Mudcat Café message #848271 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54636   Message #848271
Posted By: The Shambles
16-Dec-02 - 01:29 PM
Thread Name: Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs
Subject: RE: Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs
This is a terrible thing to try to read Roger! Do you have a view about which sections are significant and how the argument is going please

A few edited highlights follow, mainly in the words of Government answers, from the above Licensing Bill debate 12 December. I have selectively edited out of order and have made no attempt whatsoever to be fair. Lord Redesdale btw, is on our side.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The provisions of Schedule 1 do not attempt to discriminate in any way between one kind of music and another, or indeed, to discriminate between one kind of entertainment and another except in the sense that we are concerned with its effect.

But then later on

Recorded music can be quiet and cause few problems to anyone. Live music, on the other hand, can be extremely loud and offensive to some people. Anyone who has been to the Wembley Arena or to the Glastonbury Festival surely would not say that they, being live music, should be exempt from the licensing procedures. Indeed—I hope the Committee will not mind my saying so—anyone who has been to a State banquet will have heard the bagpipers going around the table twice very loudly indeed. That is all right in St George's Hall and in Buckingham Palace, but it would not be much fun if one lived next door.

What we are concerned with is the public safety and avoidance of public nuisance aspects.

Lord Redesdale: I apologise. But there seems to be a theme to some of the Minister's answers that any live music will bring about disorder. I know that some of the original regulations about live music were brought in because it caused disorder in the 16th and 17th centuries. Some of the noble Lord's comments indicate that live music is a cause of disorder and of public nuisance. I did not wish to speak to this amendment but the noble Lord's comments have forced me to. Can the Minister tell us what evidence he has for the assertion that he makes?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I have made no such assertion. I am saying that there is no distinction to be made, from the point of view of public safety or public nuisance, between live and recorded music. To single out live music for the purpose of the amendment is to misunderstand both the purpose of the Bill in the way it is drafted and the effect that it has.

And of course the musical dangers presented by the dreaded pop and rock concerts, shaking the very foundations of our schools.

Baroness Blackstone:
The noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, referred to the possibility of a teacher or head teacher standing in front of a very large group of 500 or even 1,000 children and possibly having amplification.
That teacher or head teacher is clearly not there for the purposes of entertainment—although some of the pupils might find what he or she has to say entertaining, or might seek to find it entertaining—but for the purpose of instruction. I can again assure the House that entertainment provided without charge for pupils, their parents and other invited guests is not a licensable activity. It is a private event to which the public are not admitted and no charges are made.

However, it would probably be wrong to go further and exempt automatically schools, colleges and universities which stage public and commercial concerts.

They sometimes stage extremely large pop and rock concerts where public disorder can take place.

The public safety implications of such concerts in terms of very loud noise and disturbance are no different from other commercial concerts. I hope that the Committee will accept that point. Some schools put on first-rate commercial performances—sometimes with professional orchestras—but the safety of the public must be our first concern.

But strangely suggest a different approach on crowds attracted to the showing live TV sport in pubs.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: This is a deregulatory Bill and Amendment No. 17 would increase regulation. We have listed several types of entertainment and are providing regulation for those. But these entertainments in themselves are noisy or could constitute public nuisance.

Everyone has television in their own home. It cannot be turned up beyond a certain level without it becoming impossible to hear. We are regulating where we have to; namely, for noisy entertainments, late-night refreshment, fire safety grounds, and so forth.

But the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, and the noble Lord, Redesdale, are saying that the very showing of television—especially the showing of football matches—could give rise to disorder, particularly where alcohol is being sold. I do not deny that.

But the solution is not licensing the showing of television. Televisions are on in the background in pubs all the time, I am sorry to say—with the admirable and notable exception of JD Wetherspoon, which is not the brewery of the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson—and we would not want to license them merely because on occasion football is shown and may give rise to disorder.

The solution to disorder arising from the showing of television is by imposing conditions on alcohol licences, not by increasing the regulation of the showing of television itself.

TV of course already needs a licence - And

I repeat our strong belief that the correct way to deal with this issue is by placing conditions on a licence and ensuring that if a licensee permits disorder and noise nuisance on his premises he will face a review of his licence, and it will therefore be in his interests to maintain an orderly public house. However, in view of what ACPO has stated, we shall talk to it again about this matter. I believe that there is a misunderstanding here.

I think that I understand alright - And then back again on sporting matters.

Lord Davies of Oldham: -
We believe that the events should continue to be licensed because only regulation through such a system can ensure public safety and prevent public nuisance and crime and disorder. To exclude indoor sporting events without proper justification would lead to serious problems.-


No. We are concerned with events that generate a significant audience involving public safety and health and different from the normal licensing operation governing the pub.

On another issue.

Lord Redesdale: I apologise to the Minister for interrupting at this point. I have a particular question that he may be able to answer now. If a dance floor is already in a venue but is not used for that purpose, does the physical presence of the dance floor mean that an official could say that the premises must be licensed, or does the dance floor have to be removed?

That question has been raised by the industry, because the financial provision of pubs will be affected. What is a dance floor?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I come to the third part of the argument, because we need to consider the matter as a whole. I refer to the availability of licences. One is not going to have a dance floor in a nightclub unless one is proposing to dance, and one is not going to dance except to music—at least, not in my experience.

Any licensed premises, such as a nightclub or pub, which is selling alcohol, is going to have an alcohol licence to start with. At the same time as applying for its alcohol licence, and at no extra charge, it will be able to apply for an entertainment licence.

As I have made clear, the judgment on the entertainment licence will not be made on the basis that the music is live or recorded, or amplified or not amplified.

It will be made on whether an audience is present that needs to be protected on the grounds of public safety, and whether protection is needed for those who live around.

The conditions that will be applied to the licence relate not to whether it is live or recorded or amplified or not amplified but to whether health and safety and public safety requirements are met by the premises and by the emission of noise and other disturbance from the premises.

In other words, they could be controlled in terms of the numbers of decibels, such as a requirement for a lower level of noise later at night. All those matters can be dealt with in the conditions of the individual licence.

This will give a little of the flavour of the difficulties the Government's side are having, in trying to maintain any logical basis for their measures. ……….There is more.