Mudcat Café message #870672 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54636   Message #870672
Posted By: GUEST,More Lies
20-Jan-03 - 01:21 PM
Thread Name: Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs
Subject: RE: Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs
From Hamish Birtchell of MU
With Howells' allegation that the MU is leading objectors to the Licensing Bill in a 'pernicious lying campaign' ringing in everyone's ears, it is as well to bear in mind that on 17 July 2002 the minister gave an undertaking, during his broadcast interview with Mike Harding on BBC R2, that pub folk sessions would not be licensable 'if no money changes hands':

MH: Roger Gall has emailed us to say, and I quote, "When you introduce this new licensing system, if pubs don't have an entertainment licence, will sessions and singarounds be banned?"
KH: Yes, I suppose they would be. The landlord would need to get an entertainments licence to cover himself or herself .
MH: But this is not for gain, is it, you were talking about .
KH: Oh, I see, I am sorry, I'm sorry, I thought that you meant it would be professional musicians being paid.
MH: No, just sessions and singarounds, people just playing for their own fun.
KH: No, they certainly wouldn't and I'm very keen that we should make sure that that facility is there. There shouldn't be a problem. As long as money isn't changing hands, then there's no reason why they should have to have a licence...

Of course, now that the Bill has been published, it is clear that virtually all public performances are licensable, whether or not any money changes hands at all. In Colin Randall's Daily Telegraph piece (Sat 18 Jan), this is confirmed:

" Howells accepts that both the New Star singalongs, and the Dungworth carols, would be caught by the new legislation. As regular events, both sessions would have to be licensed."

The New Star, a pub in Weymouth, recently lost its regular informal folk session because the council enforced existing PEL legislation (the illegal session had been ignored for five years previously). As many of you already know, the British Institute of Innkeepers publishes guidance warning that 'encouraging community-style singing' is licensable. If the Licensing Bill is enacted without amendment, this guidance would continue to apply.