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Live Music

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 25 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures she is taking to increase the opportunities to hear live music in the UK in (a) pubs, (b) public halls and (c) public open spaces. [119479]

The Licensing Bill will provide a unified system for the regulation of licensable activities, removing the need for the current system of separate annually renewable, public entertainment licences. Under the Bill a pub, qualifying club, community hall or indeed any other premises applying for authorisation under a premises licence for the sale and supply of alcohol will be able to apply, at the same time, for authorisation under that licence for the provision of regulated entertainment, such as live music, without incurring an additional fee. Once granted, a premises licence will have effect until the licence is revoked or surrendered, but otherwise will not be time limited unless the applicant so requests. We believe that this unified system will open up more opportunities for live musical events.Also the Government have made plain their intention to exempt church halls, village halls and other community buildings from the fees associated with the provision of regulated entertainment, including live music. However, a fee will be payable if the applicant also seeks authorisation for the sale or supply of alcohol. We believe that these exemptions from the fees associated with the provision of regulated entertainment will also broaden the opportunities for live musical events.The Bill provides that a premises can be any place and live music or other regulated entertainment on public open spaces would be licensable, subject to satisfying the conditions in Schedule 1 to the Bill and any exemptions being relevant. We will, however, be encouraging local authorities to obtain premises licences authorising the provision of regulated entertainment for public open spaces, such as village greens, on which many performances take place. No additional licence would then need to be obtained by anyone wishing to provide regulated entertainment on premises covered by such a licence, although the consent of the local authority holding the licence would be required.All short-term small scale events, whether in a pub, public hall or public open space could also benefit from the more informal system of permitted temporary activities under the Bill, which would require a simple notification to the licensing authority and the police and a small fee of around £20. The Bill has been amended to increase the number of temporary event notices that can be given in respect of the same premises from five to 12, subject to a maximum number of 15 days for that premises during which permitted temporary activities may take place in a calendar year. The Bill has also been amended during its passage to increase the period permissible for any temporary event from 72 hours to 96 hours.