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Entertainments Licences

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what estimate she has made of the number of premises that will apply for an entertainments licence following passage of the Licensing Bill;[114132](2) what steps she is taking to increase the opportunities to hear live music in the UK;[114131](3) what representations she has received from musicians' organisations about the Licensing Bill. [114064]

DCMS has received a great deal of correspondence from organisations representing musicians and other performers about the Licensing Bill, most of whom have been concerned that it will restrict their activities. The vast majority of their concerns have been unfounded and based on a misinterpretation of the Bill's provisions. Where we believed that the Bill could be improved, however, we have listened to the concerns expressed to us and have made appropriate amendments, for instance by exempting places of public religious worship from the licensing regime as it relates to the provision of entertainment and entertainment facilities and by accepting the spirit of an amendment which exempts incidental live music in certain circumstances.Under the provisions of the Bill there will be no separate licence for the provision of regulated entertainment. Permission to carry on any of the activities licensable under the Bill will be covered by a single premises licence. It will cost no more to apply at the same time for a licence permitting the sale of alcohol and the provision of entertainment than it would to apply for one permitting the sale of alcohol only. I therefore believe that the Bill will make it more affordable than now for venues to put on live performance in the vast majority of cases and increase opportunities for musicians and other artists to perform.The Regulatory Impact Assessment that was published alongside the Licensing Bill states that just over 9,000 on-licensed premises and registered members clubs hold permanent public entertainment licences or certificates of suitability. An estimated 37,000 temporary public entertainment licences are also issued each year. The Government have made no estimate of the number of premises that will apply for permission to provide regulated entertainment under the new licensing regime. We expect, however, that the removal of the cost deterrent in applying for permission to provide such entertainment, along with the provision of a less bureaucratic system and measures to prevent unnecessary conditions being attached to licences by licensing authorities will encourage many more in respect of their premises to take the opportunity to provide public entertainment.