Mudcat Café message #938077 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #58909   Message #938077
Posted By: The Shambles
22-Apr-03 - 06:59 PM
Thread Name: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
Subject: RE: UK Government to license Morris Dancing
"Unless the pub owner had made his application to host licensable entertainment at the same time as his application to sell alcohol"... which is free and requires no more than that the pub owner fills out the form correctly. Sorry, I don't hold too much sympathy for someone who lands themselves in the crap through their own incompetence.

I am sorry but if we are talking of incompetence, if the object is providing safe public premises, the question that must be first answered by our Government, and has yet to be, is why must all live music (except in any church), be risked by being licensed and subject to a (so-called) no cost OPTIONAL additional application?

I consider this to be incompetence, especially when only 5% of premises have currently applied for additional entertainment licensing permissions. And despite the cost of some of these being very high, it must be stressed that the vast majority of PEL fees, in most of the country are less than the cost of the proposed annual inspection charge of the new Premise Licence.

For this course runs the risk that the very thing the Department of Culture is set up to promote. Much of which is presenting no risk to anyone, and will not be able to take place, then or at some future date - if the premises do not choose to take up the entertainment option, on first application of the mandatory Premises Licence.

But if the application really was only a simple matter of ticking a box (which even Dr Howells is now qualifying by saying you will have to write a few sentences explaining the nature of the entertainment) and there was not the risk of councils demanding expensive alterations to provide music, why on earth should this permission be even be a requirement? And an OPTIONAL one, if the issue is safety?

As under the Bill, all premises (exept churches), will have to hold a Premises Licence and be inspected, why cannot ALL premises automatically be made safe for any music making? The premises can then choose not to exercise the option, or choose to exercise it at short notice at some future date, but the authorities will not then be able to ever claim that any premises will be made unsafe if one person should sing in them.

As the main safety concern associated with music making is over crowding - all premises could have a maximum safe capacity imposed on inspection for the Premises Licence first application, and the problem of not being able to hold music because an application was not made (incompetence or not), is very simply solved.

Schedule 1 of this Bill, the definitions of regulated entertainment i.e. what will be prevented without an additional licence, is just a simple and clumsy attempt to close all the loopholes which resulted in just a 5% take-up figure of the current PEL. If this licence alone really had ever ensured our safety etc, this may have been considered a laudable aim.

But no evidence has been presented to show that current and exempt live music making in many of the 95% of premises without PELs, has presented any risks that could not be dealt with by other exsisting legislation.

So the Government are simply prepared to gamble that more than 5% of premises will now willingly subject themselves to more council control and apply for the option to provide live music.

Be it incompetance or self preservation or whatever on behalf of licensees, if the majority of these premises do not choose to apply, and many are saying that they will not, then whatever judgements you may make, or lack of sympathy you may have - live music making is in big trouble. As the local authorities have shown the lengths they will go to in order to prevent any unlicensed entertainment.

Although due to a late change forced upon the Government, musicians taking part in unlicensed music making will not be criminals - organisers will now be.