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UK Music calls on industry to respond to government’s licensing review

By | Published on Tuesday 22 November 2011

UK Music

Cross sector trade body UK Music is calling on players from across the music industry to contribute to a previously reported government consultation on proposals to deregulate elements of the 2003 Licensing Act, proposals which could greatly reduce the bureaucratic strain on live music promoters, especially at the grass roots end of the market.

Tourism & Heritage Minister John Penrose announced the consultation back in September. It follows years of campaigning by both UK Music and the grass roots live music sector which argues that the 2003 Act put too much red tape in place for promoters of small gigs, making it harder for small venues to stage live music, and therefore reducing the opportunities for grass roots artists to play live.

It’s not the first consultation on the issue, and a Private Members Bill drafted by Liberal Lord Tim Clement-Jones is already working its way through parliament addressing many of the live industry’s concerns (it’s been slow progress mind, interrupted by the 2010 General Election, and never enjoying the prioritisation that official government parliamentary proposals would get). But the government’s latest consultation on live entertainment licensing, which actually looks into proposals more radical than those included in Clement-Jones’ bill, could supersede his legislation and become law much sooner.

With that in mind, and with some groups – especially local councils – known to be opposed to some of the proposals being considered by the consultation, UK Music wants as many music industry groups to contribute to the review as possible before the deadline for submissions on 3 Dec. More details about the consultation and how to respond, plus some template response letters should they be required, are online here.

Speaking to CMU about the consultation, UK Music’s acting CEO Jo Dipple said: “These proposed changes would exempt any event under a 5000 capacity from the need to obtain an entertainment licence – a huge improvement on the current situation, where any public performance of live music requires local authority permission. UK Music supports the proposals and will submit a detailed response to DCMS. However, it is very important that government is made aware of the depth of feeling in the industry – and particularly from the artists, composers and musicians who are so adversely impacted by the current legislation”.

Meanwhile Musicians’ Union General Secretary John Smith backed Dipple’s statement on the importance of the consultation, telling CMU: “We welcome this consultation and the government’s intention to cut red tape for live music. At the very least, we hope that the result will be to implement an exemption for small venues putting on live music with fewer than 200 people in attendance, which we have been lobbying on for many years now. The MU has asked its members to write in to DCMS in support of these proposals, which will do a lot to encourage live music performance in this country”.