anything from corruption to incompetence.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 06:29 PM

We've yet to see whether the new legal structure will actually be any more effective than the present one. If they've made as much of a
Cod's Arse when it comes to the bits to do with this kind of stuff as they have of the bits to do with music, God help us all.

It sounds to me as if the police might not have had the most effective lawyer arguing their case in court.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 06:53 PM

Shambles. I would be amazed if you could produce evidence that anyone said that supermarkets would need to apply for a premises licence just to permit carol singing. I doubt that there is a single supermarket in the land that does not sell alcohol. A premises licence is required to sell alcohol and indeed they all hold a current licence at present. I am not sure whether they need the licence to explicitly state that they play muzak - although it ought to. Certainly, the muzak is not incidental to another entertainment so it is not covered by the incidental consideration. The wise supermarket will include the fact that it may have carol singers in its initial premises application - and there is little likelihood of anyone raising a valid objection that the carols singing will breach the licencing objectives so the licence would cover it from the start. Otherwise the occasional event provision would be sufficient to cover it.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 07:22 PM

Interesting point about the implication of supermarkets having to have a drinks licence which could be extended. The same would apply of course to off-licences, which might actuallt be quite good places to have the odd session, if the proprietors were up for it.

I think what Shanbles might have had in mind more, though, was the position of shopping malls or railway station precincts and carol singers, where I am pretty sure it was indicated at some stage of the debates that it was envisaged that they would need a licence to allow this kind of activity.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 07:31 PM

From Compact Oxford English Dictionary

spontaneous

• adjective 1 performed or occurring as a result of an unpremeditated impulse and without external stimulus. 2 open, natural, and uninhibited. 3 (of a process or event) occurring without apparent external cause. 4 Biology (of movement or activity) instinctive or involuntary.


I think an English court would look to an English dictionary rather than the American Websters. So if it is planned in advance it won't be spontaneous.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 07:51 PM

But it could be if they were using the Concise Oxford Dictionary, which is the one I quoted... Which is bigger.

In any case the second meaning given in the Compact version doesn't imply anything about excluding planning in advance. "Open, natural, and uninhibited" sounds an excellent way of summing up a good session.

Anyone got a fullsize Oxford Dictionary, or access to its website?

Howevere that wouldn't settle anything - I'm sure that it would show that the word has been used and is used in a range of meanings, like any number of words are. That's why words get re-defined for particular legislative purposes.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 03:41 AM

Shambles. I would be amazed if you could produce evidence that anyone said that supermarkets would need to apply for a premises licence just to permit carol singing. I doubt that there is a single supermarket in the land that does not sell alcohol. A premises licence is required to sell alcohol and indeed they all hold a current licence at present.

I would be interested to see where you can find 'incidental' as being considered as incidental only to some other entertainment. And how that works for incidental recorded music, when a juke box is the only 'entertainment' provided?

5.18 (page 49) of the latest draft guidance -: The incidental performance of live music and the incidental playing of recorded music may not be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment activities under the 2003 Act in certain circumstances. This is where they are incidental to another activity which is not in itself entertainment or the provision of entertainment facilities. This exemption does not extend to the provision of other forms of regulated entertainment. -

The Government 'spin' has always tried to claim that there was only to be one Licence (one ring to rule them all etc) but it has always been clear that in practice the entertainment licence concept was still very much alive. This has caused and is still causing confusion.
Not to mention that making music is now thought to be the same crime as selling alcohol is, without the same Licence.

There is a diference between a supermarket (or indeed an off-licence) needing a Premises Licence for the licensable sale of drink and needing to obtain additional in that Licence permission to also provide licensable regulated entertainment. Which was certainly the argument (before the exemption for incidental recorded music was extended to incidental live music) and is the point I am making.

They do not currently need to do this - to provide incidental recorded music and they will not under the Act. So now it follows that they will not require to specify any incidental live music that may take place in their Premises Licence.
   
I think what Shanbles might have had in mind more, though, was the position of shopping malls or railway station precincts and carol singers, where I am pretty sure it was indicated at some stage of the debates that it was envisaged that they would need a licence to allow this kind of activity.

It would appear from 5.14 (page 48) of the latest draft guidance - that it is still envisaged that they will have to. It should be noted that there is nothing in the legislation to prevent shops, stores and supermarkets proposing the inclusion of regulated entertainment in their premises licences. For example, many shops may decide to present a variety of entertainment at Christmas and other festive times or more generally in support of promotional events. Or is there a (Sir Humphrey style) difference between having to - and the legislation - having nothing to stop them from applying for the additional entertainment permission. What a mess!

And again we now have in the Guidance, (the extract that Richard P has suppied in this thread) the DCMS trying to change the words and implications of the Act, into something different. The need for LAs to issue Premises Licence (regulated entertainment permission) to whole public areas. No wonder we are confused. When all that is needed is for LAs to consider this live music to be as incidental live music and exempt, as recorded incidental music in the same places automatically is and would continue to be.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST,Commentator
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 05:48 AM

Shambles,
         Correct me if I have got the wrong ened of the stick but I thought the proposal is that in order to have official permission to hold public entertainment involving more than two performers in the premises one would have to purchase a licence.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 05:54 AM

You have, Commentator. The two-in-a-bar exemption currently operating in pubs is to be completely abolished.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 06:20 AM

Unless something changed while I was busy, "spontaneous" is not mentioned or defined in the Act. Accordingly, whatever the guidelines say (since it is NOT provided for them to amend the Act) a "spontaneous" performance can be a breach of the Act just as much as a planned one.

Yes and as the word 'incidental' does appear as an exemption in the Act but is not defined in it and the latest draft guidance has fudged and side-stepped it, there does not seem too much point in us worrying too much about a word that does not appear in the Act, but in contrast - the latest draft guidance defines - as if it did. Addressing the following, I would suggest will prove to be far more important. As it should keep our lawyers in work for many years to come.

Incidental Music

5.18 (page 49) of the latest draft guidance -: The incidental performance of live music and the incidental playing of recorded music may not be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment activities under the 2003 Act in certain circumstances. This is where they are incidental to another activity which is not in itself entertainment or the provision of entertainment facilities. This exemption does not extend to the provision of other forms of regulated entertainment.

Whether or not music of this kind is "incidental" to other activities is expected to be judged on a case by case basis and there is no definition in the 2003 Act. It will ultimately be for the courts to decide whether music is "incidental" in the individual circumstances of any case.

In the first instance, the operator of the premises concerned must decide whether or not he considers that he needs a pemises licence. One factor that is expected to be relevant is "volume". Common sense dictates that live or recorded music played at volumes which predominate over other activities at a venue could rarely be regarded as incidental to those other activities. So, for example, a juke box played in a public house at moderate levels would normally be regarded as incidental to the other activities there, but one played at high volume would not benefit from this exemption.

Stand-up comedy is not regulated entertainment and musical accompaniment incidental to the main performance would not make it a licensable activity. But there are likely to be some circumstances which occupy a greyer area. In cases of doubt, operators should seek the advice of the licensing authority, particularly with regard to their policy on enforcement.


How about this as a example of useful guidance?
In the first instance, the operator of the premises concerned must decide whether or not he considers that he needs a pemises licence.

So a the operator of a cafe, not serving alcohol, who wishes to have a juke box or a singer/guitarist as background, will go and ask the local authority if they should pay the very same licensing authority for a Premises Licence, to run for the life of the business and an annual inspection charge.

I wonder what the local licensing authority will say? Or where they will place the volume level or other factors that makes the activity licensable?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 09:14 AM

I have responded to Richard Bridges by PM - More will be posted when possible.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 03:54 AM

Below is a quotation from the guidance drawn attention to by Shambles:

In the first instance, the operator of the premises concerned must decide whether or not he considers that he needs a premises licence.

On the face of it his argument that it is nonsense in the specific case he highlights appears to be a strong one. However that is the difference between the law and day to day English.

1)    Think of the alternative - that the Licencing Authority would have to make the first assessment. That would be a free licence for snooping at the Council Tax-payers expense.

2)    Someone has to be the initiator of a licence application. If the Licencing Authority was the initiator - a bootlegger would not be committing an offence under this Act until the Licencing Authority decided that a premises licence was required.

3)    If the Licencing Authority was to be the initiator, it would already have compromised its objectivity prior to considering a marginal application when it was received.

4)    Without maliging the legal professions, it is their job to protect their clients interests by making the maximum use of any loose or wooly wording in legal documents, so the draftsmen have to think like a very competent lawyer and block the routes for weaseling to evade the intention of the law. That statement is nto intended to malign anyone, just to recognise that each must fulfil its proper role in a relationship which is essentially confrontational.

The wider lesson to be dawn from the above is that it is perfectly proper to argue about the objectives of any Bill, Act or Guidance. It is proper to argue about the way in which they seek to meet the objectives. But it is normally a sterile approach to try to base that argument on simple disagreement with the words in which those objectives or actions are described.

Where objectives are wrong - condemn them.

Where the details do not achieve the stated objective - condemn them.

If the words are weird - thats legislators for you.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 05:54 AM

Where the details do not achieve the stated objective - condemn them.

I think that one will do on its own - but more positively I think that we have to try to make the details work to encourage live music - even if that was never one of the Act's objectives.

The point I was making is that the operator of a cafe - even after or perhaps especally after reading this guidance - would not know if they required a Pemises Licence to have background live music, although they may be pretty sure that they did NOT need one for a juke box or MUZAK.

If they were brave enough to go ahead with backgound live music, it has to be accepted from reading the guidance, that the line is a very thin one - one as subjective as the level of volume? They would have to be brave, as they would have to be prepared to be prosecuted and take it to court, if their concept of incidental, was not the same as the licensing officers. The result being that they would pay for a Premises Licence or more likely not hold any live music at all - but continue with recoreded music. Does all that sound familar?

The accepted status quo among licensing officers has always been in general, that recorded music is OK but live music is 'iffy'. That is set to continue as old habits die hard and this bad habit is sadly present in the drafters words in this guidance, and that will be latched onto. However and importantly, the words of the Act now make no such distinction. If recorded music is exempt, it is only so because it is incidental. Where this recorded music is considered as incidental and exempt - then live music is also exempt. The Act may not define the word but it does not and cannot have one meaning for recorded music and another for live music.

I feel the drafters of this guidance are trying - by referring for example to the playing of incidental recorded music and the performance of incidental live music - to make or perpetuate a distinction between them, that the words of Act do not make. I would suggest that the word in the final guidance should be the same for both.

For this guidance then suggests that the oprerator ask the licensing authority, who will have read exactly the same guidance. As it is them the operator is going to pay his Premise License fee and the annual inspection charge to - is it really likely that cash-strapped licensing officers with the mindset that they have shown us - are likely to advise this operator that he does not have to pay them?

Or are they to follow the guidance 5.14 (page 48) of the latest draft guidance? It should be noted that there is nothing in the legislation to prevent shops, stores and supermarkets proposing the inclusion of regulated entertainment in their premises licences.

Even though the above rather assumes that these premises will already hold one and ignores those premises, with no licensable activities, that may not need to pay for one.

This is why I think it so important that we ensure that our local licensing committees are the ones that will set policy on matters like - what is incidental. That these are set on what the words of the Act say - rather than what civil servants (in this guidance) and local officials tell these committees, what the Act says.

Important to remember also that our MPs will first have to pass this guidance.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 06:05 AM

Is it the case that a playable piano in a pub is an entertainment facility?

Is it the case then that a juke box in a pub - is not?

Or (as per the guidance) does a loud juke box then become a entertainment facility?

Is the poor old piano - always an entertainment facility - no matter how hard you bash it?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 06:37 AM

Important to remember also that our MPs will first have to pass this guidance.

Is that actually the case? Not that it makes much difference - they'll pass anything they are told to pass. However surely the relevant minister has the delegated authority to approve the guidance without bringing it back to Parliament?

And once again, the assumption keeps on being raised that every kind of "premises" already has to have a licence, and therefore it's just a question of adjusting that as appropriate. Remember, the definition of "premises" in the Act is "any place" - and even in the 21st century there are still quite a lot of places which have never needed to have any kind of licence.

The underlying philosophy of the Act and the Guidance is, at bottom, that we are only entitled to do what we are allowed to do by the authorities, and that we have no prior rights which need to be respected. Even when the authorities see it as appropriate to be relaxed in what they allow us to do, this is not an acceptable basis for a free society.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: DMcG
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 12:39 PM

Ok, McGrath, here's the entry from the 10 volume edition of the OED, leaving out all the explanatory notes and references:

1a) Of personal actions: acting or proceeding entirely from natural impulse, without any external stimulus or constraint; voluntary and of own's own accord.

b) Of persons: Acting voluntarily and from natural prompting

c) Of utterances etc: Coming freely and without premeditation or effort.

2) Of motion: Arising purely from, entirely determined by, the internal operative or directive forces of the organism.

3) Of natural processes: Occuring without any apparent external cause; having a self-contained cause or origin.

4a, 4b are phrases 'spontaneous generation', 'spontaneous combustion'

5a) Growing or produced naturally without cultivation or labour.
b) Freq. with fruits, products, productions
c) Produced, developed, coming into existence, by natural processes or changes.

6) Quasi-adv. next

-----------------------

It looks to me as if a session could be spontaneous or not depending which of these definitions you use. For every person, 1a applies, but to the LA (1c) requires no premeditation, so a session would not be spontaneous.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 05:07 AM

McGrath's last posting certainly gets to the fundamentals of the rule of law.

The fundamental basis of society is that one is not allowed to undertake certain acts that are contrary to the common good as established by the society. The most liberal way of establishing what is in the common good is to make an assumption that things are in the common good unless defined as being against that good. Whatever the method of deciding what is against the common good can conveniently be identified as "the authorities". If the authorities are established as representatives of the generality by a fair method then they are justly entitled to be regarded as establishing a liberal society.

This is certainly not the place to divert into discussion of the British electoral system - so I will make no comment on it. However, the Act having passed parliament is a valid (if not optimal) basis for society to operate.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 06:30 AM

However, the Act having passed parliament is a valid (if not optimal) basis for society to operate.

No matter what tactics where used to get this Act passed, I think we can all agree on that. However, we must also recognise that the 'spin' was not and is not the words of the legislation. This latest draft 'statutory' guidance is continuing this 'spin'. And if this is passed/accepted, it will only result in even more confusion between what the words of the Act say and the guidance/'spin'. And between what music is licensable and what is not, and for what reasons.

I am not sure if our licensing officers see it this way, but as far as I can see, under this guidance to the the Act, the playing of any recorded music is now licensable. As is the performance of any live music - unless in is considered (in the first instance by the licensing authority but ultimately by the courts) to be 'incidental' (apart of course, from all the many other specific exemptions).

Local authority licensing officers, who have traditionally considered recorded music not to be licensable, and persecuting live music, to be their main goal, will be reading this guidance in orded to form their local licensing policies. The guidance helpfully tells us all that, the Act does not define the word 'incidental'. It also tells an operator that their must first decide if they need a Premises Licence. It also tells us all (including LAs) that in cases of doubt, the operator should seek the advice of the local licensing authority. Which is not really a lot of help as this body will be reading the very same guidance.

So the guidance is fudging and passing the whole shebang to the local licensing authority (and the courts. Which means in effect, that it is being left to the same licensing officers, whose additudes have caused most of the the problems to live music in the first place. So this is why it is so important for us all to get involved at this local level and to do it NOW. To get our local councillors who sit on the licensing committees to set policy based on the interpretation of the Act/guidance, that is the best one for out local areas.

So that these very same licensing officers are carrying out the policies towards live music, that we wish to see - rather than making policy and interpretations, that we do not.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 11:15 AM

If dictionary definitions had legal force in this context I suppose you could argue that playing music is "a personal action", and therefore 1a applies, so premeditation is not implied for it be to counted as "spontaneous"; singing a song on the other hand is an utterance, and 1c would apply.

Am I right in taking it that there is in fact no definition of what is meant by "spontaneous" in this guidance document? I imagine that in the absence of such a definition a court would probably not use a dictionary, but would dredge through ancient law books to find precedents. Or, since the word "spontaneous" does not appear in the Act, it would probably treat this highly ambiguous section of the guidance as essentially meaningless.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 11:42 AM

I had better correct what I said. Looking at the words of the Act. It does in fact also refer to the 'performance of live music' and to the 'playing of any recorded music'.

Schedule 1.

2. (1)The descriptions of entertainment are-

(a)a performance of a play,

(b)an exhibition of a film,

(c)an indoor sporting event,

(d)a boxing or wrestling entertainment,

(e)a performance of live music,

(f)any playing of recorded music,

(g)a peformance of dance,

(h)entertainment of a similar description to that falling within paragraph (e)(f) or (g),

where the entertainment takes place in the presence of an audience and is provided for the purpose, or for purposes which include the purpose, of entertaining that audience.

(2)Any refernce in sub-paragraph (1) to an audience includes spectators.

(3)This paragraph is subject to Part 3 of this Schedule (intepretation).


3 (1)In this Schedule, "entertainment facilities" means facilites for enabling persons to take part in entertainment od a description falling within sub-paragraph (2) for the purpose. or purposes which include the purpose, of being entertained.

(2)The descriptions of entertainment are-

(a)making music,

(b)dancing,

(c)entertainment of a similar description to that falling within paragraph (a) or (b).

(3) This paragraph is subject to Part 3 of this Schedule (intepretation). -


The Act's words for the incidental exemption aspect. From

Part 2 EXEMPTIONS.

Music incidental to other activities

7 The provision of entertainment consisting of the performance of live music, or the playing of recorded music is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of the Act to the extent that it is incidental to some other activity which is not in itself-

(a) a description of entertainment falling within paragraph 2, or

(b) the provision of entertainment facilities.


Given the words of the Act, I am not sure how the Guidance 5.18 (page 49) can consider a juke box (at any volume) not to be first a licensable entertainment facility, if a playable piano is still to be considered by the DCMS as a an entertainment facility? Perhaps somwone can explain?

Volume is not a word that appears any part of the part of the Act concerning what is incidental and the guidance, (laughingly) refers to what common sense dictates. However, common sense would also dictate that before the recorded music emanating from a juke box could be considered as incidental recorded music and exempt - the juke box would be first licensable as an entertainment facility. Or can the drafters of this guidance be selective with common sense?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST,ET
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 11:47 AM

And the next problem will be fees. The local government association have been seeking a local authority right to set fees from the outset. If they loose that they then seek fees that cover costs. But local authority costs are bound to far exceed the courts because in those costs they will seek to recover all enforcement fees.

My view is that making music is as near a human experience as talking, walking or being an individual. It is hardly the subject for licence. But license it is, and a so called socialist government is here acting way to the right of Ghengis Khan. Hardly surprising that the "guidance" is vague. So is the act on which it is passed.

The "guidance" is a document which is 198 pages long. Be careful if you download and print it. It will cost you a couple of print cartridges and half a ream of paper, will give you indigestion and bring on a rise in blood pressure!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 11:55 AM

5.19 (page 50)

The spontaneous performance of music, singing or dancing does not amount to the provision of regulated entertainment and is not a licensable activity. The relevant part of the 2003 Act to consider in this context is paragraph 1(3) of Schedule 1 of the Act.

This states that the second condition which must apply before an activity constitutes the provision of regulated entertainment is that the premises (meaning "any place") at which the entertainment is, or entertainment facilities are, provided are made available for the purpose, or purposes which include the purpose, of enabling the entertainment to take place.

In the case of genuinly spontaneous music (incuding singing) and dancing, the place where the entertainment takes place will not have been made available to those taking part for that purpose.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 01:19 PM

And the next problem will be fees. The local government association have been seeking a local authority right to set fees from the outset. If they loose that they then seek fees that cover costs. But local authority costs are bound to far exceed the courts because in those costs they will seek to recover all enforcement fees.

I have been informed that about 3 months or so ago, the DCMS issued LAs with something called the Draft Fees Order. This was asking them for an assessment of the proposed licensing fees, against the projected cost to the LA of operating the system under the Licensing Act 2003. This to see if a premium would have to be placed in the Council Tax to cover any shortfall.

Interesting to see what your local authority is putting in this assessment and if any council tax premium will be set to cover local licensing costs?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 01:55 PM

I suggest that it might be desirable to try to restate the important issues surrounding the Licencing Act and the Guidance.

The current legal position is that all premises selling alcohol must have a licence.

The current legal position is that all premises hosting entertainment must have a totally separate PEL with the exception of pubs which have two musicians in a bar. The actual meaning of this latter rule is not well defined but might be as tight as only two in a particular premises on a particular day.

There are then other matters that have no relevance to folk music as such.

PEL's cost different amounts in different local authorities and sometimes the LA either makes a very high charge for a PEL or uses a PEL as a second bite at the planning cherry and forcing expensive alterations to premises.   As a consequence, there is believed to be widespread avoidance by restricting entertainment to members of a club. There is also believed to be widespread evasion where organisations operate without a PEL.

The Act combines these two licences into one at a nationally fixed fee and explicitly prevents any conditions that could have been made as planning requirements. It also makes some exclusions regarding what entertainment needs to be licensed.

Apart from the fact that the fee is not yet published, the major concerns therefore are that evasion of entertainment licencing law will be much more difficult and the fear that landlords who now evade the PEL will make a deliberate action to prevent entertainment in their premise by excluding it in their licence even when it will cost them nothing directly.

What might be more significant, although little commented on, is the fact that it is very likely that many new premises licenses will be held by the Brewery, whereas the current license is held by the landlord. There has been much ill-informed comment by some brewers and there is a very real danger that they will fail to include entertainment in the applications whatever the landlord's wishes/inclinations. There needs to be much pressure on brewers to support entertainment in pubs!!

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 05:06 PM

PEL's cost different amounts in different local authorities and sometimes the LA either makes a very high charge for a PEL or uses a PEL as a second bite at the planning cherry and forcing expensive alterations to premises.   As a consequence, there is believed to be widespread avoidance by restricting entertainment to members of a club. There is also believed to be widespread evasion where organisations operate without a PEL.

I think that does sum up pretty well the thinking behind the entertainemt aspect of this Act. Which is sad. Because it is why this half-assed Act is such a mess and presents so many problms to aspect of music making that the drafters of it, never took the trouble to find out about or addressed when these aspects were brought to their attention.

The Act combines these two licences into one at a nationally fixed fee and explicitly prevents any conditions that could have been made as planning requirements. It also makes some exclusions regarding what entertainment needs to be licensed.

Perfectly logical ones, like the one for live Sky TV coverage of football matches in pubs? Based of course only on the safety concerns of the four objectives of the Act.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 06:00 PM

Sham - your posts of 6.30 and 11.42 both very good.

RP. The "Public Entertainment Licence" was a licence needed if the entertainment (of a relevant kind) was "public". If it was in a club it wasn't public so it did not need a licence. Not a matter of "avoidance" as you so judgmentally call it at all.

The important issue for the act is that the "two in a bar" rule was ludicrously restrictive in some respects. Now it is worse. There is no sensible reason for music performed live without amplification to need to be licensed.

I may have missed another late change, but last time I read the Act from cover to cover, it did not "explicitly prevent any conditions that could have been made as planning requirements". What the guidance may say is another thing. The Act did, if I correctly remember, say that the LAs should have regard to the guidance. But one may perfectly well "have regard" to something, and having regarded it, decide that some other factor outweighs that thing. So I think you will find that the "planning factor" is not dead. Indeed if it were, and a pub between houses (assuming for present purposes that it needed no other planning alterations) wanted to have live bands with large PA rigs, it would be silly if "planning" requirements to control noise breakout could not be imposed. But it is just as silly if they can be imposed if no amplification is to be used.

As to 5.19 and "spontaneous", I remain of the opinion that if you do not stop an activity of which you are aware, and which is occurring on your premises, then you are making the premises available for that purpose. This would be consistent with the jurisprudence about "permitting" premises to be used for the consumption of drugs. If my view is not good law, why not?

I am inclined to the view that a juke box is not an entertainment facility because when you play a record on one, you do not "make" music. If however there were a dance floor than the jukebox might very well be an entertainment facility.

Incidentally, it seems to me that if a computer shop were to hire a computer (even one without speakers) to a nerd who was a wiz with cubase, so that the said nerd might use more processing power to record some phatt tracks, all at the computer shop (he can write them to DVD and take them home) - guess what? They would be providing facilities for making music and so need a licence.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 07:07 PM

..."that if you do not stop an activity of which you are aware, and which is occurring on your premises, then you are making the premises available for that purpose.

That is what common sense and legal precedent would appear to indicate - however the guidance specifically says "In the case of genuinely spontaneous music (including singing) and dancing, the place where the entertainment takes place will not have been made available to those taking part for this purpose".

That surely must indicate that the guidance means something else. It apparently envisages a situation where the proprietor is fully aware of what is happening and makes no effort to prevent it, but is not "making the premises available for that purpose".

All very peculiar. I can't see how anyone can be confidently predict what a court would make of that.

But that doesn't necessarily matter too much - what matters more is how the licence holder are going to interpret their responsibilities, and as Richard B points out, a lot of the time this is going to mean breweries or companies, rather than publicans. And they are likely to play safe, so far as our type of music is involved, and rule out informal sessions.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Apr 04 - 03:53 AM

McG - t'was not I but another who pointed out that the licences were going to be taken by the breweries, but it does raise an interesting issue. If the brewery has the licence, and teh manager allows (non-spontanteous, just to avoid that issue this time) entertainment, but the brewery does not know...

My feeling is that the manager will in that case have commited an offence, all other things being equal


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Apr 04 - 09:57 AM

I am inclined to the view that a juke box is not an entertainment facility because when you play a record on one, you do not "make" music. If however there were a dance floor than the jukebox might very well be an entertainment facility.

With respect Richard - it only really matters what the local licensing authority's view is and what we can make it. But that is my point. Despite the change in the words of the Act where recorded music is now only exempt if it is 'incidental', licensing officers, like the guidance, will tend not to see a juke box for example - as either a licensable entertainment facility or as regulated entertainment, mainly because they have not done so in the past.

But if the recorded juke box music (whatever the volume) is for dancing to (and there is always a floor) - it is difficult to see how under the words of the Act - this recorded music can ever be considered exempt as being 'incidental'. But let us ignore the rather out-dated juke box concept of the guidance and look at the practical aspects of recorded music today. Do you remember Dr Howells on BBC Radio 1 saying that DJ's with stage, decks and PA, for providing dance music would not need a licence? Surely that was all rubbish?

It is quite clear that despite the words of the Act, that no officials really want to see recorded music prevented in the way that they have pesecuted live music has been in the past, despite the fact that according to the words of the Act now, along with live music, recorded music is only exempt - when it is considered as 'incidental'.

What I am slowly getting at is, rather than challenge this incorrect interpretation of the words of the Act, that we just follow this official line. We just make sure that where our LAs set the benchmark and consider recorded music to be exempt as being 'incidental', that live music is also considered by them to be exempt.

That should mean that as long as no one dances and (if we accept the guidance) the volume is low, that any live (or indeed recorded) music can be considered as incidental and as a result - exempt from the additional entertainment licensing permission.............

As Morris dancing and unamplified music that is integral to this, is specifically exempt - there shouldn't be anything for us to worry about and we can carry on as before, whatever level the take-up of the additional licensing permission may turn out to be.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Apr 04 - 10:15 AM

Link to the BBC Radio 1 interview referred to.

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=56474

Extract.

KH I'm afraid disgracefully that is another scare that has been put around. If people are rehearsing in a room or a teacher is teaching piano let's say, in his or her home, they do not fall under this.

OK, let's clear up a couple of things. Does this cover paying performances or all performances, say in a pub?

KH No, it covers paying performances.

If you don't pay to get in do you need a licence?

KH No you will need a licence, just like you will now as things stand now, if you have more than two musicians in a pub.

Say no one knows Norman Cook's turning up in the boozer and I have two decks in the corner, do I need a licence?

KH Not if there is only one person in there.

So the two in a bar rule goes, but two decks are OK?

KH Yes laughs

Two decks is cool, OK. I think one of the reasons that people have seen this Bill and thought that this makes no sense, is for the sake of argument. Coldplay can play free in a church, because churches are exempt from this performance licence but Chris Martin couldn't get up in a pub and sing on a Friday night?

KH Yes he could certainly get up and he wouldn't require a licence on a Friday night. If however there were adverts all over town saying, come on over the pub, Chris Martin is on, then you would need a licence. So spontaneous music, in other words, people just suddenly playing a gig together, without any advertising, or not even word of mouth around the place, that's not covered. But if it's a ploy by the owner of the licence, to attract more customers, he needs a music licence.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 05 Apr 04 - 12:19 PM

The recent postings have led me to go back to the text of the Act with some interesting and encouraging insight, as well as some items that are obviously unresolved.

Section 136 makes it clear that noone commits an offence under this act by performing music (and several other things outside the immediate Mudcap scope). Offences relating to the performance of music are committed only by owners and supervisers of premises and in some circumstances by organisers of performances.

A different section specifies that private performances are not licensable unless either the premises owner makes the room available for a profit by leasing the room or an event organiser makes a personal profit out of surplus takings (I paraphrase the actual wording in that case).

A performance would certainly not be spontaneous if the owner had made a charge for the bar - but it is nowhere is it stated for spontaneous purposes that making available equates to making a charge as it does for the above case. The thinking appears to be the same but not the presentation. That might be a point to put to a friendly MP before the guidance is voted on.

There is a major difference between the PEL situation and the licencing conditions situation in the case of this Act:

The Licencing Authority can only apply conditions that result form adverse comments - admittedly the Local Authority is one of the commenting bodies for Public Health considerations and sometimes as the Fire Authority. Furthermore, they have to include a justificaiton for any condition that goes beyond the guidance. Finally, the applicant can appeal to the magistrates court against any condition in which the magistracy has the final say.

Richard Bridge, everyone will agree with you that the two in a bar rule was stupid and worse it was ambiguous in any circumstance other than a pub with one bar and only two musicians in an evening. Clarification and relaxation may well have been a worthy campaign during the last parliamentary session when the Bill was alive. Now it is past you have gone back to reminiscing over last years issues rather than concentrating on the way forward in the next few months, when making the act work in our favour is the only worthwhile game in town.

RichardP


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Apr 04 - 12:58 PM

I'd much prefer it is the offence fell on the performers rather than the proprietors. That would put it back on the musicians to decide what to do, in the light of their underrtanding oif teh law. As it is, even if the proprietors - or the company - is completely wrong in their understanding of the law, we are stuck with that.

................

...before the guidance is voted on.

But does the guidance get voted on? And by whom? And who has the power to amend it? My understanding was that the minister has the delegated authority to approve the guidance without any further voting. That may well be a wrong understanding of the legal situation - if anyone knows the actual facts about this, it'd be useful to have them.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 05 Apr 04 - 02:48 PM

The Guidance is subject to an affirmative vote in both Houses of Parliament before it comes into force.

Both Houses have Committees which deal with delegated legislation before it goes to formal vote on the floor of the houses.

Almost all such votes pass on the nod, but what the possibility of amendment to details is I have no idea. Certainly without strong reasons provided by people outside the strong probability is that the Guidance will sit around for a few weeks and then be formally endorsed by both houses.

Always remember that although there were lengthy debates and some votes on limited details, all parties in parliament were overwhelmingly in favour of the concept of licencing reform. Furthermore, most of the fundamental changes in the Act were nothing to do with entertainment and were overwhelmingly agreed on.

RichardP
RichardP


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 04:29 AM

"Reform" does not necessarily have to mean creating a god-awful mess. You should hear Chris Hepher, head of licensing law at Kidd Rapinet on some of the messes in the alcohol parts. Or Stuart Neame of Shepherd Neame. And of course the police really laid into it a few weeks back saying it seriously undermined their ability to deal with problem drinking.

You, RichardP are the only person I have ever heard prepared to defend any (well, hardly any) of the music licensing provisions, apart from the mendacious Howells (who said in Parliament that three folk singers in a pub was his idea of hell), his successor(s) and his slippery so called civil so-called servants.

May I ask what your day job is and what if any your connection with the government or the executive?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: el ted
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 06:05 AM

Post no 200. I thank you.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 06:14 AM

Richard Bridge,

The answers to your questions are Retired, None and None furthermore since that tells you nothing useful, the longer term answers to the last two are never and never.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 06:26 AM

"Defending" or "attacking" the Act and the Guidance at this stage is quite beside the point. Exploring what can be done to minimise its bad effects and take advantage of any opportunities provided - that is what is important.

Pretty clearly this is a badly drafted piece of legislation, but then that is hardly unusual, and in any case, it's past history. The Act itself is not going to be changed now, and it'll probably be a couple of generatins before there is another one. The Guidance is woolly and ambiguous, but has some good aspects, and the question is how far it will be possible to use these to allow the development of a more music friendly environment.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 12:13 PM

McGrath, you have summarised the way ahead in one. It really is time to discuss where do we go from here instead of reliving old battles.

Richard Bridge, it is easy to quote a couple of individuals and an unnamed police source and purport to represent the views of the whole brewing industry and the whole police service. Someone could even quote you and indicate that the whole legal profession had the same opinion. However, my recollection is that there was one member of the House of Commons Committee who was representing the Brewing Industry views. In that context Stewart Neame was clearly indicated as speaking for Shepherd Neame but not the general industry. Similarly the results of consultations with the police service were frequently also refered to and were more supportive than in opposition to the Bill.

However that is water long iunder the bridge. As McGrath says the only things worth discussing are how to maximise the opportunities under the Act and how to avoid the potential disadvantages.

RichardP


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Apr 04 - 05:14 PM

'Always look on the bright side of life'.

If someone knocks you down, rapes you, breaks your leg and steals your money, you may have little real choice but to try to get up and make the most of it. It is not too likely that you will be expected to show much gratitude.

However, it is not too easy to forget the experience or the individul involved. Especially when you expected that this individual was coming to help you and make things better.

It must be remembered that we were looking forward to this 'reform' as we were expecting the crazy situation that we had lived with for so long, was actually going to be addressed. It took us a long time to realise that what was initially being offered by the drafters was far worse.

The end result may not be quite as bad as it looked like it was going to be - but little credit for this is due to those behind this digraceful legislation. What we have managed to salvage so far, from this Government - has been hard won and what we must try and win now from our local authorities - will also be down to us. It could and should have been so much better.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 04:29 PM

"and an unnamed police source....."

In defence of Richard on this one and at no extra charge,,,,,this was widely quoted on news broadcasts a week or two ago when flavour of the day in the press was "binge drinking"! by young people. In fact I believe that Tessa Jowells the minister of state responsible for this was on Question Time and when the subject came up had to be reminded that far from reforming the law on this issue in the future - she had just done it. And made a complete shambles of it. (sic!)

When you hug me, mind my catheter.

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 04:36 PM

'Always look on the bright side of life'.

Or perhaps, Keep on the Sunny Side:

There's a dark and a troubled side of life
There's a bright and a sunnyside, too
'though we meet with the darkness and strife
The sunnyside we also may view.
Keep on the sunnyside
Always on the sunnyside
Keep on the sunnyside of life
It will help us everyday
It will brighten all our way
If we keep on the sunnyside of life...


That's pretty good advice too. (Seriously!)


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Apr 04 - 06:52 PM

There was something Shambles said back there I wanted to comment on: "That should mean that as long as no one dances and (if we accept the guidance) the volume is low, that any live (or indeed recorded) music can be considered as incidental and as a result - exempt from the additional entertainment licensing permission............."

And the pount was "as long as no one dances" - it seems to me that if 20 people are standing around drinking beer or coffee, with the music as background, that's incidental music. Just because a couple of people over in the corner start stepping it out, that needn't alter that, unless everyone joins in, which isn't too likely. In any case, this is likely to be "spontanous" in every sense. (But best sit hard on anyone who has aspirations to be a caller for the pub - or wherever this is taking place.)

Then there's always the question of when the exemption for Morris dancers and other analogous forms of traditional dancing kicks in, and what they cover. A great deal, I would hope, definitely dancing from other traditions.

I don't know if is anything in the Guidance which tries to put specific limits on the relevant characteristics for saying that something is covered by that exemption as "similar". I can't see why, for example Bengali Dancers shouldn't qualify just as well, or Samba Bands. Or Irish set dances.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 08 Apr 04 - 07:35 AM

Reading McGrath's last contribution lead me to look back at the Act to see how incidental music is defined. I had previously assumed that it was, for example, music incidental to a play, and therefore implicitly covered by the licence for the play and mentioned explicitly in the Act to avoid uncertainty.

I find that I was totally wrong - although music that is an integral part of a licenced play is presumably licenced by the play's licence.

No. Incidental music is defined as "The provision of entertainment consisting of the performance of live music or the playing of recorded music is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act to the extent that it is incidental to some other activity which is not itself

(a) a description of entertainment falling within paragraph 2, or

(b) the provision of entertainment facilities."

In other words any music that is not explicitly listed as requiring a licence is automatically permitted.

Paragraph 2 is the old familiar list including the important condition: "where the entertainment takes place in the presence of an audience and is provided for the purpose, or for purposes which include the purpose, of entertaining that audience."

In simple terms it excludes from licencing any background music, such as muzak in shops, which is not intended to be listened to by an audience in preference to other individual activities by that audience.

Although it might be rash to rely on such an assumption; my experience is that most sessions are essentially mutual navel-gazing without a fundamental intention to entertain anyone but the participating group, so it could be argued that a session is incidental even if it is obtrusive.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Apr 04 - 07:53 AM

"a session is incidental even if it is obtrusive. " I like that way of putting it. Very neat.

I can envisage a court case hinging in producing evidence thta a regular had told the barman how he rather wished those diddley buggers in the corner would shut up. This would serve to prove that the music was not entertainment but was incidental and obtrusive.

Basically, we'd better not start playing too well, or the publican will get in trouble. Nothing much to worry about then...


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Apr 04 - 09:30 AM

In simple terms it excludes from licencing any background music, such as muzak in shops, which is not intended to be listened to by an audience in preference to other individual activities by that audience.

I see that you got there in the end Richard (P).

It is fair to say that your simple term explanation WAS the situtaion envisaged by the original drafters - who were very keen for some reason to ensure that such recorded background music should remain exempt. However, they were rather ignorant of any live music that could probably claim to be rather more worth protecting and exempt - by being considered incidental.

So rather late in the day - the exemption was logically extended to cover incidental live music and this was passed. However the drafter's ignorance of live music continues and it is not surprising that they could not really bring themselves to come up with some more practical application and example for what would be considered as incidental live music. The volume at which it played is a start but I can see little justification for this being a factor in the Act, for being considered as incidental.

And can you really see these officers rushing in to any 'place', like an office building and insisting that the MUZAK in a lift is covered by a Premises Licence, because it is too loud to be considered as incidental?

Rather than being rash in making assumptions or waiting for licensing officers to decide otherwise - it is rather up to us to now ensure that our local licensing committees consider sessions etc to be incidental. The guide for the exemption is in the words of the act. So from now on - where recorded music is exempt as incidental - so automatically is live music. All background music is now exempt - period.

Let these officers (who will accept that juke box music is incidental) make and prove the argument - if they want to make it - that non amplified sessions or a piano player etc, not designed for or needing an audience are not background and incidental live music under the words of the Act.

There is no need to introduce yet another word like 'obtrusive' for us to argue the definition of. Following the guidance and in a practical sense (if not a legal one) it is rather simple - if incidental (background) music, recorded or live, is considered too loud - it cannot then be incidental (background) music.

As to who decides the volume level? The licensing authority may wish to decide this but I would suggest they only have just cause to investigate, if genuine noise complaints are received, from the public outside the premises. If any customers inside complains - they can be asked to go elsewhere, as the volume you are prepared to talk over is largly a matter of personal taste.

I would not consider live session music on non amplified ever to be too loud to be considered as incidental. I may consider recorded music to be too loud for this, and if I did, I would go elswhere. If the Act has the (unintended) effect of lowering the general level background music, this will not be a bad thing.

That brings us to the Dave Bryant factor.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 06:04 AM

Shambles,

We are getting closer to a common view. However, I suggest taht you are paying too much attention to the word "volume" which is not used in the Act and is only quoted as an example in the Guidance. All the essential information about what requires entertainment licencing is in Schedule 1 of the Act, but it is so heavily cross referenced that it is not easy to unentangle. I have spent some time trying and the following is my attempt to produce a somewhat more straightforward of condensing the means of determining whether music at a venue that is not licenced for musical entertainment is permissible or not. Try the following:

Is the activity under consideration subject to entertainment licencing?
        If not it is permitted. (Note that music is only permitted in this simple way as a result of acompanying
                Morris Dancing or similar dancing. NOTE that we need to establish that Longsword, Rapper and
                traditional clog dancing are similar to Morris. NOTE also that the arguments used to justify the
                Morris exception apply equally strongly to mumming and wassailing, but unfortunatley no-one argued
                this in Parliament.)

Otherwise
Is the activity in a place where the public is not present and which is not in a room in a licenced (drinking) club
        with club members present?
        If so and no charge is made for the room and the event organiser does not make a personal profit, then it does
        not need licencing and so is automatically permitted. Note that if the organiser is one of the musicians,
        he/she is entitled to his/her normal fee for performing without being classified as organising for profit.

In all other cases (i.e. either it is in a licenced club or is in the presence of the public or is in private but with
        the organiser or the premises provider making a profit):
Is there another concurrent activity which is the principle reason that those not participating in the entertainment
activity itself are present in the room?
        If so is that principal activity subject to entertainment licencing?
                If the principal activity (such as drinkingn at a bar) is not subject to entertainment licencing and
                the entertainment under consideration is the provision of incidental (supporting) music then the
                music is exempted from licencing requirements unless it overpowers the principal activity to the
                extent that it becomes the principal activity itself.

        Otherwise Since the principal activity is subject to entertainment licencing, is it licenced?
                If so the entertainment under consideration is the provision of incidental (supporting) music then the
                music is exempted from licencing requirements unless it overpowers the principal activity to the
                extent that it becomes the principal activity itself.

If none of the above cases is applicable
        A licence covering the particular type of entertainment needs to be in operation for the premises.

In all cases where a licence is required the only organisations/individuals who could be committing an offence are the
premises owners, the premises supervisor and the organiser of the activity. Participation alone is not an offence!!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 06:06 AM

Sorry about the layout in the last posting. I hit the Submit button by accident while tidying up the layout. Here is a better laid out copy.

Is the activity under consideration subject to entertainment licencing?
        If not it is permitted. (Note that music is only permitted in this simple way as a result of acompanying
                Morris Dancing or similar dancing. NOTE that we need to establish that Longsword, Rapper and
                traditional clog dancing are similar to Morris. NOTE also that the arguments used to justify the
                Morris exception apply equally strongly to mumming and wassailing, but unfortunatley no-one argued
                this in Parliament.)

Otherwise
Is the activity in a place where the public is not present and which is not in a room in a licenced (drinking) club
        with club members present?
        If so and no charge is made for the room and the event organiser does not make a personal profit, then it does
        not need licencing and so is automatically permitted. Note that if the organiser is one of the musicians,
        he/she is entitled to his/her normal fee for performing without being classified as organising for profit.

In all other cases (i.e. either it is in a licenced club or is in the presence of the public or is in private but with
        the organiser or the premises provider making a profit):
Is there another concurrent activity which is the principle reason that those not participating in the entertainment
activity itself are present in the room?
        If so is that principal activity subject to entertainment licencing?
                If the principal activity (such as drinkingn at a bar) is not subject to entertainment licencing and
                the entertainment under consideration is the provision of incidental (supporting) music then the
                music is exempted from licencing requirements unless it overpowers the principal activity to the
                extent that it becomes the principal activity itself.

        Otherwise Since the principal activity is subject to entertainment licencing, is it licenced?
                If so the entertainment under consideration is the provision of incidental (supporting) music then the
                music is exempted from licencing requirements unless it overpowers the principal activity to the
                extent that it becomes the principal activity itself.

If none of the above cases is applicable
        A licence covering the particular type of entertainment needs to be in operation for the premises.

In all cases where a licence is required the only organisations/individuals who could be committing an offence are the
premises owners, the premises supervisor and the organiser of the activity. Participation alone is not an offence!!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 12:57 PM

It may have been noticed that my previous posting made no mention of Spontaneous Entertainment.

The main reason was that Spontaneous Entertainment is not mentioned in the Act, only in the Guidance. Consideration of the Guidance will show that Spontaneous Entertainment is a subset of incidental entertainment since it always occurs on premises which are accessible for some other purpose than the Spontaneous Entertainment but there are many circumstances that satisfy the criteria for music being played incidental but where spontaneous music would be quite unacceptable (for instance in the middle of the performance of a play). Planned music during a play can enhance the experience but unplanned music is at the very best extremely bad manners.

Consequently, it is helpful to have the guidance mention spontaneous music explicitly, because it essentially prevents some jobsworth trying to interfere with music that is self-evidently spontaneous but the previous posting covered it whenever it is appropriate.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 02:09 PM

Basically, pubs are primarily for drinking and eating and meeting friends. Anything else happening in the pub is incidental. Even iof some olf teh people in tey room have come along mainly because of the icidental stuff, such as darts or telly or the live music, that doens't change things. Maybe a tone-deaf regular propped in the corner might be a useful accessory in any pub, as a reminder of the primary purpose of the place. There normally are a coupel of those anyway.

And the same kind of thing applies in all the other places we hope music might be accepted - people drinking coffee in a coffee bar, people browsing through books in a library or bookshop and so forth, people waiting for trains in a waiting room in a station...

But what is needed to have to have the licencing people confirm that this is how they see it, in a way which wil reassure the publicans etc that the law is on their side in allowing music.

It occurs to me - couldn't we try and sell the idea that making London a more music friendly place would not only appeal to tourists, but might even help get the Olympic games scheduled here? The authorities really care about that...


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 06:24 PM

We are getting closer to a common view. However, I suggest taht you are paying too much attention to the word "volume" which is not used in the Act and is only quoted as an example in the Guidance.

I did mention that there was no mention in the Act about volume being a factor when determining what was incidental live or recorded music.

However, I addressed it in some detail as it does appear in the latest draft guidance and it will be this guidance - rather than the words of the Act, or different lawyer's interpretations of these words, that will be have to be understood by those who have to try to make it work in the first instance. Whilst all the time trying not to allow the new Act to affect recorded music any more than before.

An important example I would suggest is that huge concert held on Brighton beach. Because it was recorded music, Fat Boy Slim did not need a PEL. Under the Act of course, it would require entertainment permission.

Despite the guidance, and as far as I can see, from the words of the Act, a juke box (whatever the volume it is played at) will already be a licensable entertainment facility. How can it not be, if as the DCMS state, a playable piano is? Dance floors and stages will also be licensable entertainment facilities. So even if the dance floor is only for exempt Morris and the stage is only for exempt stand-up comedy - the premises will first need entertainment permission for these?

Perhaps Richard (P) - you could let us have your thoughts on entertainment facilities.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 08:22 PM

What makes a floor not a dance floor?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 05:16 PM

Shambles,

Addrssing your question I think McGrath has pointed to the answer even if in this case unintentionally.

Let me pose McGraths question the other way round.

What makes a floor a dance floor. Answer - someone dances on it.

Going back to Shambles question. I do not see that a player piano needs an entertainment facilities entry on a licence unless and until someone uses it to perform licencable music (e.g. it is not needed if it only used for incidental music).

There may be a second consideration which is hinted at several times and is explicit in one very special case. When does a publican make an entertainment facility available. You would naturally assume that he does so every time he allows someone to use it to provide entertainment. However, there is one specific case where he only provides as far as the Act is concerned if he charges for it with a view to making himself (or his employer/landlord) a profit. If this consideration applied to facilities other than a room for a private event, then it is very likely that some facilities provided would not be mentioned explicitly on any existing licence.

Let us remind oursleves that this Act is only concerned with the licencing of premises for the sale of alcohol and late night refreshments and/or for the performance of that entertainment which is required to be performed on premises with a premises licence. The Act also requires the provision of an operating schedule stating times of day that activities will take place and any restrictions that will be applied to the operations. It is not concerned with the details of the entertainment provided they are in accordance with the operations schedule and any constraints that are included in the licence. These constraints are either agreed between the local authority and the licencee (maybe after pressure) or are determined by a magistrates court on appeal if agreement is impossible.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 04:32 AM

Going back to Shambles question. I do not see that a player piano needs an entertainment facilities entry on a licence unless and until someone uses it to perform licencable music (e.g. it is not needed if it only used for incidental music).

If you were correct, the same would then be true of juke box or any other means of playing recorded music.

But the DCMS have long maintained that a piano (if it is not disabled to ensure that it cannot be played) will be an entertainment facility under the Act............Unless they are not now saying this?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST,ET
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 06:17 AM

This debate on the legal niceties is interesting. Unfortunate that all this has to come from a "de-regulatory" bill.

But in practice most of the enforcement will be by the licensee, will it not? If he/she thinks there may be a licence problem caused by the incidental rendition of "Flowers of Edinburgh" by the bloke in the corner with a fiddle, he is more likely to turf him out than listen to legal arguement as to "incidental" or not. This I think is the real problem. I know of a pub which had "sessions" under old legislation without PEL. There was an aurgument with local authority enforcers, who were probably technically correct. The following week the BBC came and filmed the session, ridiculing the enforcement. But soon after that the pub was inspected for electrical safety, food hygiene and just about everything else. It closed down, re-opened on session night as a private "club" but then closed for good to musicians under a new licensee.

As I say this was under PEL legislation.   If only the new Act exempted acoustic music from requiring a licence all would have been well. But the so called Jazz loving Kim Howells spoke in the debate that some Jazz needing amplification and because of this the baby was flung out with the bath water.

Maybe a change of Government will correct this. I have lobied by local MP long and hard on this.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 09:47 AM

This from the DCMS.

Entertainment facilities are defined by the Bill as facilities for enabling persons to take part in music making, dancing or similar entertainment, for the purpose of being entertained.

An antique piano in a pub that was only provided for decorative effect would not give rise to the need for a licence.

And a licence would not be required if the pub operator did not allow the public to play it.

A licence would only be required if it was used to entertain people at the premises or by people on the premises to entertain themselves.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: ET
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 10:58 AM

Pianos

Not sure if this takes us further on. If a piano is provided for its usual purpose, music, and there happended to be someone there who could play, coupled with a bunch wanting to sing "Down at the Old Bull and Bush" or whatever, they could sing this spontaneously without attracting the attention of the Licensing Authority, however loudly or out of tune they sang it.

But open up the piano, bring order to it, provide the tune in key, and - serious stuff - providing entertainment facilities.

Isn't it reassuring how the government legislates to save us all from such horrors. Perhaps Howells should have been more involved in the Iraq decision making? Did Blair have the necessary licence in place?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 12:54 PM

But in practice most of the enforcement will be by the licensee, will it not? If he/she thinks there may be a licence problem caused by the incidental rendition of "Flowers of Edinburgh" by the bloke in the corner with a fiddle, he is more likely to turf him out than listen to legal arguement as to "incidental" or not. This I think is the real problem.

Yes I think that it is the practical problem of first being able to convince a licensee that the activity you wish them to hold is possible.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 03:13 AM

I agree with ET that there would be a great deal of benefit in getting back to broad matters instead of details. However, that will not be helped if people go back to details - especially if they get the details wrong.

So what are the broad principles.

Currently premises licencing is conntrolled by 50+ laws.

Alcohol Licencing is very inflexible.

PEL is controlled by local authorities and there is no consistency about its impact or its cost. At least in the most expensive and the most restictive authorities, there is a significant amount of avoidance (i.e. landlords do not buy a PEL but allow things to happen with a nod and a wink).

I have not researched all the old Acts. However, I looked at the "Standard Licencing Conditions" for a PEL for one authority. They run for several pages and duplicate almost everything that might apply to a workplace despite the fact that other legislation already covers them. To be blunt, they may be consistent with the 50 Acts, but they are frightening, amke it clear why there is so much resistance to PEL and so much bypassing it. Most importantly hardly any of the content would be legal under the new Act.

In the new system there is only one Act covering all premises licencing, all the old licencing law is repealed. Alcohol licencing is much more flexible in terms of opening hours. Entertainment licencing is harder to avoid, but is amalgamated with alcohol licencing. licencing of plays and films and of late night food outlets.

The Guidance confirms that common fees will be fixed nationally and that there can be no eextra cost to include entertainment licencing on a premises licence when first issued (there is a fee for introducing changes one occasion of which would be the subsequent addition of entertainment licencing to an issued licence).

All licencing is contained by restricting licencing conditions to those needed to achieve the licencing objectives of:

Prevention of Crime and Disorder - mainly drug and violence
Public Safety
Prevention of Public Nuisance
Protection of Children from Harm - mainly from under-age drinking

Of these four it is hard to see the first and last affecting music or dance entertainments. Public Safety for performance is related primarily to safe egress in the event of an emergency - since physical provisions for safety are controlled by other legislation(e.g. planning). Public Nuisance relates to rowdy behaviour after leaving the premises and the "export" of noise from the premises at levels which are a nuisance for neighbours relative to the time of day that they occur.

My conclusions are that recognition of the problems of the existing system indicate that the new Act is indeed a liberalisation. It certainly has some aspects that could be more entertainer friendly, but they are significantly more friendly than the PEL ever was with the sole exception of two (but no more) in a bar without a licence.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 03:37 AM

Two old sayings come to mind. They both involve our friend from below.

In respect of where we stand at the moment and the old laws -v- the new Act. - 'Between the Devil and the deep blue sea'.

And more as a genral reply to Richard P: - 'The Devil is in the detail'.

Despite the fact that my local council Licensing Committee is waiting for a reply from the DCMS on the very subject of if unpaid pub customers making music MUST be considered as performers in a public entertainment - I have just heard that their officers have contacted a licensee and as a result - the weekly session held there (but never advertised) is to be prevented for lack of a PEL.

Having agreed to write and ask the question at a meeting set up only to discuss this issue and locally enable sessions, on the 9 February, the letter was sent a full month later and the DCMS have yet to reply.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 04:00 AM

"All licencing is contained by restricting licencing conditions to those needed to achieve the licencing objectives of:

Prevention of Crime and Disorder - mainly drug and violence
Public Safety
Prevention of Public Nuisance
Protection of Children from Harm - mainly from under-age drinking
"

Is this a sound stance to take against an Acoustic session, when Big Screen Television is exempt? I suppose that there are no grounds for thinking that there may be no Crime & Disorder, no Public Safety concerns, and no Public Nuisance stemming from a live football match?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 07:42 PM

Guest,

The Acoustic argument, however strong was lost last year. In any case acoustic music ranges from solo comb and paper to large symphony orchestras and massed military bands. That covers a much larger variety than folk music whether acoustic or amplified.

You are correct that musical entertainment has nothing to do with the first or the last objectives, and hence a premises stated in its operation plan to be used exclusively for folk music should never have conditions related to them attached to its licence. However, even Cecil Sharp House is not restricted to folk music but also sells liquor. However, it is reasonable to expect that its likely clientele could still justify no conditions for those categories.

Some limited conditions for audience safety such as working emergency lighting and accessible emergency exits cannot face reasonable objections. Similarly, where they are meaningful, restrictions to the hours that music can be played in the garden or requirements that windows are closed late in the evening are surely reasonable in some cases.

The important point for the next six months is to ensure that Local Authorities are made aware of the need to promote live music in their licencing policies, and to make it clear that thy will minimise licence conditions placed on live musical entertainment. It is also important that people and organisations that understand folk music are amongst those consulted by Local Authorities about their draft licencing policies.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 08:18 PM

"...with the sole exception of two (but no more) in a bar without a licence.

That is quite an important exception. Sweeping away an exemption like that, rather than extending it, was a pretty massive de-liberalising element in the Act.

Still, that's all water under the bridge. The important thing is to find ways of using the new legislative framework to our advantage.

I am hoping that there will be some local authorities that decide to give the kind of music we are talking about as free a hand as possible, and not just in pubs. Some of the stuff in those guidelines could be used to back them up in doing this.

I think that local authorities which do that could find a significant increase in musical activity locally, and this could mean increased numbers of visitors and so forth. That would provide a motive for other places to copy their example.

And I can envisage this being welcomed up in Whitehall, as good news that might get a few good headlines and photo-ops, perhaps at a time when there aren't too many of them about, and an election is pending. "See, we were right all along" they'd say, which is the kind of thing they like to be able to say. The fact that the good results were achieved in spite of them, rather than because of them, would be a secondary matter. Fair enough, that's how the game works.

So is there anyone out there working on winning round the relevant people in their local authority to see it that way and to recognise an opportunity?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 05:02 AM

McGrath brought us back to the real current issue. How do we move forward to maximise the opportunities for folk nusic (and as a consequence for other entertainments).

Within the next few months, every local authority in England and Wales has to produce its licencing policy. This has to take into account the Government Guidance document, but this is not designed to promote the particular interests of folk musicians (or anyone else). Furthermore, they will be undertaking this exercise just when festivals and holidays are diverting folkies minds away from home.

Most of the council's energies are likely to be concentrated on how they generate a policy for extremely flexible pub licencing hours.

One way that we can seek to promote our interests is to generate a suggested for of words about entertainment licencing to be included in their policy statement.   By doing so we can indicate key issues that are relevant to us.

The following is a strawman that I have thrown together to open up the discussion. If we can hone this, or have an alternative starting point to hone, then we can seek means of promoting it through folk clubs and individuals in each local authority area.

DRAFT TEXT FOR A PROPOSED SECTION IN LOCAL AUTHORITY LICENCING POLICY DOCUMENTS

It is Council policy is to encourage opportunities for citizens to enjoy entertainments both as participants and as
audiences. In furtherance of this objective, the Council strongly urges those seeking premises licences for the
provision of alcohol in public houses and member clubs to include licencing of the premises for entertainment within
their application. The licence fee is unaltered provided the requests are made together. The Council affirms that
it will seek the minimum licence conditions consistent with the licencing objectives.

The Council accepts that most acoustic music is consistent with the licencing objectives. Consequently, any
applications exclusively for music will normally be approved with very few conditions, which will normally be
restricted to those listed by the guidance as examples which apply to the premises and are appropriate to the
premises location:

        No entertainment in gardens after 10:00pm
        Windows to be closed after 11:00pm
        Freedom of passage to exits
        Proper maintenance and operation of the emergency lighting system if one is installed.

The Council recognises that a minority of acoustic music can be very loud to the point of causing nuisance in some
circumstances. As a general guide, it is considered that an acoustic performance comprising up to five professional
entertainers joined by a singing audience of up to 100 would be consistent with this minimal level of licencing
conditions in most premises.

Premises operators should assess whether the entertainment within their premises will comply with the above guidance
or whether they wish to make provision for entertainment that might be louder. In the latter case they should include
a description of the intended entertainment that will cause the most disturbance so that neighbours can make
and pertinent comments.

In the case of premises which are equipped with a system which enables the power to amplifiers to be cut off if a
particular noise level is reached, the premises operator should include a draft condition within the application
which requires the equipment to be used for all amplified music and should state the noise level at which it is
intended that power to the amplifier will be cut off.

Similarly event organisers must assess whether their event will be within the permitted premises noise level and
hence will be covered by the exisiting premises licence or whether a separate event licence is required.

Who will take up the challenge of honing that, taking note of the need to produce a statement that is likely to be acceptable to local authorities.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 06:26 AM

I think these are on the right lines, Richard.

A couple of points where I'd like to see a change.

1) I can think of many places where music in gardens after 10 pm, or leaving windows open would not cause any problems for neighbours, notably in some country pubs. I think it would be better to leave out "No entertainment in gardens after 10:00pm
       Windows to be closed after 11:00pm
       Freedom of passage to exits
       Proper maintenance and operation of the emergency lighting system if one is installed."


The section already refers to the guidance on these points, and I'd think that might be sufficient.

2) I think "The Council recognises that a minority of acoustic music can be very loud to the point of causing nuisance in some circumstances. As a general guide, it is considered that an acoustic performance comprising up to five professional entertainers joined by a singing audience of up to 100 would be consistent with this minimal level of licencing conditions in most premises" is too specific - for example it opens up arguments about what "professional" means here, a question which doesn't seem relevant to the issue. Whether a performer is professional or not doesn't directly determine whether they are making too much noise.

I'd suggest something of the form: "The Council recognises that a minority of acoustic music can be very loud to the point of causing nuisance in some circumstances. Where this was the case, it would not be consistent with this minimal level of of licensing conditions."


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 08:57 AM

So is there anyone out there working on winning round the relevant people in their local authority to see it that way and to recognise an opportunity?

Working but not winning, mainly because your average councillor does not understand the Act and need their legal officers to tell them. These are the same officers who have misled them as to what the current legislation means - so it is unlikely that very much will change. Both of these pieces of legislation (and guidance) are sadly designed to mean what those enforcing it - want it to mean.

Richard (P). Your idea is basically to maximise those premises that apply for the optional entertainment permission but even the councillors should be able to grasp this. It is not a bad idea but as it remains an option only open for the licensee or owner, it should not be the only strategy. It must be recognised that even increasing the take-up from the current 5% will still leave many places where even one performer will not be legal and where permission will be required to have a piano.

So it is VITAL for US to ensure NOW, that the exemption for incidental recorded and now for incidental LIVE music is defined locally to enable incidental live music (like sessions) to take place without entertainment permission. Background recorded music (like juke boxes) will be accepted by our licensing officers as exempt - it is up to us to ensure that our local licensing committees ensure that these officers also consider any incidental live music also to be exempt.

We the public, do have the right of freedom of expression, it is up to us to make sure that it is not taken away.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 09:21 AM

It is Council policy is to encourage opportunities for citizens to enjoy entertainments both as participants and as audiences. In furtherance of this objective, the Council strongly urges those seeking premises licences for the provision of alcohol in public houses and member clubs to include licencing of the premises for entertainment within their application. The licence fee is unaltered provided the requests are made together.

This will not do. For example, what about a coffee bar or cafe not wishing to serve alcohol, who will only have to apply and pay for a Premises Licence if they wish to provide regulated entertainment?

The Council affirms that it will seek the minimum licence conditions [for regulated entertainment] consistent with the licencing objectives .

Add the following - but scrap all the rest of the detail.

The Council also affirms that it will recognise that, as worded in the Act, where the playing of recorded music is exempt from the licensing requirement as incidental, that the performance of live music will also be exempt as incidental.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 04:47 AM

My time being at a premium at the moment, I shall respond to the principles behind the above responses to my initial draft, but postpone a replacement draft to a later time.

1) I completely agree with McGraths first contention. I had tried to address it explicitly slightly later in the draft, but will look at the whole subject again.

2) I agree with McGraths argument that the use of the word "professional" opens up a number of problems and that a better approach is required. I would like to think about an alternative means of including the idea that enthusiatic chorus singing is within what is acceptable without constraints.

3) Shambles statement that I ant to maximise the premises that hold a licence which covers entertaiment - we must as a minimum do that. However there is another (possibly inevitably more subtle) objective - to influence the licencing policy document to recognise that a very large amount of folk music (and other like entertainment) that is automatically legal within the terms of the Act and hence which does not come within the control of the entertainment provisions of any premises licence. In practice the bigger problem is likely to be convincing landlords that the incidental music is outside the proper concern of a licencing officer. Unless they are satisfied the officer will not have an opportunity to be corrected by his employing committee.

4) Shambles point about coffee bars in his second posting is absolutely correct. It is a completely separate point from pubs etc. but needs to be covered. Again I will give it some further thought before posting a revised suggestion.

5) Shambles final point about the equivalence of reorded and live music also needs to be covered, although probably not by a simple affirmation of a small (but important) part of the act.

RichardP


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST,AJ
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 06:07 AM

Some of you may have heard that there is to be Live Music Forum which will look at the impact of the Act on live music and will carry out an audit on the state of live music now in order to make a benchmark for future measurement. The forum was created by the DCMS and is headed by Feargal Sharkey. The message above from Richard P would be really hepful to the work of this group as they are looking already at advocacy for live performance within LA policies. The DCMS web-site should provide a link or contact for feedback and I'm sure that your input to their project woould be very welcome.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 05:39 PM

Following my posting of yesterday, I worked the comments into the draft with other consequential changes. By the end the content was improved, b ut it read dreadfully. So I then undertook a fairly major edit to make it more reader friendly. The following is the result:

REVISED DRAFT TEXT FOR A PROPOSED SECTION IN LOCAL AUTHORITY LICENCING POLICY DOCUMENTS

COUNCIL COMMITTMENT TO FOSTERING PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT

It is Council policy to encourage opportunities for citizens to enjoy entertainments both as participants and as
audiences.

The Council affirms its commitment to facilitate the provision of entertainment in as many premises as possible.
In furtherance of this objective, it will issue licences with the minimum conditions consistent with supporting the
licensing objectives.

In addition the Council will licence all appropriate premises in its control for public entertainment and strongly
urges other organisations and individuals controlling any premises suitable for public entertainment to licence them.

Specifically, it draws the attention of those seeking premises licences for the provision of alcohol in public houses,
member clubs and, where appropriate, in off-sales and other premises to the fact that that the licence fee for
premises selling alcohol is not increased by the inclusion of entertainment licensing provided the requests are made
concurrently.

The Council draws attention to the fact that there are many circumstances in which entertainment is permitted without
the need for a premises licence covering entertainment. It is the essential characteristic of all licensable
entertainment that there must be:

        Explicit provision of the entertainment either by one or more individuals or by the replay of recorded
        entertainment

        There must be an audience in which the main reason for the presence of the majority of the audience members is
        their desire to be entertained (as opposed to any other reason, such as their being present in a pub primarily
        to have a drink).

If either of these conditions is not satisfied then the entertainment does not require a licence, consequently most
entertainment in a pub bar does not need an entertainments licence.

COUNCIL COMMITTMENT TO MINIMAL LICENCING CONDITIONS

The Council accepts that most acoustic music is consistent with the licensing objectives. Consequently, any
applications exclusively for acoustic music will normally be approved with very few conditions. These will normally
be restricted to such of those conditions listed as examples by the DCMS guidance which are applicable to the
particular premises taking its location into consideration. The relevant conditions within the guidance are:

       No entertainment in gardens after 10:00pm
       Windows to be closed after 11:00pm
       Freedom of passage to exits
       Proper maintenance and operation of any emergency lighting system that is already installed.

It should be noted in particular that the first two would not apply at all in the case of very isolated premises and
the times themselves are flexible depending on the location. It is stressed that it is not appropriate for a
licensing condition to require any alteration to the premises.

As stressed above, Where the entertainment requires a licence, the Council is committed to the application of the
minimum possible conditions consistent with supporting the licensing objectives. However, there will be cases where
the nature of the entertainment makes additional licence conditions necessary. To assist premises and event
organisers to assess whether it is necessary to consider additional licence conditions and to minimise the number of
unnecessary applications for more restricted licences, the Council asserts that an acoustic performance comprising a
few performers with an audience of up to 100 joining in choruses would be consistent with the minimal level of
licensing conditions in most premises.

Premises operators should assess whether the entertainment within their premises will be consistent with the volumes
typified by the above indication. If they consider that this may not be so, they should indicate whether they wish to
make provision for louder entertainment. In the latter case they should include a description of the intended
entertainment that is to be covered so that neighbours can make any pertinent comments.

In the case of premises which are equipped with a system which enables the power to amplifiers to be cut off if a
particular noise level is reached; the premises operator should include a draft condition within the application
which requires the equipment to be used for all amplified music and should state the noise level at which it is
intended that power to the amplifier will be cut off.

Just as premises operators have to decide whether they will require entertainment to be contained within the
guidelines so that it will be covered by the existing premises licence an event organiser will have to decide whether
to contain the entertainment or to apply for a separate licence with extended guidelines.

END OF DRAFT.

Further comments are requested.

The immediately preceding posting is very welcome and could be very significant. I was aware of the Feargay Sharkey committee, but it had not occurred to me that they might be producing something informal for local autorities along lines similar to those above. I would prefer to give people at least one more chance to comment defore considering whether it is ready and suitable to send to the committee.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 06:56 PM

"These are the same officers who have misled them as to what the current legislation means - so it is unlikely that very much will change.

In some places that is going to be so, and I can see how the Shanbles experience locally must have given him a pretty jaundiced view of these people. However I suspect that there are other places where the question hasn't really come up, or where local practice has been to be pretty accepting of a considerable degree of flexibility. And I am sure that there are councillors and officers who are potentially on our side.

If there is a prospect of a model policy statement being produced by this review committee, obviously the important thing is to do whatever can be done to edge it towards being a model we would wish to see copied. The likelihood is that any centrally produced model policy will in fact be adopted in most places.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 08:25 PM

I think that Richard's draft is better but it is a broard policy statement and does not need to go into the kind of detail about the time that music can take place in pub gardenss etc.

It could also stress that the Council can only legally prevent the public's freedom of expression, on certain specified grounds (re Article 10 of the European Commission on Human Rights). That the Council will have to demonstrate these grounds if they ever wish to prevent the public from making live music.

The draft does clearly show the problems presented now to the legislation. It started out as a catch-all to cover any possible live entertainment anywhere, (but not effect recorded music) but now has so many exemptions (and holes) - it is clear that the reasoning for licensing what little remains - is very suspect and difficult to justify. Or indeed to construct the required local policy toward live music around it.

All I expect is that all local authorities uphold and follow the law of the land. The current licensing legislation does not mean or support the view that any LAs should see their role as preventing live music like sessions. It is up to us to ensure that the new legislation is not corrupted and used in the same way.

We must ensure that for the first time live and recorded incidental music will be treated the same by our officers. And that any place where recorded music is exempt as being incidental - that incidental live music (like sessions) is also never bothered by our officers.

It is important to stress to our councillors that the only way that recorded music can now be exempt from the licensing requirement, is by by being considered (locally) as incidental.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 09:05 PM

I think Richard P is quite right in pointing out that "In practice the bigger problem is likely to be convincing landlords that the incidental music is outside the proper concern of a licensing officer."   And that applies maybe even more in the case of companies owning chains of pubs, and laying down a policy for what their managers are authorised to do."

Always remembering that in principle we should never just think in terms of pubs. Pubs only took on their central role because, almost by accident, in 1964 legislation effectively made live music in other places it had happened before, such as coffee bars, effectively illegal. The combination of the two in-a-bar exemption and the existence in those days of far more function rooms, made all the difference.

Legislation always seems to have these unexpected results, and it'll be interesting to see how it works out now.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Apr 04 - 02:50 AM

I think Richard P is quite right in pointing out that "In practice the bigger problem is likely to be convincing landlords that the incidental music is outside the proper concern of a licensing officer."   And that applies maybe even more in the case of companies owning chains of pubs, and laying down a policy for what their managers are authorised to do."

It is up to us to first convince our Councils of this and then get them to convince licensees, owners and coffee bars. It should not be difficult to convince them that incidental recorded music is outside the proper concerns of a licensing officer, as all parties already accept this. The trick is to get them to accept from the very start, that any incidental live MUST now be treated the same and that it will now be illegal for them to make a distinction and insist on licensing for one and not the other.

It will be more difficult to do this if the main focus is placed on getting venues to apply for entertainment permissions, but that is the mess that we have been given to try and make work.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 25 Apr 04 - 05:35 AM

We seem to be coming together quite nicely. However, I can see no possible circumstance where anyone will bring the European Courts into play in support of a live session, so I am sure that any reference to European Law would be a red rag to certain councillors and offiserd rather than a strengthening of our case.

Furthermore I have seen nothing to justify the suggestion that the original intent of the Bill was to strengthen recorded music and undermine live music. This was certainly a view that was circulated from the start, but has all of the signs of a negociating position rather than fact.

There may be a lot of the Act that could have been more favourable to us, but we gain nothing by casting a lack of unquestioning support for us as positive purposeful opposition, particularly without positive proof of such a malign intent.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 25 Apr 04 - 05:55 AM

Getting away from the detail itself. It appears that this thread is not getting a lot of attention from most UK mudcatters. Once we have finalised a form of words, it would be desirable to get their attention back, so I suggest a new thread with a catchy title to try to widenexposure. Any comments?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Apr 04 - 04:10 PM

We seem to be coming together quite nicely. However, I can see no possible circumstance where anyone will bring the European Courts into play in support of a live session, so I am sure that any reference to European Law would be a red rag to certain councillors and offiserd rather than a strengthening of our case.

The right of freedom of expression (including the performance of live music) is now enshrined (by this Government) in our legislation, so the European Courts do not come into play. Our Councils (and councillors) should be well aware of this but find it easy to ignore when they currently prevent the public's right to express themselves musically in a pub, with the licensee's permission. All that is required is for a member of the public so affected, to make the case against their council (and to have the money to pay for it in our courts).

In order for this current prevention by Councils, of the public's freedom of expression to be legal, when they prevent sessions for the lack of a PEL, the law requires that they should be first able to demonstrate the speciific risk presented by this activity, that cannot be dealt with by the justice's licence or other legislation. The same will also be true if they wish to prevent the public's freedom of expression under the new Act.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Apr 04 - 04:40 PM

Furthermore I have seen nothing to justify the suggestion that the original intent of the Bill was to strengthen recorded music and undermine live music. This was certainly a view that was circulated from the start, but has all of the signs of a negociating position rather than fact.

If the original Bill had been in any way what the Govenment claimed for it - there would have been no need for any negociating postion.

The fact that there was always to be an exemption for 'incidental' recorded music but not one for 'incidental' live music, clearly demonstrates that the effect of the original worded Bill would have enabled (most) recorded music without the rigmarole of obtaining advanced licensing permission. This permission was required for any live music. Whether this was an evil and intended design or just due to stupidity is hardly the point, to further damage all live music would have been the effect of it.

I would suggest that for no real reason, other than perhaps the powerful recorded music indusry lobby, the Bill was just carrying on the historical and reckless 'recorded music good' - 'live music bad' view, that has cause so much damage to all forms of live music. Due to the efforts of many of us (including the 110,000 who signed the online petition) - the Act that was passed is not the original Bill and there is now an exemption for incidental live music.

Rather than arguing now - we must ensure that we make to very most of this exemption and all of the other measures that cam be used to lessen the effects of the Act on all live music.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 25 Apr 04 - 06:42 PM

I think that we can find a mutually agreed position in a few simple statements:

The Act is better than the original Bill.
The only thing lost compared with the position before the Bill is "two in a bar", which was always an ambiguous exemption and at its strictest interpretation a pretty small sop.
Subject to any cases of two in a bar that are made worse, the Act is significantly better than the previous situation.
The Act could have given even more to music, but any legislation has to achieve a balance between different interests. In this instance because neighbours of pubs etc. have aspirations as well as musicians.
The Act is the best we have and the best we have ever had even if in the longer term we aspire to even better.
Even with the Act there are opportunities for some local authorities to be musch more supportive of music than others.
We need to use influence to ensure that Local Authorities employ the most music friendly interpretation within the flexibilites in the Act.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 02:13 AM

We can all agree that the Act is now what it is, (even though the draft guidance changes to try and make a sow's ear into a silk purse).

I agree that there is little point in seeing the worst intentions in it but equally there is no reason to see it through 'rose-coloured glasses' or to persuade others to see it this way, as you appear to be set on doing.

The only thing lost compared with the position before the Bill is "two in a bar", which was always an ambiguous exemption and at its strictest interpretation a pretty small sop.

That may be your and the Government's simplistic view - it is not mine. The S 182 exemption did enable a lot of music making in perfectly safe and already licensed pubs to take place without silly and pointless claims about its safety. Sadly it was not used by LAs as intended, to enable small-scale live music in pubs. Rather it was wrongly used to insist that any music made by more than two people made pubs automatically unsafe without paying them for an additional licence.

Subject to any cases of two in a bar that are made worse, the Act is significantly better than the previous situation.

Again, that may be your view but it is not mine. As has been pointed out to you Richard, the Bill/Act was sold to us as making things better for live music. As far as the musical aspects, is more of an unreasoned mess than the old laws were.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 05:16 AM

Shambles,

It is clear that our disagreements are all about how good or poor the legal position was before the Bill. On that we can agree to differ.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 05:25 AM

There is a most important omission from both my previous drafts. The Act exempts Morris Dancing and similar entertainments from Licencing, but there is no guidance on which entertainments are similar. The draft circulated above should include a paragraph to cover this. I suggest the following:

"Morris Dancing and similar entertainments are exempted from the need for licencing by the Act. The Council considers the following to be similar entertainments for this purpose:

      Long Sword Dancing
      Rapper Sword Dancing
      Traditional Clog Dancing
      Mummers Plays
      Medieaval Mystery Plays
      Wasssailing
      (Here list any local similar traditions specific to the Local
       Authority Area)

Anyone promoting an entertainment which they consider comparable to those in the list should consult the Council before applying for a licence."

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 09:04 AM

Under the Act the two examples of plays may well be safe from our officers in practice, (as they largely were before) until some future legal brain looks only at the words of the Act.

Where it is pretty clear that these are regulated entertainments and licensable........Unless you can claim them both to be exempt as Morris and the (non amplified) music to be integral, and also exempt at the same time as performance of incidental live music?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 09:15 AM

Schedule 1.

2. (1)The descriptions of entertainment are-

(a)a performance of a play,

(b)an exhibition of a film,

(c)an indoor sporting event,

(d)a boxing or wrestling entertainment,

(e)a performance of live music,

(f)any playing of recorded music,

(g)a peformance of dance,

(h)entertainment of a similar description to that falling within paragraph (e)(f) or (g),

where the entertainment takes place in the presence of an audience and is provided for the purpose, or for purposes which include the purpose, of entertaining that audience.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 09:25 AM

If persuading licensees in the first place, that a session is exempt as incidental live music and not a matter for our licensing officers, is seen to be a problem - how on earth are you supposed to convince them that a mumming play staged on their premises, is not a matter for our licensing officers?

Especially when the words of Schedule 1 of the Act, (above) clearly state that the performance of a play is a regulated entertainment.........

Mummers play stopped at Cerne Abbas


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 09:34 AM

If the same legal brain even wished at any time to prevent any form of incidental recorded music without entertainment permission, let alone a mumming play or session - they will claim that these words from Schedule 1 of the Act will enable them to do so.

where the entertainment takes place in the presence of an audience and is provided for the purpose, or for purposes which include the purpose, of entertaining that audience.

How could you argue that the incidental recorded juke box music that you provided, did not include the purpose of entertaining that audience?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 09:40 AM

"... there is no reason to see it through 'rose-coloured glasses'"

I think that seeing things through rose coloured glasses is often a very sensible way of dealing with them. By that I mean, putting an interpretation on them that is most in line with our wishes. After all, that is precisely what we wish councils and licensees and courts to do.

Whether the rose-coloured way of looking at things coincides with the historical truth of the way the legislators were actually thinking is not germane. If we had reason to think that the way the legislation and the guidelines come out were more restrictive than the legislators actually intended, that would be relevant - but the other way round is a different matter entirely.

"On the face of it the law can be read as meaning that this activity does not need a licence to be carried out - but it can be demonstrated that in fact the people drafting the law did not intend that to be the case" - that really would be helpful wouldn't it?

......................

And with that kind of thing in mind, I am wholly opposed to any formal fencing-in of the kinds of dancing that could be covered by "Morris Dancing and similar".

Possibly the politicians were just thinking in terms of a limited spectrum of street dance, but it is perfectly possible to argue for one that is very wide ranging indeed, and I think we should encourage the rule-makers to accept that - even if some Morris purists may find it painful.

At Sidmouth one year for example there was a display of Punjabi Dancing. I heard people referring to it quite casually and sensibly as "a kind of Indian Morris Dancing". Fair enough - a bunch of men wearing bright costumes, adorned with bells and with lots of energetic leaping about.

At Leigh-on-Sea the range of street dancing typically includes Irish step-dancing and set-dancing, Belly-Dancing, Line Dance, Samba Bands and just about anything going, along with a whole range of teams from various English traditions. At the end of the festival they all take part in the procession, and finish up dancing together.

Most people seeing them pass sing or dancing at the end would probably refer to the whole lot as "some kind of Morris Dancers". I think we should defend the position that, behind all the interesting differences which are highly valued, there is an essential similarity, and that all our dancing traditions, new or old, should be able to use this hard won exemption.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 09:51 AM

And with that kind of thing in mind, I am wholly opposed to any formal fencing-in of the kinds of dancing that could be covered by "Morris Dancing and similar".

I would suggest that the term 'folk arts' would be broad enough cover everything our Peers in the Lords intended when they introduced this exemption at the last minute. I would also suggest that this term would include sessions - as this is just the integral music but without the dancing.

No harm in trying to get our LAs to see it our way - but we must always remember that it is the actual words of the Act that count.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 10:29 AM

Does anyone know how long landlords havegot until they will have to fill in the form with the famous "Tick here if you wish to have entertainment" box ?   Our main concern from now on, has got to be to try and persuade as many publicans as possible to do this when the time comes - and not just the ones that already have live music in them.

I expect that some councils (Greenwich for one) will still engage in a cmpaogn to disuade landlords from initially applying for an entertainments license, by supplying false information. This way they will hope to be able make some money out of subsequent applications.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 11:00 AM

Here's a link to the EFDSS page about this - but I note it hasn't been updated since July last year. And the Musicians Union has settled down and isn't making any noise about it. Here is their page on the issue, and it stops in July 2003 as well.

Is there anybody anywhere who is actually holding things together on this, and trying to make sure that we all come out of this in a reasonable position?

Going on about the stuff that is all past and gone is all very well, but what is the situation about the dates and the review committees and all that for the future? Because that is what really matters.

It's a bit as if the game had stopped and the whistle blew, and it was a draw - and then our team sloped off the the dressing-room, and ignored the fact that there was a penalty shoot-out scheduled to decide the result.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 12:03 PM

I completely agree with you Kevin. While it has been useful having an analysis of the guidance document, I think that too much discussion on the detailed legal details and how they might/could/should be interpreted is not necessarily very constructive, and indeed may distract us from the more inportant issue of making sure that as many pubs (and other venues) as possible do apply for entertainmant licenses when they first have to fill in the new application form.

I think it is also most important to look and see if any councils are trying to find loopholes in the system so that they can continue to make money out of granting entertainments licenses. As noted elsewhere, Greenwich council have closed down a session within the last couple of months insisting that "The Star & Garter" obtain a PEL - which I'm sure the council expect to make some cash on.

No-one seems to have answered my question about what happens when a pub has already paid for a PEL under the old system - I can't see the council being very happy to say "OK now you've ticked the box, you don't have to pay anymore and here's a refund on the six months that your old PEL still had to run". Yet having granted a PEL in the past, it would be rather difficult for them to refuse a new entertainments license or to insist on new conditions. Councils like Greenwich, definitely saw PELs as a way of raising revenue and somehow, I don't think they're going to give up so easily. The fact that they are still being quite draconic in this interim period seems to support this.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 12:31 PM

Dave,

Your point about "does anyone know..." is well made. The answer is effectively "not quite". The timetable is that the guidance has to be approved by both houses of parliament. There is then a period of approximately six months during which time the local authorities have to prepare and publish their policy statements. The final date for this will be published by the DCMS as the "first appointed day", which is the first date at which an application for a licence can be submitted. There is then a period of approximately nine months to the "second appointed day" when all existing licences become invalid and new licences come into force.

So licence applications will be in the autumn and they will come into force sometime next summer.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 03:22 PM

Our main concern from now on, has got to be to try and persuade as many publicans as possible to do this when the time comes - and not just the ones that already have live music in them.

I don't really see that this is our main concern and how do we go about this anyway? For no matter how many do apply - there will be many that will not and the final choice to apply remains theirs not ours. What would you consider to be a good take-up percentage figure? It will not be too difficult to improve on the current 5% take-up figure and no doubt our Government will claim that whatever the figure turns out to be will be a good thing. But that will still mean that no live music at all can take place in the remainder.

I would suggest that our main concern (through our local licensing committees) is to ensure that incidental live music can still take place in all the places that will not have applied for entertainment permission and most probably will have no intention of doing so.

The key is to ensure that where recorded music will be considered as incidental and exempt by our officers, that live music is also able to take place as exempt. We can do this and it is vital that we do this before some officer makes a stand and we have to fight this interpretation. This at least is within our power as council tax payers.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 04:13 PM

...the guidance has to be approved by both houses of parliament...

Does that mean the guidance as it stands, or is there any mechanism for amending it? If so, what is that and is there any way of affecting it? (If there is an amendment process, that could mean that there might be someone lobbying for changes that would actually make things worse, so it'd be no good sitting back and saying "Oh well, the guidance document is as good as we can expect", even if the existing guidance might be seen by some as measuring up to that.

And do we know when the Houses of Parliament are likely to do their stuff, and the next phase kicks in, with local authorities drawing up their policy statements?

And where does this committee with Feargal Sharkey fit into all this?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 07:34 PM

McGrath,

To start at your end, http://www.culture.gov.uk/creative_industries/music/livemusicforum.htm is a link to the notes of the first meeting of the Live Music Forum.
It gives good background to the Live Music Forum under Feargal Sharkey.

When do the Houses of Parliament do their stuff? Apparently not in the next two weeks. It appears that it will be referred to a committee in each house which will typically spend a few hours on it. I have found no visibility on the web of such ocmmittees proceedings. I suspect that in practice they either approve or persuade the Minister to go away and modify the draft and then resubmit it. More likely than such a withdrawal is a promise of a further document making minor changes subsequent to approval. It will then go to the floor of each house for approval without debate. It is possible, but unusual for there to be a straight vote at that stage which the Govenrment would win in the Commons and it would be most unusual (at least) for it to lose in the Lords.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 26 Apr 04 - 07:45 PM

Regarding discussions about our main concern, I see one serious flaw. Concern neets to be plural, but can be time ordered.

The first thing that happens outside parliament is that the Local Authorities write their policies. We need to influence these over the next few months. One of the initial outcomes from Feargal Sharkey's group is an intention to pressurise Local Authorities to stress the desirability of Pubs including entertainment in their initial applications. That was one of the objectives of my draft of a few mailings ago. One aspect of that is to educate council's that the Act definitely does not favour recorded music over live music.

Sometime in the autumn it will become too late to influence the policy documentation and additional documentation going to applicants. At that stage and befor elicence applications are submitted we need to persuade premises owners to include entertainment in general and live entertainment in particular in their applications.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 27 Apr 04 - 06:55 AM

I still stand by my statement that we should try to ensure that landlords do apply for entertainments licenses. I realise that the choice is ultimately that of the Landlord or in many cases the brewery or company who own the pub. If as seems likely, a charge will be made for entertainment licence applications made at a later date, then landlords may be deterred from applying later. There are going to be many ocasions when it would be convenient to perform in a pub - folk festivals, town fetes, national saints days, mayday. While these might be OK on the basis that they are impromptu, some Landlords who would otherwise be interested, might get cold feet because they don't have a license. The same thing could also apply when someone is looking for a venue to start up a new club or session.

Moveable sessions (Like Travelling Folk) may also have problems finding a good circuit of venues if many of the pubs don't apply for licenses. If we do try and explain to pubs the sense of applying for an entertainments provision when it won't cost them anything, then we might build up a useful stock of premises where it would be possible to hold events.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Apr 04 - 07:26 AM

It's not "either / or", it's "not only / but also".

Of course it's important to try to ensure that pubs get their licences to cover live music as well as selling drinks, but that's not enough.

There are going to be pubs which don't do that, for various reasons, and we want to make sure that that isn't the end of it, but that it is recognised by the pubs and the local officials that licences aren't needed for music in some circumstances. And that particularly applies in the case of possible venues which are not pubs, and which are not in the business of selling alcoholic drinks in the first place.

People keep on slipping back into this daft and lazy assumption that the only places where live music can possibly hapen is in pubs.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Apr 04 - 07:43 AM

Sham - you right, except that even after HRA, ECtHR can sometimes be relevant.

This Act is so dreadful that the only really sensible thing to do would be to tear it up and start again.

Quite apart from the "two in a bar" exemption, the other thing that has been lost is the liberty to perform music at all times and in all places where it is/was not "public". All folk clubs in pubs that operate under the figleaf of being private members clubs will need licensing under the new law. And before the "acoustic music" relaxation of licence conditions can be applied, a licence permitting music will first have to be obtained, so any capital requirements will have to have been observed.

If the guidance purports to permit that which the Act does not, then it is ineffective and unlawful, and someone like Norris McWhirter will (probably successfully) seek judicial review of it, so invalidating it.

What will also probably eventually happen is that someone will bring a claim (or run a defence) under the Human Rights Act, turning on the definition of "incidental" (although it could also be in pursuit of a declaration of incompatibility with the ECHR), and the courts following the obligation to strain every meaning to comply with HR obligations, will find that "incidental" is much much wider than Howells has said was intended - maybe along the lines of the assumptions behind the drafts I prepared about "incidental" anamplified music namely that "incidental" included most things that were not the primary purpose.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Apr 04 - 09:52 AM

I still stand by my statement that we should try to ensure that landlords do apply for entertainments licenses.

Yes it is indeed sensible to try and ensure that as many places we know of do apply for the additional entertainment permission. I just think that where this may be out Government's and perhaps our LAs main task - in order to try and make the unworkable, work - it is not really ours. As it is not possible for us to have very much impact as to who chooses to apply or not - beyond those we may have personal contact with.

Another possible factor for us to bear in mind is that in order to try and ensure that most places apply - The offical bodies may even try (through the wording of guidance and local policies) to push the scales. To try and create a situation where it looks as if applying for the entertainment permission is the only way that even background recorded music can take place. I certainly would not like to been seen as party to that.

That is why I think that our efforts are best made, to try and ensure that the many exemptions - especially the one for incidental live music - will mean that the basic right for an individual to express themselves through music making, will not be taken away by the officers who will have to try and make this this terrible piece of legislation work.

It would also be nice and perhaps part of the answer, if we could get our local licensing committees to concentrate on the safety aspects. What in fact this Act was supposed to be about - rather than wasting time defining words that the Act or the guidance does not define. And arguing about what an entertainment facility is, what is or is not incidental or what is Morris - whilst drunken football supporters are tearing our towns apart after attending live TV showings in pubs - which of course will still NOT require the addtional licensing permission. Euro 2004 is just a few months away.

I agree with Richard (B) - the whole thing is a desgrace and should be torn up. It will not be and we will now have to accept and make the most of it - but I suspect that most of us will never forget what has been inflicted upon us.........


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 01:57 AM

Richard (P)said: We seem to be coming together quite nicely. However, I can see no possible circumstance where anyone will bring the European Courts into play in support of a live session, so I am sure that any reference to European Law would be a red rag to certain councillors and offiserd rather than a strengthening of our case.

What we have to ensure is that councillors are now advised by their officers as to the whole legal framework in which entertainment licensing and this Act is just a part. Too often it is a rather selective picture of legislation that is presented to our elected local council members.

If any councillors are offended at the thought of correctly following the law of the land - then we have every right to first offend them and then vote them out of office.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 05:00 AM

People keep on slipping back into this daft and lazy assumption that the only places where live music can possibly hapen is in pubs.

I may be being selfish, but at least 90% of the places where I'm involved with live music these days is in pubs (even at most festivals) - where do we usually meet up ? Of the others some (Theatre type venues, CSH etc) are going to have licences anyway, the rest will probably count as impromptu - I'll take my chance with the BBQs.

As it is not possible for us to have very much impact as to who chooses to apply or not - beyond those we may have personal contact with.

I like many others on the folk scene have contact with many pubs, I have always had a habit of just walking into pubs and singing and have discovered many useful venues that way. If we all talk to the landlords of pubs which we know - it could make a big difference to the number who take advantage of the initial chance to get a license free.

I just think that where this may be out Government's and perhaps our LAs main task - in order to try and make the unworkable, work - it is not really ours.

In the light of the way that my local LA sees entertainment licenses, I can't imagine them being very keen to see premises get them for free. I'm sure thart they would rather the licenses were applied for subsequently, when they could make a charge.

I do not want to belittle the legal discussion side and think that you are doing an important job, but for the rest of us at this point, talking to pub landlords is something useful that we at the grass-roots could be doing.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 05:44 AM

In the light of the way that my local LA sees entertainment licenses, I can't imagine them being very keen to see premises get them for free. I'm sure thart they would rather the licenses were applied for subsequently, when they could make a charge.

This indeed is the old thinking but we must accept our part of the blame for permitting this to hold sway in our local areas. This is largely by not getting involved in the boring processes of local politics, and just moaning. I will admit to be a fine example of this (until fairly recently) and there are current exeptions to this of course.

The Act now requires that every local licensing authority form a Licensing Committee. This committee is charged with making a policy. As council tax payers and voters, we now have the chance, through our local councillors, to form the local policy towards live music, (as far a the words of the Act will allow) that we wish to see.

If we can do this well by using all the exemptions and exposing all the problems, it is possible that the restrictive areas of the Act toward live music and performance in general, could pretty soon become totally unworkable - as these really deserve to be.

With the low turn-out in many local elections - it should not even be too difficult for us to elect fellow folk club and sessiom members - if they were willing) to become councillors and sit on these Committees. We have the chance to do more than just moan, it is up to us what we do with that chance.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 06:04 AM

Richard Bridge is incorrect in one respect. He says " the other thing that has been lost is the liberty to perform music at all times and in all places where it is/was not "public". All folk clubs in pubs that operate under the figleaf of being private members clubs will need licensing under the new law."

This is not true. It is true only in those cases where the club either pays for the room, which some do and some don't, or if the club organiser is making a profit out of the club operation, which is very rarely if ever the position in a folk club. So Richard is correct in saying that there will be a loss of the words "all times and all places" but not to imply that this eradicates the liberty.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 10 May 04 - 06:55 AM

I wonder if Richard Bridge, Shambles etc could clear up a few points for me regarding the guidlines for the introduction of the new act. Am I right in thinking that the following are true

1. If the "Entertainments Box" is ticked on the first application for a license under the new act, it is not possible for the LA to insist on a charge before granting one ?

2. It will not be possible for councils to insist on structural alterations to premises before granting an entertainments licence - this would have to be done on other grounds.

3. If any restrictions are applied to the granting of an entertainments provision (on Public Order/Nuisance grounds), these would not apply to "Small Events".

Just to remind me, what is the maximum number of people allowed by the "Small Events" clause (I realise that it has to be unamplified) ? Is this the maximum number of Performers, or does it include Audience as well - or is it the total number on the premises ?

Finally will councils be at liberty to allow a blanket provision of unlicensed entertainment for an area, for perhaps carnivals, special events, saint's days etc, as Maidstone seem to be allowing for the forthcomming Watt Tyler festival ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 11 May 04 - 12:03 PM

Refresh - can anyone give me an answer to my questions ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 May 04 - 02:28 PM

I don't wish to be rude Dave, but it might be best if you asked your MP or Council for the answers and posted them here, when you have them.

As for the Wat Tyler event. My understanding was that there was no formal blanket licensing arrangement. This may have changed however?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 12 May 04 - 04:35 AM

My MP wouldn't have the faintest idea. I e-mailed him twice during time that the Licensing Bill was being batted backwards and forwards between the two houses, and did eventually receive a standard letter about 6 months later. He recently phoned me as part of a local poll he was running, and was completely unaware that I had e-mailed him - he seemed to have no knowledge of any of the ramifications of the act or any interest. He probably wipes his elbow with bog paper most mornings !

My council (Greenwich) are still trying to get every penny from PELs and are still closing down sessions. I can't imagine them admitting that they might have to change their policy as a result of the act.

Do you mean that after all your discussion and perusal of the guidlines that you and Richard still have no idea of the answers to theses simple questions.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 May 04 - 05:25 AM

In a word no.

They are not simple questions and whatever answer is provided to them here, will just start off another round of personal opinions as to what the correct really answer is.

If they were simple questions and after reading the Act and the guidance, I suggest that we should all really know the answers.

We can certainly provide AN answer, but this would not most probably not turn out to be be THE answer.

The only people who can directly affect or challenge Greenwich Council's current policy are those who live and have a vote there. Although I am certainly willing to do what I can to help. There is little point in confronting the officers but there are councillors who can help.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 12 May 04 - 07:35 AM

But I thought that the whole idea of the act (and the guidance document) eas to ensure some uniformity in the way that it is applied across the country. If LAs are left to enforce it in anyway they wish, then things (at least in Greenwich) are going to get much worse.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 May 04 - 02:44 PM

Three responses to Dave Bryant points:

and was completely unaware that I had e-mailed him

emailing is not a good way to contact anyone these days. Snail-mail or faxing is far better, because it means there is a bit of paper in the in-tray. Use Fax your MP

...............

But I thought that the whole idea of the act (and the guidance document) was to ensure some uniformity in the way that it is applied across the country.

In practice what is going to happen is that local authorities are going to come up with their policies, and some of these are going to be used as mode la for other local authorities, and some are going to probably get struck down as illegal. From what I've hear of Greeenwich I think there should be a good chance that they will fall in that latter category.

.....................

but at least 90% of the places where I'm involved with live music these days is in pubs (even at most festivals)

That's quite true - but if you cast your mind back to the days if long ago, it used to be commonplace to have live music, folk music even (skiffle that is) in coffee bars. A change in the law ended that, more than fashion; the fact that it's effectively only pubs now reflects the legal situation we've been living in for the last forty years. I'd like to see us get back to a situation where live music happened in a wider range of places.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 13 May 04 - 07:02 AM

Sorry - It was the "Fax you MP" service that I used to contact my MP on both occasions - it still took over 6 months (after the Bill had become an Act) for him (Clive Efford - Lab - Eltham) to send
me a stock "I have recieved your Fax" reply. When he phoned me, he asked if I was planning to vote for him next election. I replied "Do bears usually use public conveniences ?".

Kevin - Perhaps it might be a nice idea to have folk in many non-pub venues, but you could have a problem getting many folkies there - I couldn't imagine Derek Brown or Harlowpoet et al being very interested ! In the past I've organised and been involved with many outdoor folk events (National Folk Day, Canal Festivals, Village Fetes etc) - but there's usually been a pub or beer tent nearby.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 17 May 04 - 05:35 AM

McGrath,

Sorry that I was unable to reply to your posting of 10th May, but I have been out of the cafe touring festivals for the last two weeks. Oh the pleasures of retirement!

Simple Answers to your questions:

1) Correct. The initial fee covers all licensable aspects required with the fee fixed for the particular premises however broad or narrow the licence.

2) Correct. Structure is a matter for planning control and can now only be changed when there is a new planning application.

3) Correct. However, there is no mention of small events in the Act. The relaxation is with regard to events in small premises, i.e. those with a total capacity of fewer than 200 people. Essentially, licencing by its very nature occurs before the event (if it occurred after the event it would be essentially taxation). Hence, it is impossible to know what the attendance will be beyond the reasonable assumption that it wil be no greater than the premises capacity.

Now for the caveats. There is only an informal indication of the licence fees so far. They are banded on premises rateable value and are very much lower than the current entertainment licencing fees. I have no idea how they compare with the more relevant current fees for justices licences (for alcohol sales).

There is currently a close relationship between premises structure and licenced capacity in entertainment licencing. I am aware of a building that has had its licenced capacity more than doubled by relatively minor work undertaken to emergency escape routes. Furthermore the capacity will be significantly increased if a relatively inexpensive fire-break is inserted in the roof space because then two different areas will be able to be used simultaneously rather than as alternatives only. Consequently, although the licence cannot be conditional on sturctural alterations, there could be severe apacity constraints without them.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 17 May 04 - 06:47 AM

RichardP

Just to clarify a few points.

Are you saying (in 1.) that the cost of a license for a pub will be exactly the same, whether or not the "Entertainments Box" has been ticked ?

Are you also saying that the "Small Events" clause has been replaced by the equivalents of a "Small Premises" clause? - I just thought that the "Small Events" clause had been retained, but made subject to the possession of an entertainments license first. Will all pubs be assessed for the maximum premises capacity, irrespective of whether the entertainments option has been requested. If so it would probably prove difficult or costly for LAs to enforce it. The "Small Events" clause also needed the qualifying conditions of the entertainment being unamplified and ending before 11.30pm - are these still relevant ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 May 04 - 10:38 AM

3) Correct. However, there is no mention of small events in the Act. The relaxation is with regard to events in small premises, i.e. those with a total capacity of fewer than 200 people. Essentially, licencing by its very nature occurs before the event (if it occurred after the event it would be essentially taxation). Hence, it is impossible to know what the attendance will be beyond the reasonable assumption that it wil be no greater than the premises capacity.

For all practical purposes it is probably as well for us to ignore this red herring or 'catch 22'. The relaxation (if it can be referred to as this) is only to the conditions that can be place on the entertainment permission. This permission first has to be applied for, and granted. The so-called relaxation (to the conditions) only applies where the maximum permitted capacity is 200 people and the only way to obtain an official set safe maximum capacity figure, is to apply for the entertainment permission.

Premises (usually) now only have this safe capacity set (by the LA) when they apply for entertainment permission in the form of a PEL, and the-powers-that-be, wished this to continue. Premises not applying for the additional entertainment permission, will not automatically get a safe capacity set as part of their basic Premises Licence but the price will be the same as if they had applied for this.

I fear that they will have to pay again if they later wish to chamge the terms of their Premises Licence and apply for emtertainment permission.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 May 04 - 10:54 AM

Now for the caveats. There is only an informal indication of the licence fees so far. They are banded on premises rateable value and are very much lower than the current entertainment licencing fees. I have no idea how they compare with the more relevant current fees for justices licences (for alcohol sales).

You are comparing apples with oranges here and of course a cafe not serving alchol but wishing to provide any live music, will have to first pay for a Premises Licence.

Certainly many places currently paying for a PEL will be better off. However, many small pubs, not currently providing any entertainment nor wishing to provide any under the new Act, will be paying a lot more than they are are present, just to stand still.

They will now have to pay for a personal licence every ten years.
The Premises Licence, for the life of the current business (in its current form).
And an annual inspection charge.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 17 May 04 - 11:37 AM

For all practical purposes it is probably as well for us to ignore this red herring or 'catch 22'. The relaxation (if it can be referred to as this) is only to the conditions that can be place on the entertainment permission. This permission first has to be applied for, and granted. The so-called relaxation (to the conditions) only applies where the maximum permitted capacity is 200 people and the only way to obtain an official set safe maximum capacity figure, is to apply for the entertainment permission.

It might be interesting to know what sort of capacity an LA would rate the average small pub. I can think of quite a few where 200 people would pack them out - and quite a few of those host clubs, singarounds, and sessions. The one useful thing that this "Catch 22" might provide is that no restriction could be placed on the number of days that entertainment could be provided. Greenwich council currently tend to base their charge for a PEL on the frequency of events - £400 for two nights a week, £1300 for seven.

The only problem is, would the councils be likely to try an impose the capacity limit at times when there was no entertainment ? This could deter landlords from applying for the entertainments provision.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 17 May 04 - 04:29 PM

Taking points from the last few postings in the order ini which they are made.

Yes. The fee for a licence is dependent only on the size of the premises probably as a rateable value band.

The "small" clause was always "small premises" but was mistakenly referred to as a small event clause in postings. It really is not a very significant consession and even then it is open to the LA to explicitly insist on some or all of the excepted conditions.

Turning to the second posting. Since the small premises exception only applies to premises that have included musical entertainment in their licencing application, there is no increase in the number of the cases where capacities have to be defined unless - as we must all hope - more premises seek licencing for entertainment. The Guidance states that permitted capacities are defined by the Fire Authority. If a permitted capacity already exists it transfers into the new regime. In other cases a premises licence holder is supposed to undertake a risk analysis to establish an appropriate capacity and then to submit it to the fire authority for confirmation. Present practice is for each room to have a permitted capacity. On that basis the small premises conditions should apply to every room that has an individual capacity of less than 200. How many folk events even at festivals are held in rooms with a capacity of more than 200? Consequently, it appears that most folk events will be able to "benefit" from the small premises relaxation.

Shambles next posting appears to be based on ignoring the fact that every building which sells alcohol already has to have a licence (at not insignificant cost) although that licence is currently handled by the licencing justices rather than the LA. The annual maintenance payment, which cannot result in any changes to the licence being instigated by the LA, will be far less than the regular reapplications to the justices for new licences.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 May 04 - 07:07 PM

No Richard this 'spin' really won't do.

Shambles next posting appears to be based on ignoring the fact that every building which sells alcohol already has to have a licence (at not insignificant cost) although that licence is currently handled by the licencing justices rather than the LA.

The actual cost of the current justice's licence is not really a significant cost at all. Perhaps you would like to inform us of the current figure?

The annual maintenance payment, which cannot result in any changes to the licence being instigated by the LA, will be far less than the regular reapplications to the justices for new licences.

Let us say £150 for this annual inspection charge and leave out the cost (for 10 years) of the personal licence and the cost of the Premises Licence (for the life of the current business). Not only is this alone more than the current justice's licence, it is more than many local authorities currently charge annually for their PELs.

There are some LAs currently charging a lot of money for their PELs, some in the many thousands of pounds. But most of the (rural) LAs actually set the figures very reasonably. For example.........

A cafe or coffee bar (not serving alcohol) in my borough that wished to obtain a PEL for live music would now pay £220 a year. Under the new Act they will have to pay for the Premises Licence (for the life of the current business there) and the annual inspection charge (whatever this figure turns out to be). They may also find themselves next door and in commpetion with a church or church hall also providing commercial entertainment.

The church would not need a Premises Licence and would be required to pay pay nothing at all. The church hall would need the Premises Licence and the annual inspection but would not be charged for either.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 18 May 04 - 10:07 AM

In other cases a premises licence holder is supposed to undertake a risk analysis to establish an appropriate capacity and then to submit it to the fire authority for confirmation.

This will presumably be at the landlord's expense - will all landlords ticking the "Entertainments Box", who have not previously had a PEL, be expected to pay extra for this.

I am trying to get facts sorted out, before I start trying to persuade landlords to apply for an entertainments provision when their new licensing application is made. Are they going to get the extra provision for free, or will there be extra hidden costs if they tick the box ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 May 04 - 01:03 PM

Are they going to get the extra provision for free, or will there be extra hidden costs if they tick the box ?

Well one thing is for sure, if they don't apply for entertainment permission - they will not be able to provide any.

As to getting anything for free, no they won't. The safe capacity aspect is just part of the application to provide entertainment and in order to get this, the licensee will have to pay for the Premises Licence (for the life of the current business), an annual inspection charge and a personal licence every ten years.

Nothing to do with the Licnsing Act but there is also the matter of PRS licence fees. For the first time, PRS inspectors will have a list (kindly provide for them by the LA), of every pub that can legally provided lve music. Before there was no such list as some live music could take place without a PEL.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 May 04 - 03:17 PM

"Perhaps it might be a nice idea to have folk in many non-pub venues, but you could have a problem getting many folkies there"

Myself, I'll go anywhere where there's music. When I'm sitting in a coffee bar I'll happily drink coffee, and I won't grumble if it doesn't sell beer. I'd be glad to have a chance to take part in a song or tune session in a bookshop, for example, and maybe I'd drop into a pub before and after. It's silly to limit in advance, in the way you imply, and wrong that the law should effectively force us to do so.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 18 May 04 - 05:56 PM

Shambles,

If I knew the cost of a justices licence, I would indeed tell you, but I see no point in inventing figures to create an argument.

It is easy to invent high fees for new licences and then demonstrate that they are high. Unfortunately the fees are still the subject of consultation. However, the Secretary of State has given an indication of her present expectations which are typically a third of the figures that you postulate. Your argument falls completely if the Sec of State sticks with her figures.

On your other posting: I would certainly agree if you argued that the PRS is ineffective and inequitable in its support for the minor song writers. However, the songsmith is worthy of the few coppers that the PRS typically recover when his song is performed. I am ashamed to think that any folkie would take a stand on behalf of evaders of the PRS levies.

Richard

My understanding is that at present Fire Service inspections do not incur a fee and that the situation will not change. However, I could be wrong. Certainly there is nothing in the act which explicitly authorises the Fire Service to charge a fee.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 May 04 - 02:05 AM

If I knew the cost of a justices licence, I would indeed tell you, but I see no point in inventing figures to create an argument.

Then perhaps we can both leave biased statements about the relative costs of the two systems until the true figures are known? The true figures for the current alcohol licence are known however. and as you described them as 'not insignificant', we should expect you to know
and be able to tell us.

Perhaps you can tell us, what is the Secretary of States's latest figure for the inspection charge? The figure I gave was certainly in the range of figures that the DCMS have expressed for this element.

On your other posting: I would certainly agree if you argued that the PRS is ineffective and inequitable in its support for the minor song writers. However, the songsmith is worthy of the few coppers that the PRS typically recover when his song is performed. I am ashamed to think that any folkie would take a stand on behalf of evaders of the PRS levies.

I would be ashamed to think that any folkie would try so very hard to convince others that this new Licensing Act is anything other than a disaster and would try to minimise the financial aspects of it. Not that I am accusing anyone....

Nothing that I said in my post that suggested any support for evaders of anything. It was simply making the point that PRS inspectors had to work harder than they will have to find venues providing live music and it was in response to a question about possible hidden costs under the new Act.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 19 May 04 - 04:51 AM

However, the songsmith is worthy of the few coppers that the PRS typically recover when his song is performed. I am ashamed to think that any folkie would take a stand on behalf of evaders of the PRS levies.

Investigation by the EFDSS some years ago proved that PRS returns for all but the largest venues - many festival concerts would not even qualify, are basically chucked in the bin. The PRS fees from all the smaller venues are apportioned as per the returns from the large venues. This would mean that if I make a return for singing a Cyril Tawney song in a folk club, the fee would quite likely go to S Club 7.
If I were to sing a traditional version of Scarborough Fair in a large venue, Paul Simon would get the return. PRS provides very little benefit to any folk authors.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 19 May 04 - 07:55 PM

The fact that the PRS is fine in theory but a total failure in practice is a strong argument for the reform of the performing rights operation but not a justification for undermining it. This is way outside the scope of the Licencing Act. We should not have opened up that can of worms here. If there is any benefit to be gained by a mudcat discussion a new thread should be opened. Let's stop discussing it here.

RichardP


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 May 04 - 02:12 AM

I simply pointed out that it exsisted, in reply to a question about any possible 'hidden' cost arising from applying for the entertainment permission. A new licensee who had accepted the Government's claim that it would not cost any extra to provide entertainment under the Act, may be a little upset to find that they have to further pay for a PRS licence.

Any judgement on the PRS licence was started by you Richard. And as you did start this, perhaps one more thing needs to be added to Dave's comments in this thread, before we move back to the Act.

A session of tradiditional, original or other non-copyright material would not be liable for any payment to PRS and it would be incorrect for them to do so. But the default position held is that all live music venues must pay and the onus is one you to prove that the material in not under copyright.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 20 May 04 - 05:11 AM

I agree that the PRS consideration is another issue. What I want to know is what extra costs and charges is a publican likely to face (on top of the basic licencing costs) if he/she ticks the entertainments box ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 20 May 04 - 05:13 AM

I have just discovered that the Guidance will be debated by the appropriate commons committee next Wednesday. This will be a 90 minute meeting of about 10 MPs. On past form this is likely to consist of three lengthy speeches from a minister and spokesmen for the Tory and Lib Dem parties followed by a formal motion that the document has been debated. Following this there the normal process would be a formal non-debateabe motion in the commons to approve the document.

There is a comparable process in the Lords but I cannot find what stage they have reached through the Web. This menas that we are very close to the start of the approximately six month period for Local Authorities to develop and publish their policy documents.

RichardP


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 May 04 - 07:06 AM

3 quick things

an existing Justice Licence is £30 for 3 years but the PEL is separate, local authority and expensive.

In the paper yesterday there were concerns about entertainment Licenses for circuses at $500 per sight would do away with 90% - government reviewing

Tony Blair is suddently alarmed about binge drinking (shades of Euan). Making a speach today at a lunch hosted by a well known brewery. Me thinks Tony is organising the piss up there!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 20 May 04 - 07:20 AM

Me thinks Tony is organising the piss up there!

I thought by now that we'd all realised that a task like that would be beyond his capabilities !


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Amos
Date: 20 May 04 - 02:06 PM

Huh!! These Tories never rest, do they?


A


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 May 04 - 01:10 PM

The following link is to a thread that is not about the new Act but the problems presented to sessions by the current legislation. It does however show some of difficulties presented when local authorities do take an unhelpful approach under licensing legislation.

Palm sesh update

Perhaps the lesson of this is for us to work locally and ensure the new Act does support us, rather than waiting until it is too late?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 24 May 04 - 12:35 PM

I have recently been thorugh some of the debates on the Act. There were several amendments proposed for a "small events" exemption, but they were always defeated, sometimes because the case for them was not accepted and sometimes because they were technically inappropriate (i.e. badly written). In the end the "small premises" exception was written into the Act, primarily on the basis that small premises can only host small events but in large premises you cannot know whether an event will be large or small until the audience arrives.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 May 04 - 02:19 PM

In the end the "small premises" exception was written into the Act, primarily on the basis that small premises can only host small events but in large premises you cannot know whether an event will be large or small until the audience arrives.

It is quite wrong to still refer to this as an 'exemption' The impression is then wrongly given that this is an exemption to the licensing requirement, along with those for Churches and Morris etc.

When of course, it is no such thing, is it?


Have you any comment Richard, on the 'significant' current cost of the Justice's Licence that was provided?

an existing Justice Licence is £30 for 3 years but the PEL is separate, local authority and expensive.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 24 May 04 - 08:15 PM

The cost of a Justice Licence, a PEL or a new premises licence must not be confused with the price of the licence. There may be other elements within the total cost. For instance there are many cases where the cost of structural works required by a PEL are greater than the face value of the licence. This is frequently the case in the more rural authorities which make relatively lower charges for PELs. The other main elelment in the cost is the cost of internal staff or professional advisers in making the preparations and submissions for the licence (whichever it is).

I am not privy to the fees aid by any applicant for any licence. The research undertaken by the DCMS showed them to be considerably higher than the face value of the licences that are currently issued (again I assume with the possible exception of the most expensive PELs.).

I wonder if anyone knows the actual cost of any current licence since there are bound to be some internal staff costs which are not charged directly against the licence application.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 May 04 - 02:37 AM

Richard I have no idea what licenses you refer to and when, or what you are saying here. I rather suspect the reason for this is that you do not know either. The end result, I fear is that many folk will become as confused as you are.

Basing your argument on DCMS research and figures is possibly the cause of your confusion. You tend to accept their statements, and then assume there is, or struggle to try and find some justification for this 'spin'.

The cost of the current Justice's Licence (to serve alcohol) is as stated (for a 3 year period). That is the total current (licensing) cost of running a pub, (without any licensable entertainment, and the payment for the additional PEL required for this).

Perhaps you can tell us what the new (total) licensing) figure for the 3 new elements will be under the Act, for a small pub to be able to do exactly the same thing?

Perhaps you can then compare for us, the 3 new elements, the cost of the Premises Licence (for the life of the current business), the Personal Licence (every 10 years) and the annual inspection charge, with the cost of the current Justice's Licence (quoted above)?

I think you would agree that the is the basic starting point for any comparisons, between the true cost of the old and the new licencing?

My point is simply that it is clear that under the new Act, all licensees will be paying more, just to stand still.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 25 May 04 - 03:45 AM

Shambles,

Since the fees under the new act are not fixed, noone can yet carry out the calculation you request at this stage.

My fundamental point still stands. The cost of licencing under both regimes comprises two elements. The face cost of the licences plus the other costs incurred in obtaining/renewing the licences. Neither you nor I would appear to be able to put a value on the second factor for either regime. Neither you nor I yet know the ocst of licences under the new regime, because there is only speculation available at present - some speculation may be better informed than other but it is still speculation.

Consequently, noone can compare the real cost of the two regimes at this stage. We cannot take ministerial projections as gospel, but equally we should not discount them as ridiculous until there is factual information to support either of the positions. This just does not exist at present.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 25 May 04 - 03:49 AM

I have just seen that the House of Lords Debate on the Guidance is scheduled for Tuesday 8th June, so there is a strong likelihood that the final step prior to the approximately six month period for Local Authorities to publish and consult on their licencing policies will commence in June and end round about the end of the year.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 25 May 04 - 04:54 AM

If as seems very likely, different councils are going to submit policies which differ considerably, who is going to try and fix some sort of standard rules. I think that many councils who think that the new system will cost them a fair amount to operate, and who are worried about the possible loss of lucrative PEL income, will drag their heels, by deliberately submitting unacceptable policies.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 27 May 04 - 09:39 AM

Dave,

They do not have to submit their draft policies anywhere other than to comment by local organisations and citizens. In the end they will adopt them and then issue licences in accordance with them. Ultimately, if the policies are contrary to the act, their decisions will can be the subject of appeals to the local magistrates court. Bad or incompetent policy drawing will be bad for the local authority area but will not delay their conversion to the new system by a single day.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 27 May 04 - 10:07 AM

To keep people up to date. The guidance was approved by the Commons Committee yesterday. The committee was not empowered to amend the guidance. There will be a motion for the House of Commons to approve the Guidance in the near future. This will not be the subject of a debate.

The guidance has completed its committee processes in the Lords and is scheduld for final debate on June 8th. In addition to the motion for approval there is a Conservative motion regretting that the fees have not yet been set by separate regulations.

In reaction to some concerns expressed by local autorities about the difficulty of the initial applications for licences occuring in the runup nto Christmas, the Minister has indicated that the first appointed day may be delayed to January 5th, which would reuslt in the new licences coming into force in October next year.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 May 04 - 10:12 AM

I saw that Paliament was to discuss the Licensing Act Guidance on Wednesday but I can see nothing on the site that tells us what was said.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 May 04 - 11:32 AM

I found it!

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmstand/deleg4/st040526/40526s01.htm


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 May 04 - 11:47 AM

This snippet (from the opposition) may be of interest - but then again........

That is another example of concern about potential legal problems. The message is clear; the guidance does not give local authorities the authority in local licensing for which we have long argued. It is also extremely unclear.

There has been a lot of debate, and there are various issues that we could all raise. The hon. Gentleman talked about golf clubs. I shall cite the example of circuses, since it is has not been mentioned before. For your delectation, Mr. Olner, and to show how confused these matters are, I shall quote a small interchange that occurred in another place. My noble Friend the Lord Redesdale, asked the Minister, Lord McIntosh of Haringey:

''would circuses actually need a licence if they did not perform any live music? If they avoided live music, the circus could take place quite happily without regulation. Is that not a bizarre aspect of the Act?''

He received an inordinately helpful reply from the Minister, who said:

''I wish I could answer that simply, but I cannot. Music—incidental, live or whatever—is one of the issues, but there are also questions about whether the activities fall into the category of sports events—for example, those of trapeze artists. It sounds daft to the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, and it sounds daft to me.''—[Official Report, House of Lords, 16 March 2004; Vol. 659, c. 126.] That was said by the Minister in another place with responsibility for the very matters that we are discussing today.

The question of incidental music should have been resolved during consideration of the Bill, yet uncertainties remain. The Minister will be well aware of the letter that he received from the hon. Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Glenda Jackson), in which she asked if a restaurant with a piano in the corner would lose its incidental music status and require a licence as an entertainment facility.

Anyone who has read the Minister's reply will know that a great deal still needs to be done to clarify the guidance. I hope that the Minister will, if nothing else, clearly explain whether or not a small restaurant with a piano in the corner needs a licence. I am sure that he has a nice, simple answer—simpler than the one that he gave the hon. Lady.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 05:51 AM

The Guidance was approved by the House of Lords last night, having previously been approved by the House of Commons. There was a vote in the Commons Committee on strict party lines, so it was carried. There was no vote against in either main chamber, although there was a vote in the Lords on second proposal regretting that the fees were not published before the Guidance approval vote was held. This was lost.

We are now in the phase where it is necessary for Local Authorities to prepare and consult on their Licencing Policy Documents. This period has to last at least six months so could end during December, however it was stated in the Commons Committee that Local Authorities were very concerned at the thought of a sudden ruch of applications for licences just before they had a christmas break. As a consequence the minister indicated that the first appointed day, when appplications for licences can first be submitted, would be likely to be delayed to early January next year.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 03:41 PM

The Lord's 8 June 2004 deliberations can been read in full here.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199900/ldhansrd/pdvn/lds04/text/40608-23.htm#40608-23_dl0


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:43 PM

Makes you want to spit when the Lord McKintosh of Haringey openly admits:-

A number of noble Lords raised the issue of live music. I am very sympathetic to their views. I agree with everything that the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, said about the social and cultural value of live music.
If we look closely at the guidance, we will see changes which I would have wished to make to the Bill if it been entirely up to me. I invite noble Lords to look at paragraph 5.18 and other paragraphs about the definitions of live and incidental music. For the first time, the issue of the volume of the music is introduced into the guidance. I wish that we had done that in the Bill, but we did not. But it is right that for the protection both of musicians and those living near the place where the music is performed there should be reference to the decibel count, as well as to the issue of whether the music is live, recorded, incidental or central—if that is the opposite of incidental. These are steps forward from the provisions of the Bill and are well worth while


They still can't say what 'incidental' is can they.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 07:45 PM

This really is beyond belief. Mostly to see daft LIB DEM peers like Lord Redsdale, still making futile arguments after having been in a position to throw this rubbish out. They argued against the Bill then, but still voted with the Government!!!

Whatever the Government now say in the guidence, but do not say in the Act - will just leave us in same postion we are in now. Of leaving it for the courts to argue establish most of the vital details that affect the licensing of live music.

In reality this means that the enforcers i.e. the local authority will continue do and define these details as they wish and anyone who disagrees will have to go to court to try and prove their interpretation correct in law........As now.

Did anyone see Sunday's Pamorama, about the Licensing Act?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 08:00 AM

The follwing from Hamish Birchall, to the Noble Lord Macintosh of Haringay.

Sir

I refer to your comments during last Tuesday's draft Licensing Guidance debate in response to questions raised about live music by Baroness Buscombe, Lord Colwyn, and Lord Redesdale. It would be nice if, for once, flashes of honesty emerged from the clouds of patronising guff you have produced about live music and this legislation.

Lord Colwyn rightly drew attention to the greatly increased reach of entertainment licensing under the Licensing Act 2003, and inconsistencies in the rationale for licensing control. But you airily dismissed this, implying that such matters were largely irrelevant to the Guidance being debated.

But of course such matters are relevant to the Guidance. The Guidance explicitly includes a reference to it being 'for the benefit of ... the general public' (para 1.4). They need to know whether or not an entertainment which they may be planning would be illegal unless licensed. In addition, they are entitled to know the reasons for increased regulation. Where better to seek explanations but in the Licensing Guidance, and where better for this to be explained but right at the start?

You talked with apparent regret, with reference to the volume of music, about improvements that might have been made to the incidental music exemption. But you talked as if ignorant of the fact that the Act allows the DCMS Secretary of State to add, vary or remove descriptions of entertainment within the entertainment Schedule (Sch. 1, para 4). If you are really so concerned to improve the Act, why don't you press the Secretary of State to take steps now to include a reference to the volume of music?

In fact, interpreting the incidental exemption has been further confused by licensing minister Richard Caborn. In recent correspondence with my MP he introduced a new criterion that may disapply the exemption, namely the 'regularity' of a performance. Regularity is not discussed in para 5.18 of the Guidance. Caborn's position also leads to a contradiction: while jukeboxes will not, apparently, count as 'entertainment facilities', a piano will. Thus regular performances on a piano in a restaurant at moderate volume would disapply the incidental exemption, but regular playing of the jukebox at moderate volume would be exempt. So much for the equal treatment of live and recorded music.

If you really understood music you would understand that decibels are not a reliable measure of volume since they do not discriminate effectively between the energy of bass and treble frequencies. Low notes that may not register significantly on a decibel meter can travel far further into neighbouring premises than high notes exceeding a decibel limit.

Lastly, imagine what would happen if a pub floor collapsed under the weight of enthusiastic customers watching a big match.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: DMcG
Date: 10 Jul 04 - 02:48 AM

I received this this morning from the DCMS:

======
Thank you for your e-mail of 6 July in which you asked whether the provision of live music alone (i.e. in premises where alcohol is not being sold) would be more expensive under the Licensing Act 2003.

[Paragraph explaining PELs no longer exist]

[Paragraph saying fee structure not yet defined and conditions relate to four licencing objectives]

As you have not provided enough detail as to the type of venue or scenario you are concerned about I am unable to provide specific information that would help you.


======

I'm glad that's all cleared up, then.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 10 Jul 04 - 07:16 PM

I note from the DCMS website that the Guidance Document has now been formally published, and so has started the period for Local Authorities to draft, consulty on and publish their licencing policies. At the same time Tessa Jowell has laid a draft order in Parliament which fixes Feb 7th next year as the first appointed day. So Local Authorities will start to process applications for licences on that day. The press release also indicates that the existing licences will be replaced by new licences in (approximately) November next year.

There is also an indication that the draft regulations, defining fees and the design of applicaton forms etc. will be pulished for public consultation during htis August.

There are now only two or three months to influence Local Authorities in their initial drafting of licencing policies since they have to publish them as drafts, collect local comments and revise them before they can approve a single application.

Don't delay. Contact your local authority to seek the opportunity to have an input into their drafting considerations now!!

RichardP


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: RichardP
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 12:43 PM

Those of you who recall the suggestions for pro-folk-music matters to be included in Council Licencing Policies may be interested to note the following email that I received from the Live Music Forum Secretariat today. It is a pity that it took almost a month to get an acknowledgement.

"Thank you for your email to the Live Music Forum and for your suggested contribution for inclusion in LAs Licensing policy statements. I am replying as part of the Forum's secretariat You may be aware that one of the areas the LMF is currently looking at is how best to encourage Licensing Authorities to include positive references to live music and other forms of regulated entertainment in their Licensing policy statements. They hope that Licensing Authorities will be able to use the opportunity provided by the new policies to emphasise the economic and cultural advantages of venues staging live music in particular. I know that your comments will be useful in informing this debate and will ensure that they are forwarded on."

Richard


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: ET
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 05:39 PM

This is the view of the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire on this wretched act.:-

Licence law reforms could be 'hell'

Britain has a reputation for a heavy drinking culture
The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police says he fears the legalisation of all-night drinking in the UK could become "my idea of hell".
Stephen Green told the BBC's Panorama programme that the deregulation of licensing laws which will take effect next year could lead to Britain's alcohol problem getting worse, not better.
The government argues that allowing pubs and bars to stay open longer will help curb the binge drinking blamed for an 11% rise in violent offences last year.
The proposals, announced in March but originally promised before the last election, could mean 24-hour drinking in some pubs.
Among the provisions in the updated Licensing Act 2003 is a plan to combine alcohol and entertainment licences into one single licence.
Local authorities will also get discretion to apply flexible opening hours, removing the power from magistrates who have been responsible for liquor licensing for 600 years.
Huge concern
The people who most need policing can't get it, because police officers... are being sucked into policing the Nottingham city centre
Chief Constable Steven Green
The move to extend opening hours is a matter of huge concern for Chief Constable Stephen Green.
"The risk period that we have to police will get longer. And therefore, the resource consequences will get greater. I don't see any great benefit to me as the police chief in that change.
"I think the idea that we can somehow sort of transform into a 24-hour café culture à la continental Europe isn't going to happen."
"I think what we're going to finish up with, if we're not careful, is a 24-hour version of what we've got now - and that is my idea of hell."
Too many bars
The Chief Constable also believes Nottingham cannot cope with any more bars. Last year he took the unusual step of personally opposing two licensing applications in the courts.
Chief Constable Green thinks that, in Nottingham at least, the increased number of bars in the city centre has led to police resources being pulled away from other areas at the weekends.
The square mile in the city now boasts a total of 356 bars.
He said: "I believe the people who most need policing can't get it, because police officers who should be on the outer city estates, on the inner city estates, in the suburbs, are being sucked out of those areas into policing the Nottingham city centre."
Another particular concern is price discounting. "A pound a drink, two for the price of one - this is just a blatant inducement to what is binge drinking."


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 11 May 05 - 07:25 AM

As I originally started this thread, it's seems about time to refresh it to see if anyone has any more to report.

From what I can see most LAs have decided that they're unlikely to make much money out of it after all and have been dragging their heels as much as possible.

Are the actual license application forms even available yet ? - the last time I spoke the landlord of the pub where we hold a singaround, he was still waiting to see one.


From what I can see, councils are hoping to go on charging for PELs under the old system for as long as possible.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 11 May 05 - 07:45 AM

We have been researching our local area (Maidstone), to see if we can find a larger venue for the club.

Surprise, surprise! Not one of the pubs that has hosted live music unlicensed under the old law, can tell us if they will have music, or when they will know. Of the few licensed venues, only the Greyhound is supporting folk music. Everywhere else things are at a total standstill.

We tried to tell them.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 11 May 05 - 08:17 AM

If we are to believe what we were originally told, all a pub has to do if they want entertainment is tick a specific box on the application form. As long as this is done at the first application, there should be no extra charge levied. The only reason a council can give for refusing an entertainments provision should be on the grounds of public order, ie they can't insist on building alterations.

On the other hand governments sometimes use "accidents" to force changes in the law - there was a classic one when Sunday lunchtime drinking hours were first increased (I certainly didn't complain).
Let's hope that the aforesaid box does appear on the application forms and that the rules haven't been changed.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Nick
Date: 11 May 05 - 08:35 AM

There was an article a few weeks ago in the York Evening Press on the lack of applications - and the effect that this could have later in the year. Most of the articles etc that have appeared have been very much centred round the binge-drinking/24 hour issues rather than the music side of things.

As an aside, I'm sure Samuel Smiths will have put in their applications with the 'Allow bugger-all that people enjoy' box ticked.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 11 May 05 - 08:52 AM

It's hard to make an application if the forms aren't available !


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 11 May 05 - 02:40 PM

I heard from one landlord in Soutwark that a local authority official told him that he could only reapply for the permissions currently held by the venue, anything else would have to be a second application (and a second fee). Total bollocks of course but misinformation like that will really screw things up.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 12 May 05 - 07:19 AM

It's exactly misinformation like that which we need to be on the look out for. It's hardly in any council's interest to encourage licensees to get something for free if they can persuade them to miss the first (free) application and then charge them for a subsequent one. My own coucil (Greenwich) has quite a lot of existing PEL income which it won't want to lose under the new scheme.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 May 05 - 07:24 AM

The deadline for applications is August 6th and the ew licenses will come into effect in November. The most important thing musicians and music fans can do now is encourage what used to be " 2 in a bar" or session pubs to tick the box for live music. There isn't so much of a worry about the PEL venues because they are likely to be more geared up for the live music option. The worry is that the "2 in a bars" will slip off the grid. very difficult to monitor as well because they won't necessarily appear in any data. All we can do is try to persuade music friendly landlords to go for the tick (whether or not they intend regular programmes).


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Nick
Date: 12 May 05 - 07:28 AM

Am I missing something obvious, Dave? The following link seems to have rather a lot of forms on it - York Licensing Forms

Could this be what people in the York area are (or are not) filling in?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 12 May 05 - 10:39 AM

A local licensee recently applied. A first meeting was held where he was confronted with many locals - with noise objections and officers supporting these complaints.

He was told - by the licensing manager - that if he did not accommodate these objectors at this stage - that he would lose the entire Premises Licence application and his livlihood at the next stage (i.e. the Licensing Committee).

Not surprisingly - he agreed not to insist on holding an outside charity event that had been running now for many years - in order to stay in business.

How will it work - well from my experience so far - pretty much the same as it did before.......


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 May 05 - 11:17 AM

Shambles, if you are inclined, you should send this case to Feargal Sharkey at the Live Music Forum (via DCMS web-site). The more we feedback these horror stories the more we can do stop them happening.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 May 05 - 01:55 PM

I too have been told, strictly on the qt, that some councils are planning to go the route of refusing the whole business application, if the music box is ticked for pubs where they (the council) don't want to allow live music.

Not surprising!

During the long fight against this law, we did suggest that the magistrates, with no monetary axe to grind, were still the best people to handle drinks licensing. As usual they didn't listen.

This whole thing has the makings of a typical government clusterf**k.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: early
Date: 12 May 05 - 02:21 PM

the experience we had this week with the leeds city council licensing people was probably typical - they cant even get their act together and still apply the old rules with a twist - two in a bar - not any two but the same two - effectively stoppong sigarounds and sessions, wierd or what?


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