Monday 25 October 2010

Licensing reform ~ tortoise or snail?

The Green Man from the Southport
Swords and me in the Baron's Bar.
A few months ago, I signed a petition on the No. 10 website to urge "the Prime Minister to stop criminalising live music with the Licensing Act, and to support amendments backed by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, and the music industry, which would exempt most small-scale performances in schools, hospitals, restaurants and licensed premises."

Under the current Licensing Act, brought in by "New" Labour, a performance by one musician in a pub, bar, restaurant, school or hospital not licensed for live music could lead to a criminal prosecution of the event organiser. By contrast, amplified big screen broadcast entertainment is exempt. The reason given was noise levels, which is laughable when you compare the sound levels produced by unamplified musicians with the deafening racket caused by sport on a giant TV screen and the pub crowd watching it.

The reply just published is that the Coalition is committed to cutting red tape, to encourage live music and is keen to find the best way forward. A number of options are being considered and the Minister will make an announcement in due course. The full petition and response are here.

So, no further on since I last wrote about this on 28 July, when the government said they were looking into this matter "as quickly as possible". Now they say their response will be "in due course". As this rate, I expect the next announcement will say we'll get their proposals "in the fullness of time".


  1. Do I detect a bit of cynicism? :)

  2. The Coalition is obviously very busy with The Plan to Eliminate the Budget Deficit. The "fullness of time" might have something to do with the prospect of any revenue (or lack of) resulting from a change in the law. (Not to mention all those other bills that have to be pushed thru parliament.) But, hey, keep on pressing.

  3. I hope there is some change on this-- I find it really off-putting when pubs have a game on a big telly-- when it's a "big game" and the place is packed with screaming fans it creates a very intimidating atmosphere. This has never been the case with live music which actually seems to put everyone into good neighborly spirits, at least that was the case the few rare times I've been able to catch some acoustic music at a pub.

  4. My thoughts precisely. A lot of the sports fans who go to see matches in pubs are not regular pub goers anyway, and can't be relied upon for the steady trade that a pub needs.


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