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PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.

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Subject: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 10:25 AM

The following from the BBC Folk and acoustic website.

re: Dr Howells on Mike Harding show?

This from BBC Radio 2 Folk and Acoustic website.

Mel McClellan - HOST - 268th post - 17 Jun 2002 11:53

Yep, Dr H has indeed agreed to speak out on the MH Show, though 25th June is the date of the interview, and it'll be aired sometime after that - I'll publish the date here when it's set and probably put an item on the website's news page.

Any questions you would like our Mike to ask Dr Howells? Not much time to get them to him, if there is.

Mike Harding
E-mail Address(es):
mike.harding@bbc.co.uk
mike.harding@bbc.co.uk


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: pavane
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 10:42 AM

What would be the harm in exempting ALL acoustic music, song and dance from licencing restrictions? (except bagpipes, maybe). That would make the rules easier to interpret.

(The Health and Safety grounds for PELs have long been exposed as meaningless.)


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Grab
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 02:03 PM

A replacement blue clicky which works: mike.harding@bbc.co.uk.

Just sent:-

Dear Mr Harding,

As a regular listener to your programme, and a regular player at amateur folk clubs in my area, please could you ask Dr Howells the following questions when you interview him? Or combine them with any of the many questions you'll doubtless be getting from folk musicians about the Public Entertainment License! :-)

The proposed new licensing system (as explained in a letter to a friend by Ronnie Bridgett, a colleague of yours), of a flat fee for a license to sell alcohol and/or provide various forms of entertainment such as music, seems to make some sense. However, is there any reason why free entertainment, ie. entertainment for which there's no entry fee to the pub/venue, requires licensing at all? If this was made exempt, then amateurs performing on "open-stage nights" would not require any further approval, and nor would other free entertainment such as a string quartet playing in a restaurant for the benefit of diners, or a wide-screen TV set up for sports fans. And please confirm that pubs will be given a chance to change their existing licenses to cover whatever new permissions they need, without incurring an extra cost on top of the licensing fee which they've already paid?

Please can you also confirm that guidelines on the enforcement of the new licensing system will be provided both to council officers and to the general public, so that we all know what to expect? One of the bug-bears of the current system is the overly-harsh enforcement of the rules by council officers which is not consistent with how your Department says the rules should be implemented.

Best regards,

Graham Bartlett (Cambridge).


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 02:15 PM

Watch it Pavan Their are Pipers everyware


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 07:01 PM

Here is mine:

Dear Mike Harding ,

I hear (via the Mudcat Cafe - http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=48650) that on 25th June you are to have Kim Howells on your show, presumably to explain what it is he has against Somerset folk singers in pub. And, far more important I hope, to explain why he is proposing to abolish rather than relax the present exemption that means that it is legal for two people in a bar to sing or make music.

The central thing is to get a definition of what counts as a performance. Current case law goes back to the 18th century. At present it appears that a single individual singing a song or playing an instrument in any place open to the public counts as a "performer", regardless of whether they are being paid anything. The only exception to this - apart from church services and in certain circumstances fetes - has been the two-in-a-bar rule, which is now to be abolished.

I have even read a letter from someone in Dr Howells department which appears to means that under the proposed "reform" it will count as "a performance for reward" even if there is no payment - if for example a proprietor has allowed someone to sing or play, in the hope that this might result in more beer, or if a musician or singer is bought a drink by a fellow customer who liked what they heard - or even to shut them up.

More beer, or more coffee, since the PEL requirements do not just apply to pubs, but also to coffee bars etc. It would be impossible for anything comparable to the Skiffle Group phenomenon in Coffee Bars to happen these days, because coffee bars or their equivalent do hardly ever have licences that would permit anyone to make any kind of music.

I suggest that Dr Howells may say (if he gets past the stage of just making jokes about the Wurzles) that of course the law is not interpreted in an unreasonable way, and that in any case the reforms will take care of little local difficulties.

So how about this:
Within the last year within a few miles of where I live in Essex, two flourishing music sessions in pubs in different local authorities, in different counties, have been stopped, solely because of the PEL regulations. One involved bluegrass music, one involved English traditional music. In both cases nobody was being paid to perform, no amplification was involved, and the pubs were no more crowded than they might be on any night. It was just that the publican allowed musicians to meet together and play tunes and sing songs. But the pubs hadn't got a licence to cover music, and the music didn't fall within the two-in-a-bar limit. So the sessions in The Welsh Harp in Waltham Abbey and the Cock in Stansted Mountfitchet have been snuffed out.

And if the two in bar rule is just abolished it will mean the death of other sessions where friendly landlords and sensible local authorities don't bother about counting how many people are taking part in a session.

The bottom line is that I believe that I have a right to make music with friends, so long as we aren't causing a nuisance or danger, without there having to be a licence allowing me to do it. I think it is the duty of Kim Howells to ensure that the law is reformed so as to respect that right, which is as fundamental as the right to free speech, and I'd like to hear him say he agrees with that, and intends to ensure that the law in England and Wales no longer sets out to interfere with that right.

To ensure in fact that we in England and Wales fall in line with other places in the British Isles (for example) which have a more civilized approach to such matters, such as Ireland (both parts), Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Kevin McGrath


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 07:57 PM

As this minister is also responsible for promoting tourism, some questions/opinions from those outside the UK, to Mike Harding to ask him, would be very helpful too..........

I an sorry to keep asking, but letters and questions from those Mudcatters outside the UK have certainly helped to focus minds and bring welcome publicity, in the past.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: pavane
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 03:18 AM

Guest, that must be a record. Three spelling mistakes in seven words.

I like the idea of everyware, though. Maybe it is software that runs on any hardware? About time too.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 04:53 AM

Not to mention the appaling grammar, and the proper noun signifying there are one variety of potato, or aeroplane, everywhere. You dignify the house of Guest.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 09:19 AM

Hi folks,

In response to the suggestions posted above, I've just emailed the following to Mrs Harding's Kid.

>>Dear Mike,

I've been a regular listener to your show since you took over Jim Lloyd's chair, and always find it entertaining and stimulating. Sometimes I disagree with the balance you strike between different kinds of music and song. But then, you have masses of material to choose from, and a very diverse audience to please, so that's hardly surprising. Anyhow, there's plenty of stuff I do like - and often, stuff I didn't expect to like turns out to be enjoyable after all. So good for you Mike, keep it up!

My only real gripe - and it's probably down to the management, rather than to you personally - is this. You do play rather a lot of Celtic music. It's good stuff, and I enjoy it … but … Scotland and Ireland already have their own radio networks, where people like Archie Fisher do an excellent job in showcasing their own traditions. It would be nice if we had a radio programme that made as much effort to promote English traditional music. Until one comes along, I think you might consider giving just a little more time to English music, alongside all the excellent material you play from Scotland, Ireland, the USA, and other far-flung places. Especially now that English folk music is in danger of being legislated out of existence.

This is a desperately important matter, which I'd like you to discuss with Dr Kim Howells when you interview him next month. Like thousands of other singers, players and dancers, I've been enjoying informal music-making in (and outside) pubs for donkey's years. According to the letter of the law, most of these sessions have always been illegal. However, officials who once turned a blind eye are now coming down heavily on easy-going publicans. New legislation currently being drafted will make the situation worse. If it goes through, organised folk clubs, informal singarounds and music sessions, and even Morris dancing outside pubs, will be outlawed - unless landlords are willing to pay huge fees for the kind of entertainments license currently required for a large disco with a powerful sound system playing to thousands of people.

This is unjust, and unnecessary. Informal, unamplified music and song should not be subject to the same restrictions as heavily amplified commercial entertainment. A clamp-down like this would do serious damage to England's cultural life, as well as hitting its tourist industry. And yes, I do mean England! Because in canny Scotland, and in carefree Ireland, the law does not inhibit informal music making in and around pubs. Far from trying to suppress it, local authorities there give active encouragement to what they see as a valuable visitor attraction.

English traditional culture is already under-appreciated, and under-promoted. This new legislation will handicap it even further. The new law could be used to ban traditional institutions like the Padstow 'obby 'oss, the Saddleworth Rushcart, the Goathland Plough-Stotts, or the Headington Quarry Mummers - which any sane government would treasure as important national assets. Please, Mike, try to make Dr Howells see the point. And if he does, persuade him to do something sensible about it. You have a golden opportunity here. For all our sakes, make the most of it.

Yours, with all good wishes <<

Hope this does the trick.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST,Gilliard
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 11:46 AM

Wel Pavan if yoo thinc that's a rekord yore rong I kan doo lotts beter thon that.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 03:29 PM

The intention for the programme is a short spot of about 5 minutes, so perhaps we should not expect too much?

However, if they receive a lot of questions, comments and interest from the public (like the ones above), prior to the show, perhaps they may decide to cover the issue in a little more detail?


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 05:59 PM

I'd say Shambles is quite right there - in itself the slot in the programme isn't going to do anything, but it provides an opportunity for a wake-up call.

I think the chances are getting better that this thing isn't going to be sleep-walked (or maybe the right term is frog-marched) through without a bit of critical examination. I'm still not over optimistic about the ability of the politicians involved to act and think flexibly and imaginatively, in this matter or in any other matter.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Gareth
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 06:34 PM

Unfortunately, and this harks back to other threads, we're talking about empire building by the "Jobswoths".

No local council official is going to admit that his department or staff are a waste of space. Thus the "Local Government Association" is going to insist on Licensing Control" to justify thier own existance.

I fear that the LGA has more influence in Whithall than any number of MP's/Ministers.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 06:59 PM

Mike of Northumbria --- eloquently argued, elegantly stated and immaculately spelled. I hold you up as an example to all, sir!

BJ


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 07:25 PM

"No local council official is going to admit that his department or staff are a waste of space."

Maybe not - but there is no shortage of officials who, when the budgets are tight, can forcefully argue that some other departments or staff are a waste of space. The same principle applies to councillors, who also have to think about getting re-elected.

No need to be too gloomy. These organisations aren't monolithic. Like most organisations they are full of people who dislike and despise each other, and long for a chance to stab their enemies in the back, or cut them off at the knees.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 05:58 AM

The following appeared on the BBC adio 2 Folk and acoustic message board. http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-perl/h2/h2.cgi?state=view&board=radio2.folkandacoustic.

Do you think that the show may be receiving rather a lot of questions for Dr Howells?...... I do hope so, keep them coming.

Questions for Dr Howells Mel McClellan - HOST - 275th post - 19 Jun 2002 09:58

It's looking like July 17th for Dr Howells on the MHS, though that's still subject to change. Roger's right, everyone, there's time to gather some questions for relay to Dr H but rather than contact Mike direct would you post them up here, in this thread, please? We can collate them easily and it's good to continue the discussion on the board.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 06:07 AM

I can only re-iterate something I brung up in a previous thread about this. I am one of these terrible law breakers who force my music onto people in pub sessions in Sheffield. I am worried that the PEL issue of licencing and the costs of the licences will be given as a'discretionary' fee levied by the local authority through it's Environmental Health Departments ( also known as the Waffen SS). The reason for this is that it will cause wide varience and enforceablity. A cash strapped council could see it as a revenue raiser and therefore levy a huge fee. I believe we should lobby that if any fee or licencing is to be brought in that it should be set a national (and nominal) rate. The main thing is not to let the Stormtroopers of Zeal otherwise known as Environmental Health Official loose on the Folk Scene.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 07:50 AM

The proposed premises licence will be set and collected centrally, but the interpretation of what is or is not 'entertainment' will still be left in the hands of those whose action and motivation we have come to mistrust.

The Government talk of limiting any conditions set by local authorities to be proportionate etc. but have not specified any teeth to ensure this will happen. As they have been unable (or unwilling) to 'call the dogs off' under current legislation, I fear that the oppression of paritipatory folk activities will continue.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 12:19 PM

The above message seems to have gone and been replaced with this one.

Question time for Kim Howells MP Mel McClellan - HOST - 278th post - 19 Jun 2002 16:54

Hi All. I'm renaming this already active thread to catch your attention. If you've been keeping up with the 'Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show' topic, you'll know that Kim Howells will be interviewed on the show soon. Howells is the government minister behind the controversial PELs (Public Entertainment Licences) legislation which has been a source of much debate within the folk community and on this board, under various topic titles.

The main bulk of the info here is under the title 'Are PELs killing live music?' but there's an item on the Folk & Acoustic news page which gives a quick overview of the situation, together with a fetching pic of Dr Howells himself.

If you want to send a question which you'd like Mike to put to Mr Howells, email Mike at his normal BBC address (you can find it on the website in the Mike Harding Showpage) before Tuesday 25th Jun

Mike Harding E-mail Address(es): mike.harding@bbc.co.uk


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 02:04 PM

Is this man killing folk music?... News on the BBC Folk music website.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/folk/news/index.shtml


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 02:15 PM

The following is a little puzzling, I think they are referring to the recent court ruling, rather than the "two in a bar rule".

The rule has allegedly led to the closure by local councils of several long-standing folk clubs and sessions since it became law earlier this year.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 07:46 PM

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/entertainment/music/newsid_1694000/1694054.stm

The above link is refreshing Dr Howell's expressed view of folk music. One man may not be able to kill folk music, but this one is giving it a right good kicking.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 07:52 PM

Talking to yourself again, Shambles?

Maybe you should see a doctor


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Grab
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 07:47 AM

Frankly I disagree with Shambles - the man was obviously joking. And is there any reason he *should* like all types of music? no-one here at Mudcat will say a good word for rap music, but if he'd used that as an example instead then he'd be getting your wholehearted support and be getting a slating from the DJ crowd instead. But in spite of that, he's working to improve matters. Shambles' letter from Ronnie Bridgett says that although you will need a license to have musicians playing, that license will come for free along with a license to sell alcohol, which doesn't seem restrictive to me.

The original quote:-

Mr. David Heath (Somerton and Frome): Is it not ridiculous that, in the unlikely event of Michael Jackson and Madonna teaming up to do a gig down the local pub, they could do so, yet three people singing Somerset folk songs would not be able to do so? Does the Minister not recognise that live music in pubs and inns has the potential to make a major contribution to tourism in rural areas, which we have already said we want to promote?

Dr. Howells: We are straying into very dangerous territory. For a simple urban boy such as me, the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell. Having said that, the hon. Gentleman is right: music does enliven many pubs and restaurants. It should thrive. Silly rules are preventing it from doing so.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 08:02 AM

Point well made, Graham


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: pavane
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 08:25 AM

What about licencing for premises which do NOT sell alcohol? Churches, village halls, private premises, schools, colleges and so on?

And has anyone compiled a list of performers (NOT just folk) who started their careers on the Pubs & clubs circuit?


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 09:06 AM

Yes of course he was joking. That was not the kicking I was referring to, it was the context in which and why he was making those comments that was and is far more important. Which was to avoid a tricky moment, as he is and was then the man responsible for protecting and promoting all forms of music.

As I my MP has brought to his attention in early 2001 the interpretation that local authorities were using to harrass participatory folk events, His answer was that the reform would deal with this. If that were the case, there is still no sign of it halfway through 2002.

Close examination of the proposals will show that nothing will change except that even a single performer will need the optional entertainment element of the new premises licence, set centrally at a much increased level and all music making that is not totally spontaneous and proved to be un-rewarded, will be prevented without it.

On the 27th February Commons debate it was stated that the DCMS would see if guidance could be provided to local authorities. No such guidance has been issued and this enforcement, against the expressed wishes of Dr Howells is still continuing.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 09:27 AM

Hamish Birchall has sent the following correction to the Radio 2 site.

I don't mean to sound overbearing, because I know how confusing the law in this area can be, but the R2 website news item trailing Kim Howells' interview on PELs is inaccurate and needs correcting. This section is the problem:

'...The so-called 'two in a bar' rule requires pubs and clubs to have a Public Entertainment Licence for performances involving more than two people. This includes musicians playing in informal pub sessions. The rule has allegedly led to the closure by local councils of several long-standing folk clubs and sessions since it became law earlier this year. Musicians Union representative Hamish Birchall will also be giving his views on the issue.'

Corrections/clarifications

1 The 'two in a bar rule' first became law in the Licensing Act 1961, not 'earlier this year'! Prior to 1961 there was no two performer exemption in primary legislation for liquor licensed premises from what was then called a 'music and dancing licence'. However, due to case law precedent (Brearley v Morley, 1899) landlords who simply allowed two, or possibly more, customers to make music for their own amusement during the course of an evening were not required to hold a music and dancing licence.

Until the early 1980s PELs were granted by magistrates and fees were set centrally at purely nominal levels. Over-zealous enforcement of the two in a bar rule did happen occasionally, but because the fees and conditions were reasonable there were relatively few problems.

The widespread closure of local gigs began in the early 1980s when PEL responsibility was handed to local authorities and legislation was amended to allow them to levy so-called 'cost recovery' PEL fees (a principle enthusiastically promoted, apparently, by Ken Livingstone when he led the GLC). In London and many other areas fees rose steeply. In 1982 the Rank Organisation, hit hard in many of its entertainment premises, sought to cap these fees by judicial review. They failed. PEL conditions, set at councils' discretion and only challengeable using a costly appeal to magistrates courts, became increasingly onerous. I have documents showing that as early as 1984 Musicians Union officers were complaining to local authorities about the loss of work for members. As fees rose, so local authority enforcement increased - triggered more often than not by tip-offs from landlords jealous that a competitor might be hosting live music without paying their 'bung' to the council.

In February this year the Appeal Court (London Borough of Southwark v Sean Toye, Administrative Court, 21 February 2002) tightened the interpretation of the two in a bar rule. It decided that Parliament intended the 'rule' to mean that only the same two performers could be allowed throughout the course of the evening in liquor licensed premises without PELs. This strict interpretation had been enforced by London borough councils for some time. The Court decision means that it now applies nationally. The Court also decided that the use of MIDI files during live performance in liquor licensed premises requires a PEL. The two in a bar rule stipulates that any combination of live performer with the 'reproduction of recorded sound' is outside the exemption and requires a PEL.

2 The two in a bar 'rule' applies to any premises licensed to sell liquor under the Licensing Act 1964. This includes restaurants, hotels etc. The Home Office estimated the total number of such premises in England and Wales is 111,000.

3 Clubs, if operated as private members clubs, are exempt from PELs and the two in a bar 'rule'. However, they can only admit members who have been registered at least 24 hours beforehand. The recent busts by local authorities (Belper) were achieved by the council and local police sending in undercover officers who succeed in gaining admission on the night. The practice of sending in undercover officers to put innocuous music-making under surveillance appears now to be widespread. I can provide some of the evidence if you need it.

4 I am an 'adviser' to the Musicians Union. Strictly speaking I should not be described as a 'representative' - I am not an elected official, although I am an MU member of long standing.

All the best
Hamish Birchall
Adviser to the Musicians Union on public entertainment licensing reform


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 10:08 AM

Killed by the PEL system for details of continuing local authority enforcement action.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 01:42 PM

dera Mr Howells,
Please can you stop picking on folk music people and making them get a license? there is not many of them and they never cause amy trouble, folk music is nice and and you should encurage traditional music.Thanks
Yours Sincerley
John Evans (John from Hull)


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 06:54 PM

http://www.culture.gov.uk/new_responsibilities/liclaw.html The White Paper.

http://www.freenetpages.co.uk/hp/trg/SCoFF/session.htm Session Harrassment.

http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182 House of Commons Early Day Motion 1182.

http://www.faxyourmp.com/ Fax Your MP.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 02 - 07:17 PM

The following are answers and further clarification of the White Paper, obtained from the DCMS by Richard Bridge, who has kindly agreed for these answers to be circulated. You can judge for yourself whether Dr Howells or Mr Bridgett are trying to inprove things.

It contains some important detailed information about the current proposals. I would just add to this, the latest information, in this World Cup year, that crowds attracted to live satellite TV in pubs will be able to continue, without a premises licence.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has (15/05/02) confirmed, however, that the Government has no plans to require landlords to declare the provision of live satellite television on their licence application.<

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk 08 April 2002 13:51

You ask me to explain how the two responses can be reconciled.
In response to the question - will criminal offences be committed by customers who spontaneously break into song, our advice is that we do not anticipate that spontaneous singing which does not constitute a "performance" under the terms of the Bill or is not undertaken or organised for "reward" as defined in the Bill, will be within the range of the licensing regime.

Whereas a musical "performance" as defined in the Bill by a single musician undertaken for "reward" (either his own or the organiser's) will be subject to the licensing regime. It is for Parliamentary Counsel to decide how in terms of draft clauses to give effect to that policy.

Accordingly, whenever a group of people in a bar break into spontaneous song, the licensee would have to decide the point (noise level)at which he is at risk of being closed by the police because of "excessive noise" which might be disturbing the public. This is an important point for context and explains why it would not be necessary to bring spontaneous singing (music making) within the licensing regime as adequate public protection would already exist.

Ronnie Bridgett Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Branch Tourism Division

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk Sent: 09 April 2002 13:41

Your concerns have been noted and will be taken into account when final instructions are sent to Parliamentary Counsel.

With regard to more detail of definitions to be used, I am sorry to have to report that you will need to wait until the publication of the Bill.

Finally, you asked why there is a need to license music if noise controls are adequate. I can confirm that the Government would not accept that it is the case that public performances of acoustic music are not always "noisy". Also, as you will appreciate, noise is not the only factor to be considered when considering the licensing of musical performances. Public safety issues have to be taken on board, and the time of day or night with regard to public disturbance.

Your sincerely Ronnie Bridgett Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Branch Tourism Division

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk Sent: 20 May 2002 14:22

Further detail is given in section 5(ii) of the Regulatory Impact Assessment at Appendix 4 to the White Paper (particularly the section "Under the New Regime").

Only one fee will be paid for a premises licence regardless of the activities which the licence covers.

There will also be an annual charge to provide a revenue stream for inspections.

The fee and the charge will be set centrally by the Secretary of State. It will not be set by local authorities.

The fee needs to recover fully the costs of administration, inspection and enforcement associated with licensing law.

The most likely formula for calculating the band levels is capacity - so that larger venues pay more than small ones. However, it may be necessary to include a geographical factor in the formula. This is because administrative overheads are likely to be different in different parts of the country. For example, employment and accommodation costs are higher in the South East of England.

The Secretary of State will set the fee levels after consulting the industry trade associations and the local authorities.

The new regime should save the businesses affected around £1.9 billion in the first ten years of operation. Most of this saving will be from legal costs associated with the current system.

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk Sent: 20 May 2002 16:09

With regard to any amendments to a premises licence, the Secretary of State will set the appropriate fee structure for variations to the premises licence. It should not be presumed that it will be the same fee as for the original application.

Noise complaints are dealt with by DEFRA (the Department for the Environment, Food and Regional Affairs) whose advice we take on these matters. In addition, the police and the local authorities raise matters concerning rowdyism and general disturbance. Advice from all these sources does not differentiate between types of music. In any event, we are not aware of a precise definition of what constitutes "folk music".

It would not therefore be possible to cite particular examples of complaints which are specifically to do with venues at which "folk" musicians are performing.

As for public order issues, consideration is linked to the provision of alcohol at premises. As we have explained, there will be one licence which will cover the sale of alcohol and the provision of public entertainment.

Ronnie Bridgett Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing Branch


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jun 02 - 07:01 PM

Background and questions for Mike Harding to ask Dr Howells.

Dr Howells will want to spin the proposed reforms as the answer to all our prayers. As this has been ready for some time and we do not yet have this legislation now, and will still not have it for some time to come, I feel the questions should concentrate on the current situation.

The folk activities in particular that have been affected during Dr Howells's stewardship of them, the ones that remain at risk and what Dr Howells intends to do now to protect them. I feel he must be made to face, comment on and must take action now to stop 'silly' local authority enforcement now, before it is too late, whatever the proposed reforms may eventually do.

On 16/07/01 I have supplied details to Dr Howells, via my MP, of the particular local authority enforcement of our unpaid participatory traditional tune session and their interpretation that we were more than two 'performers' in a public entertainment. This to be prevented without the premises obtaining a Public Entertainment Licence.

The officers were not aware, and when they were made aware in April 2001,of case law precedent in the licensee's favour, did not produce this to the members when receiving their retrospective endorsement for their actions. Brearley –v- Moreley was the case, where a licensee was found not guilty of providing unlicensed entertainment because customers were providing unpaid, their own music on a regular basis.

The officers (wrongly) stated to the members, in the report to the Social and Community Committee meeting 06/05/01.

"4.5 Historically the Courts have determined that a Licence is required not just where music is provided by paid performers to entertain the public but where members of the public themselves participate in music making. -
7.1 Having witnessed a folk music session involving at least four musicians at the premises Licensing Officers were satisfied that public entertainment was being provided in that the music was performed in a public area of the premises. The exemption for entertainment provided by two or fewer performers did not apply."


Dr Howells in a letter to The Rt Hon Michael Portillo MP dated 14/03/02 included the following, referring to the "two in a bar rule" he stated. "The rule is intended to apply to public performances put on by a public house to entertain the public and should not prevent ordinary people singing together or dancing in a public house."

The following question has still to be answered by Dr Howells, despite being asked via Jim Knight MP in a letter dated 16/07/01. "In the absence of any new legislation to deal with this, what measures under current legislation will the Minister now be taking, to ensure that local authority's officers will not view their responsibilities under licensing legislation to be more important than their responsibilities under cultural or other legislation?"

In his reply 14/08/01 he did include the following. "I appreciate Mr Gall's concern about the actions of his local council. However, it would not be appropriate for Ministers to comment on or intervene in individual cases as the methods used to enforce the relevant law is an operational matter for local councils and the police. It might be helpful if I explain the current law and the measures we propose in the licensing reform White Paper which affects entertainment on licensed premises."

It is clear that the White Paper proposals will not free these activities from the new licensing requirement. Even if this were to be the case, Dr Howells has been aware of the problems since early 2001 (if not before) and the proposed legislation is still not available, in late 2002, to deal with the local authority harassment of the valuable cultural activities.

The details of our session's enforcement were again presented, and details of the Belper folk club, to Mr Richard Caborn (for Dr Howells), in the Commons debate on the 27/02/02 (this was before the letter to Michael Portillo on 14/03/02).
Mr Caborn, on behalf of the Government, in the 27 February 2002 Commons debate stated. The hon. Gentleman asks whether we can give guidance to local authorities.
I do not think that we can, but I take on board the point that he makes, and I shall speak to officials tomorrow to find out whether we can produce some guidance. If that can be done, I will ensure that it is. I shall also consider the issue that he raised about the website.


1. If no such guidance has been produced, why can this not be done?

2. Why are the DCMS just watching while these enforcement's continue to prevent ordinary people from making music together in pubs? Against Dr Howells statement that the rule should not prevent ordinary people making music together in pubs?

3. I think it would be safe to say that on this matter, local authorities have lost the trust of the public. As the Government are unable or unwilling to prevent the many examples of reckless actions of local authorities under current legislation, what constraints will be introduced to ensure that these will be proportionate under the proposed reforms, as the White Paper is rather short on the detail of how this is to be acheived?

4. What is the Government going to do now, to protect these folk activities, or do they agree with local authorities that these unpaid participatory activities are public entertainment, their participants are performers and that they should be prevented in all premises without PELs?

5. If guidance had been given to local authorities after the Commons debate on 27/02/02, would the letter from Greenwich Council, containing the following have been sent?

"Council officers visited your premises on Tuesday 23 April at 9.23pm and observed twelve musicians performing folk music. You are already aware that to have more than two performers at your premises on any day is a criminal offence. The definition of "performers" has never been tested in Court, but even if this was a jam session the Council's view is that these people were "performers". They were being watched by at least a dozen customers, who were tapping their feet to the music and thus being entertained by the performance."


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jun 02 - 06:33 PM

Given the limited time available, the professional skills, even of Dr Howells, and many other factors, it is most unlikeley that this interview alone will change very much.

It is however an opportunity to show the Government, the feelings and wishes of the many people that do not find that listening to and participating in the music and tradition of the land, are their idea of hell.

I think that any opportunity to do this should be made the most of......... If only for the simple reason that the response will help demonstrate to our political leaders whether there is enough good PR or votes in it.

The MP's response to EDM 1182 indicates that our voice is beginning to be listened to, any chance to add to this should be made the most of.

There is not much time - The show's e mail address is given earlier in this thread.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 03:00 AM

Too late now!


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: sian, west wales
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 04:59 AM

So, when does it air?

sian


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 12:29 PM

Last suggessted date I saw was July 17th but I don't think that is final. They said the date would go up on the Radio 2 Folk and Acoustic website.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 12:10 PM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/folk/news/index.shtml

Transmission date now confirmed.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 07:57 PM

"I believe that the quality of our arts and cultural industries, our creative talents are central to the task of recreating the sense of community.. I value too the folk group in the local pub in Trimdon Village." Tony Blair, Mansion House speech, 03 February 1997.

Does anyone know who the folk group in Trimdon village may be, how many of them and if the pub has a PEL?


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 08:44 PM

The folk group are Skerne, contact details available (via PM) if you want them.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Jul 02 - 08:24 PM

This from the BBC Radio 2 Folk and Acoustic website.

Kim Howells MP (left) will be appearing on the Mike Harding Show on Wednesday July 17th. Howells is the government minister behind the controversial PELs (Public Entertainment Licences) legislation which has been a source of much debate within the folk community.

The 'two in a bar' rule requires pubs and clubs to have a Public Entertainment Licence if performances involve more than two performers. Some local authorities claim that this includes musicians playing in informal pub sessions.

The rule has allegedly led to the closure by local councils of several long-standing folk clubs and sessions since it became law. Musicians' Union member and advisor Hamish Birchall will also be giving his views on the issue.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Mr Happy
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 03:48 AM

mr shambles,

many thanks & much gratitude for all your hard work & efforts re pels [repels?]

i posted a q a while ago about wether church music would be exempted-it is.

i was seeking precedents such as this which might be presented in dialogue with the powers that be.

a friend's daughter is going to cork [roi] soon with her high school's swing band.

this prompts me to ask, do school music activities,like choirs, bands and so on need a pel?

then there's other groups like amateur singers in choirs [non religious]for example the 'chester ladies male voice choir :-]'

and amateur dramatics societies who may perform the odd 'gilbert & sullivan' work. amateur operatics too


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 04:10 AM

I was helping my local licensee to fill in a PEL application form that has been produced by our local Council and it says on there that - performances of an educational and charitable nature are exempt.

Since most folk clubs break even at best maybe we could claim on the charitable exemption, and we certainly could on the educational front.

R


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 04:13 AM

There is a partial exemption to the licensing requirement for music as part of a religeous service (not dancing). Any other musical activity in a church, paid or otherwise would be considered as public entertainment and require a PEL. There is an oficial reply on the the subject, posted here somewhere.

The others depend on if the public have normal access to the premises where the activity is taking place. During normal school hours, the public do not have access. In the evening, a PEL would be required, if the public were freely admitted.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 04:22 AM

Sir Roger

I think you will find that these performances are exempt from paying the fee, not the PEL requirement for the premises.

I hope you can prove me wrong.

Click here for the thread with the official reply, re churches


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 10:50 AM

Any chance of getting folk music officially recognised as a religion?

Seriously folks ... remember that campaign to get people to write "Jedi" in the "What Religion are you?" section of the last UK census? I remember reading that if they got 10,000 or above registered, then the government would be obliged to recognise them. Unfortunately, the next census isn't for another nine years...

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Grab
Date: 11 Jul 02 - 01:48 PM

Mike, what you read is an urban legend and is not true. The government has no obligation to recognise *any* religion it doesn't choose to.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: DMcG
Date: 12 Jul 02 - 12:31 PM

During normal school hours, the public do not have access. In the evening, a PEL would be required, if the public were freely admitted

So evening performances of the school musical will require a PEL if adults attend?

(By the way, I was amused by the quote from Tony Blair and a response that the details of the folk club he mentioned could be found via PM - accidental joke or deliberate?)


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jul 02 - 01:56 PM

So evening performances of the school musical will require a PEL if adults attend?

Again it is not really clear. If a school puts on a concert and openly sells tickets to the general public, a PEL would be required. Parents being invited to watch their own children, probably would not.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jul 02 - 04:43 AM

On the BBC music news page, the photo of Dr Howells has the caption - Kim Howells: "A great champion of live music"

The words are his...............


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jul 02 - 12:39 PM

http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182

181 MPs have now signed Early Day Motion 1182, has yours?


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Jul 02 - 06:10 PM

There is a partial exemption to the licensing requirement for music as part of a religous service (not dancing). Any other musical activity in a church, paid or otherwise would be considered as public entertainment and require a PEL. There is an oficial reply on the the subject, posted here somewhere.

I have that wrong, I'm afraid. It is true that in London any concert in a Church would require a PEL. Outside London there is an exemption to the PEL reqirement (a)to any music (i)In a place of worship; or
(ii)performed as a an incident of a religous meeting or service;

So a concert in a church (outside London), would not require a PEL, as long as it did not contain dancing. This would mean that a full blown commercial public entertainment of music, could be staged in a church. With no emergency exits or adequate sanitation.

But three performers in a perfectly safe and inspected pub cannot, without a PEL.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Jul 02 - 06:08 PM

The following from Hamish Birchall.

181 MPs have now signed two in a bar Early Day Motion 1182. Thanks to all of you who have written/faxed or otherwise contacted your MP. Although technically they may continue to sign during the summer recess, the effective closing date for signatures is 24 July.

Please check to see if your MP has signed. If not, there is still time to contact them. Most MPs can be faxed quickly and easily from www.faxyourmp.com. The site can automatically identify your MP from your postcode.


EDM 1182 http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Jul 02 - 06:20 PM

Dancing can form part of a religious service. I've seen nuns dancing at a Mass in Brentwood Cathedral for example. I doubt if they could make a PEL requirement stick in this sort of case even if they wanted to. A social dance held on church premises might be a different matter.

I only hope Mike Harding will have been rather less ignorant about the legal situation than whoever wrote that BBC press release. Or whoever writes Kim Howell's press releases and speeches.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jul 02 - 04:55 PM

We will soon find out............. I suspect it is our Mr Bridgett (unless they have dug up Sir Humphrey), who writes the speeches for the "great champion of live music".


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jul 02 - 04:13 PM

Bugger - I've just noticed the time, and I've missed it. Give us a link to a transcript or whatever, Shambles or someone.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jul 02 - 05:00 PM

Problem solved - the BBC site has a Real Audio of the interviews with Kim Howells and with Hamish Birchall of the Musicians Union, and a transcript on the site as well. This shold be there for at least seven days.

Mike Harding was good, and he idn't let Kim Howells get awy with much (and the man tried, he tried). What we got out of him was a promise that, where money doesn't change hands, sessions in pubs will be allowed to go ahead without interference; and a promise that a licence that covers music as well as alcohol will cost no more than a licence that only covers alcohol.

However I wouldn't trust the man as far as I could throw him. Pledges on the Mike Harding show don't count when it comes to interpreting the legislation.

And even if the law complies with what Kim Howells said, there are still some real dangers.

1. It appears that any kind of money changing hands turns a session into an entertainment that needs a licence - so even a few quid in the hand to the organiser to cover the costs of ringing round and so forth would put it over the line. And I strongly suspect that a few pints of beer for the performers would also fall into the same trap.

2. Even if there is no charge for the liccence to cover entertainment, that still allows a local authority to lay down all kinds of requirements for additional facilities which would inhibit publicans from applying for it - and the evidence so far is that these are often highly unrealistic and geared to a completely different level of event.

3. There was no mention of the situation as regards premises other than pubs where the PEL requirements inhibit people from making music - for example coffee bars or indeed anywhere which is open to the public.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jul 02 - 05:10 PM

Problem solved - the BBC site has Real Audio of the interviews with Kim Howells and with Hamish Birchall of the Musicians Union, and a transcript on the site as well. This should be there for at least seven days.

Mike Harding was good, and he isn't let Kim Howells get away with much (and the man tried, he tried). What we got out of him was a promise that, where money doesn't change hands, sessions in pubs will be allowed to go ahead without interference; and a promise that a licence that covers music as well as alcohol will cost no more than a licence that only covers alcohol.

However I wouldn't trust the man as far as I could throw him. Pledges on the Mike Harding show don't count when it comes to interpreting the legislation.

And even if the law complies with what Kim Howells said, there are still some real dangers:

1. It appears that any kind of money changing hands turns a session into an entertainment that needs a licence - so even a few quid in the hand to the organiser to cover the costs of ringing round and so forth would put it over the line. And I strongly suspect that a few pints of beer for the performers would also fall into the same trap.

2. Even if there is no charge for the licence to cover entertainment, that still allows a local authority to lay down all kinds of requirements for additional facilities which would inhibit publicans from applying for it - and the evidence so far is that these are often highly unrealistic and geared to a completely different level of event.

3. There was no mention of the situation as regards premises other than pubs where the PEL requirements inhibit people from making music - for example coffee bars or indeed anywhere which is open to the public.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Jul 02 - 05:13 PM

It was a bit of a shambles.

Why they decided to sandwich it between music is a mystery. Hamish's bit was OK and MH was not trying to be impartial and came over as concerned. Less good in the good Dr's bit, which was strange. Dr Howells did not know the subject at all but MH did not make the most of this.

Dr Howells agreed that the enforcements were not good news but made no suggestion as to what could be done now or why he had just watched them for so long.

He gave two incorrect answers to the same question. Were unpaid sessons to be prevented? Yes (when he has earler stated they should not be used to prevent ordinary folk making music) - until MH repeated unpaid and then No under the proposed reforms, "as long as money does not change hands."

As we know the DCMS are stressing that reward can be indirect, to the licensee, so you pay your money and take your choice. Or you don't pay your money.............!

The question MH put was supposed to have been my question, MH said "and I quote! The only other question (from the listeners), he did not put as he considered the Dr had already answered.

I don't know if anyone else was as confused as I was, at the end?


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Jul 02 - 05:51 PM

Kim, if I can just go on to some questions we've had sent in from listeners, very quickly, because I do realise you've got to get off to the house and various other things … 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?"

Yes, I suppose they would be. The landlord would need to get an entertainments licence to cover himself or herself …

But this is not for gain, is it, you were talking about …

Oh, I see, I am sorry, I'm sorry, I thought that you meant it would be professional musicians being paid …

No, just sessions and singarounds, people just playing for their own fun.

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.

Right. Well, Keith Acheson writes in from Hertford to say how much he enjoys his singaround, singing songs of soldiering and seafaring, parting and ploughing, love and drink - he writes here - "No money changes hands, we enjoy some wonderful evenings. Why does English law criminalise this very English and harmless pastime?" I think you've already answered that - it does at the moment but you hopefully will make sure that it doesn't in future, is that right, the way I read it?

Yes, absolutely, and can I also say that if a licensee, a landlord or landlady, can get an alcohol licence, they will get a Public Entertainment Licence for free, so it's not going to cost them any more, so it's not going to put off people making venues available.

Great. And this is on the White Paper and this is going to be in the Queen's Speech, is it, in the next session of Parliament?

Yes, very much hoping that it will be. You can never tell and no minister can ever say that it's going to be in the Queen's Speech (laughs) … I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Why oh why did he not ask Keith's question? For over two years his Govenment have just watched events suffer, where no money changes hands, and will continue to for some years yet!

Even if this extaordinary statement forms any part of the new legislation and the LGA permit it, it may not be in the next Queen's Speech and we may never in fact live long enough to see it become law.

How could it ever be established that no money changes hands. Would we have the same as now? Officers claiming money or reward was involved and we would have to go the Court to prove it did not?


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jul 02 - 06:24 PM

What does he mean by "money"? He can't mean cash, or cheques would be a way round it. So, would a tab at the bar count as money? Or a pint in the hand? Or would increased takings at the bar associated with a session count as money changing hands, even if none of it goes to the musicians, who might even be providing most of those increased takings? (And if that seems daft, that has been how the position has been stated by Kim Howells' man Richard Bridgett)?

It's important to ensure that the right questions are being discussed in any Parliamentary committee that scrutinises this legislation.

It would be very foolish to relax and take it that Kim Howells' waffling means that we aren't going to be under threat any more.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 02:53 AM

If no "money changing hands" will exempt music making from future licensing reqirements, as Dr Howells clearly stated, why are these activities now subject to the current legislation?

The White Paper makes no change in definition of what is considered to be public entertainment which is a performance of music or dancing etc.

So how can enforcements against unpaid music making be supported under legislation now?


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST,Keith A o Hertford at work
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 07:11 AM

I thought that the questions posted here and sent were more searching than mine. I just typed what I felt. Sorry if I displaced a more worthy wordsmith.
Keith.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 07:17 AM

I wrote to my MP months ago about PEL's, so I was surprised when I looked at the list of MPs who had signed the early day motion. Mine had not
Luckily whoever emailed me about the EDM the other day had put a link to Fax you MP. I did and he responded this morning, he has signed it and will '..continue to urge the government to update this archaic licensing system.'

RS


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 09:24 AM

I thought that the questions posted here and sent were more searching than mine. I just typed what I felt. Sorry if I displaced a more worthy wordsmith. Keith.

Keith your question was a good one, my only wish is that MH, having read it out, had allowed Dr Howells to answer as to why he is content to just watch these events criminalised. Why he just hoping that some future legislation may possibly change this, rather than making sure that it contains any measures to actually ensuring that it does.

Roger perhaps finding the other 180 MP's names there, woke your MP up?


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 02:14 PM

I would like to add Keith that you can also be satisfied in getting Dr Howells to be quoted as using your words; in - as long as "no money changes hands". this could prove to be very helpful for us in the long run, if not for Dr (no money changes hands) Howells.

Photo of Hamish Birchall can be found on the BBC site linked to above, along with a photo of Dr Howells.

186 MP's names now! Roger in Sheffield.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 04:55 AM

Is there anyone who having read the above transcripts who is now happy about the situation?

If so, I would like to be convinced here by their arguments.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: vectis
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 05:17 AM

Very unhappy. My club, which is a "pass the pot to pay the artists" one is threatened. We don't have a formal membership so God knows what our legal position is.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 06:24 AM

Well assuming that Kim Howells isn't lying, his comment that:

...and can I also say that if a licensee, a landlord or landlady, can get an alcohol licence, they will get a Public Entertainment Licence for free

seems reasonable enough to me


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 06:42 AM

But the small print will be that the licensing authority will be allowed to insist on all kinds of extra conditions which will be likely to price it out of reach of the publican. The actual cost of the licence is only the start of it.

In order to be able to allow a few people to make music in a situation where "money changes hands" - ie the person organises it gets expenses for ringing round reminding people to come etc, or there are a few drinks for musicians, let alone a payment for a guest - there are likely to be an insistence that extra facilities are installed, such as additional toilets which would only make sense if a najor concert was planned.

But at the same time, if the pub is packed to the rafters with football fans watching a match on a big TV screen, and pouring out into the streets tanked up and excited afterwards, that's covered by the ordinary drinks licence, with no question of an entertainment element being required, or any additional facilities.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 07:08 AM

McGrath,

Is this "small print" documented anywhere?

I'm not doubting you, just curious to learn more


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 07:59 AM

That's how it's worked so far, and that's my prediction of how it's likely to keep working. I could be wrong, and I hope I am.

It happened to a bluegrass session in Stansted Mountfitchet up the road from us only this year. It had been going for years.

Then the authorities started leaning on the landlord, because there were more than two people playing. When he tried to get a PEL to cover it, the council insisted on all kinds of modifications of the premises, so that it just wasn't on. Reluctantly he had to tell them to stop coming to play, somhe didn't have to make tey modifications.

The point I was making about Kim Howells' statement was that, even if it the new law is exactly in line with it - and there's no reason to trust that it will be, they've wriggled out of even more explicit promises than that - it could still leave all the room in the world for this kind of nonsense.

The Musicians Union proposal makes far more sense - that would mean that a licence to run a pub would automatically include the right to allow people to make music, subject only to the requirement that there is no risk to public safety - which could include, for example, by laying down a maximum number of people in the place, and that there is no public nuisance.

This would place music-making in the same situation as any other activity in a pub, such as talking to friends, or watching the TV.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 08:03 AM

That's how it's worked so far, and that's my prediction of how it's likely to keep working. I could be wrong, and I hope I am.

It happened to a bluegrass session in Stansted Mountfitchet up the road from us only this year, which had been going for years.

Then the authorities started leaning on the landlord, because there were more than two people playing. When he tried to get a PEL to cover it, the council insisted on all kinds of modifications of the premises, so that it just wasn't on. Reluctantly he had to tell them to stop coming to play, so he didn't have to make the modifications.

The point I was making about Kim Howells' statement was that, even if the new law is exactly in line with it - and there's no reason to trust that it will be, they've wriggled out of even more explicit promises than that - it could still leave all the room in the world for this kind of nonsense.

The Musicians Union proposal makes far more sense - that would mean that a licence to run a pub would automatically include the right to allow people to make music, subject only to the requirement that there is no risk to public safety, which could include, for example, laying down a maximum number of people in the place, and that there is no public nuisance.

This would place music-making in the same situation as any other activity in a pub, such as talking to friends, or watching the TV.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 12:51 PM

Proportionality!

You don't risk activities that present little or no public risk, by including them in measures designed for activities that may present a risk. It means you address only the places where a real risk to the public is presented.

Unless a licensee was able to predict the future, and know a folk club would need a home, it would not be possible, as now to approach them and ask if you could stage a folk club in their pub.

The licensee when making application for his combined premises licence would have to state in advance that they wished to have the entertainment element. They would have to place in an operating plan, the specific nature of this entertainment (a folk club, or even one singer), and wait to have it approved and any conditions placed on it by the local authority. And this is sold to us cutting red tape and the entertainment element being free!

In reality this "no money changing hands" is a nonsense, when you are talking of making music (even unpaid) on commercial premises. For officers can (and will) always claim that some indirect reward is involved, I suspect that Dr Howells is well aware of this, whilst making these reassuring statements to the (small) folk community.

How can they justify these measures, as they continue to try do on the public's safety and interests, if an unpaid and amplified) event is free from the requirement, just because no money changes hands?

You will see further qualifications to this emerging, for the DCMS have already specified the need for any future exempt public music making to not only be non rewarded but also to be totally "spontaneous".

Difficult to maintain that one just happened to have one's double bass with you in the pub when spontaneous music making broke out! ....But in all reality, why should you have to make such an attempt, if the licensing requirement is really for reasons of public safety etc? The risks of any music making are plainly the same - rewarded or not.

I suggest that we have to step up rather than relax For the (unpaid) folk activity argument, and the Governments lame attempts to enable these events in order to placate us, are demonstrating the whole bogus argument for the continued blanket licensing of music.

If not required in Scotland, where the same safety legislation is thought sufficient, how can it be justified to us and still tolerated by us in England and Wales?

It was a shame that the interview was allowed to be on the grounds of us all having 'cake tomorrow'. We have lost too many events already and will lose more now and in the years before we ever see this new legislation, even if it ever should contain measures that will protect music making from officialdom.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 01:03 PM

The small print

From: ronnie.bridgett@Culture.gsi.gov.uk 08 April 2002 13:51

You ask me to explain how the two responses can be reconciled.
In response to the question - will criminal offences be committed by customers who spontaneously break into song, our advice is that we do not anticipate that spontaneous singing which does not constitute a "performance" under the terms of the Bill or is not undertaken or organised for "reward" as defined in the Bill, will be within the range of the licensing regime.

Whereas a musical "performance" as defined in the Bill by a single musician undertaken for "reward" (either his own or the organiser's) will be subject to the licensing regime. It is for Parliamentary Counsel to decide how in terms of draft clauses to give effect to that policy.

Accordingly, whenever a group of people in a bar break into spontaneous song, the licensee would have to decide the point (noise level)at which he is at risk of being closed by the police because of "excessive noise" which might be disturbing the public. This is an important point for context and explains why it would not be necessary to bring spontaneous singing (music making) within the licensing regime as adequate public protection would already exist.

Ronnie Bridgett Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Branch Tourism Division

They seemed to have overlooked the fact that local authoritities have already brought spontaneous music making, (which is as near to spontaneous as you could practically get), into the licensing regime. Despite the fact that the DCMS admit that adequate public protection would already exist.

I wonder what Mr Bridgett thought of Dr Howells's no money changing hands, quote?


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 02:02 PM

Kim Howells needs to be held to those words, which could be achieved if friendly MPs were to successfully push for them to be included in the bill.

If Kim Howells were to resist this, it would be extremely embarrassing, since it would amount to an admission on his part that he was lying on the BBC programme, or else that he didn't know what he was talking about and was waffling. I suspect most of us would suspect that both those things may have been the case, but that's no matter. We should take them as a honest and clear statement of government policy, regardless of whether we think they are or not.

The thing to do is to use those words and that quote in all letters to MPs and others in this context.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jul 02 - 04:51 AM

We will just have to hope that he keeps his job! For he really is a priceless asset(or ass) to us.

I note that Mr Bridgett does not list all the words for which definitions must be defined by the Bill. Rather importantly he does not mention any defintion for the word 'spontaneous'.

The White Paper does not mention this word or the changing of any definitions of what entertainment is or is not. This must be done before Dr Howells can ever start to deliver what he stated.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 20 Jul 02 - 02:44 PM

If, and I emphasise the if, Howells produces a bill that will allow sessions without any form of licensing requirement, so long as no money changes hands (and the trapdoor of increased beer sales does not get written in), there is some progress. So long, of course, as local authorities are not allowed to insist on their usual range of farcical alterations. Oddly, Howells did not specify "acoustic" sessions, so his exact words seem to plan the authorisation of electric jam sessions too, with no limitation on the power of amplifiers used.

But I spot three immediate problems. First, a singaround or a singers (or players) club would not be exempt. Second, paid acoustic performers (even a paid leader of a session) will not be exempt. Why? acoustic performers pose no noise or disturbance threat. This is not a taxation measure, designed to divert some money movements to central or local goverment, but a public order measure. Isn't it? Third, what about folk dancing?


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jul 02 - 07:49 PM

This is not a taxation measure, designed to divert some money movements to central or local goverment, but a public order measure. Isn't it?

No, as you well know Richard.

If any form of music making can be considered exempt from the new licensing requirement purely on the basis that "no money changes hands", it must be a taxation measure. An opportunity to raising revenue, (now centrally) from commercial music making (only).

This is the whole point of continuing to use and press home the unpaid folk session argument and not to relax. For it demonstrates the exact bogus nature of blanket licensing being necessary for the public's safety and interests.

This Government has seen that blanket entertainment licensing has been used by some local authorities for revenue raising purposes. Whilst criticising local authorities for doing so and holding the moral high ground, have decided that they will set, collect and raise this revenue centrally, and use the same bogus (safety) justification, to give this measure some respectability and to raise the liquor licence fee at the same time.

I know I may sound a little cynical and politically motivated but am I wrong? This is a Government that I voted for remember.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Jul 02 - 08:12 PM

The thing to push for is the Musicians Union proposal, which is that music in a pub should be treated the same way as any other activity - conversation, watching television, playing darts or pool. In other words, do what you like, so long as you don't cause a nuisance, cause offence to other people, or and endanger people. Very simple. Too simple, it seems.

Anything else is an infringement of our basic human rights.

And of course that applies in other places as well as pubs. People keep on talking as though the only places where music can take place is pubs, or as if these are the only places where there are any restrictions on our rights. It's just not true. Singing in a coffee bar, for example, is illegal now except in the very unlikely circumstances that there is a PEL , and it will continue to be illegal after any proposed legislation - and this is not something that should be acceptable in a free society.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jul 02 - 05:14 AM

This is true but the "two in a bar" issue is clearly totally stupid and was the best way of getting public and media interest to the larger issue of entertainment licensing generally and PELs in particular. Which is a complicated subject, as we know.

The White Paper proposals link liquor and music making together forever and spends little or no time on music in premises that do not have or want liquor licenses.

As can be seen from Dr Howells comments, The Government make a great noise about getting rid of (for most of the wrong reasions), the "two in a bar rule". As if that alone made any diference to non liquor licensed premises or improved the situation for unpaid music making and folk clubs caught up in legislation that was never really intended to affect them.

The following link is to the White Paper. Which after all is the starting point for the reforms.

White Paper

The following is the current position of EDM 1182. Has your MP signed yet?



The following link is how you can instantly fax you MP. All you need is your post code.

Fax Your MP


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jul 02 - 03:00 AM

Am I a complete idiot? Is the following not exactly the argument that has been presented to the DCMS, for why blanket live music licensing of all premises is not necessary as, adequate pubic protection would already exist?

Accordingly, whenever a group of people in a bar break into spontaneous song, the licensee would have to decide the point (noise level)at which he is at risk of being closed by the police because of "excessive noise" which might be disturbing the public. This is an important point for context and explains why it would not be necessary to bring spontaneous singing (music making) within the licensing regime as adequate public protection would already exist<.

Ronnie Bridgett Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Branch Tourism Division

If the DCMS accept adequate public protection already exists (for noise etc) and it is the licensee's duty to ensure that the public are not disturbed, why do they need a PEL now and why would they need in future to specify the exact nature of any live music, well in advance in an operating plan and have local authority approval for this?

They can now and will under this proposed legislation be able to stage and advertise live TV sporting events, without this needing to go in any operating plan or obtain approval.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jul 02 - 07:41 PM

http://www.jazznights.co.uk/musicissues.htm.

Is a site with some PEL info on - It also annouces that there is to be another DAY OF ACTION. In London on 24 July at the Red Lion in Whitehall at mid-day.

I know it is long way to go (for some) just to get thrown out of a pub. I will be coming up from Dorset for the day and I hope to meet you there.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: vectis
Date: 22 Jul 02 - 08:01 PM

Let's face it the thing at issue here is not just the freedom to belt out a few numbers with our mates in a bar, pub, hotel or coffee shop.
Councils are strapped for cash at the moment and some bright spark has realised that the present law is a licence to print money if it is enforced.
It cost one local pub £1000 for a PEL this year and it has no regular music events just occasional concerts in the adjoining hall.
If the PEL is to be included in the licence fee then I guarantee that the price of licences will go through the roof.
How many rural pubs, already struggling because of the lack of passing trade, will fold because of the extra costs??????


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Jul 02 - 08:41 PM

Well, if a council makes a profit from the inspection and registration process, the councillors are breaking the law, and the audit commissioners have the duty to make waves.

What they can do legally is cover expenses - but if they try to use this as a way of covering additional costs (like salaries for people who are only involved in this part time, and are doing other council work the rest of the time) they are in breach of the law.

If you have reson to believe that this is happening, I suggest you shop the bastards to the audit commissioners, and go public about it.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: fogie
Date: 23 Jul 02 - 04:04 AM

I hear on radio 4 that Billy Bragg is singing in a pub opposite the houses of parliament onWed 24 at 12 noon to confront the issues. There was quite an exchange in the house of commons yesterday. The pub is the Red Lion.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jul 02 - 08:15 AM

Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Bill

1. Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden): If she will make a statement on her policy towards the licensing of televising of sport in public houses under the terms of the proposed Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Bill. [68956]

The Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting (Dr. Kim Howells): As is the case with existing legislation, the proposed Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Bill will not include the licensing of the televising of sport in public houses in its definition of public entertainment. A publican, of course, already requires and will continue to require a normal domestic television licence.

Siobhain McDonagh: I thank my hon. Friend for his answer. However, given the licensing disparity between televised football and live music in pubs—the former is subject to no regulation but the latter is subject to a complicated regulation mechanism—will he encourage members of the Cabinet to look at introducing legislation in the Queen's Speech that will reform the public entertainment licence system and encourage live music and particularly young musicians in small venues?

Dr. Howells: We will certainly look at getting rid of the absurd two in a bar rule. I have looked long and hard at the evidence, but we have never received any to suggest that watching television in a pub causes the kinds of scenes that have sometimes occurred in pubs with live music. Nor, indeed, have we had any reports of disturbances caused by watching television in a pub—we have certainly received some reports of incidents following the playing of live music in pubs. Generally speaking, however, pubs are excellent venues for live music. We want to make sure that that continues to be the case and that there are more venues for live music, not fewer.

Mr. Kelvin Hopkins (Luton, North): Following that very welcome answer, does my hon. Friend agree that the distinction between two musicians and seven musicians is irrelevant, and that the real issue is the amount of noise? A string quartet or an unamplified jazz group should be perfectly acceptable in a pub, should people choose to listen to them. Does he also agree that more venues for live music would give work to tens of thousands of amateur musicians and increase our country's cultural richness?

Dr. Howells: I am very much in favour of live music in pubs, but I am not in favour of any Minister in Parliament trying to define what constitutes jazz, folk music or any other kind of music. I have been the victim of one man with an amplifier that nearly blew my head off.

Mr. Speaker: Question 2. Mr. Mole is not here.

22 July 2002 Entertainment Licences 5. Lawrie Quinn (Scarborough and Whitby): What plans she has to reduce the cost of entertainment licences for live music in pubs and clubs. [68961] The Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting (Dr. Kim Howells): Our plans for the modernisation of the alcohol and entertainment licensing regimes were set out clearly in the White Paper "Time for Reform". The proposed new licensing system will remove at a stroke a considerable amount of existing red tape and reduce the licensing costs that currently deter many venues from providing live music and dancing. The reforms will be implemented by means of primary legislation to be introduced as soon as parliamentary time permits. Lawrie Quinn: I thank my hon. Friend for that answer and for his recent excellent two-day visit to my constituency. [Hon. Members: "Two days?"] It is a big constituency. As he will remember, he had a listening brief on that occasion and, regretfully, turned down my invitation to go into some of the bars in Whitby to add his baritone voice to the great deal of notable folk-singing that goes on in the area. Next time he visits my constituency, will the people of Scarborough and Whitby be able to hear his lovely voice? Dr. Howells: I could clear the entire Chamber within three bars. Mr. David Heath (Somerton and Frome): May I draw the hon. Gentleman's attention to early-day motion 1182, tabled in my name? It has been signed by nearly 200 right hon. and hon. Members, which underlines the view across the House that it is a ridiculous law that needs to be amended at the first opportunity. May I extend a welcome to him to visit not only Scarborough but, in a spirit of amity across the Bristol channel, the Red Lion, just across the road, at 12 o'clock on Wednesday, where I, other hon. Members and Billy Bragg will be engaged in a little light singing that may or may not contravene the present law, but will serve to show what a ridiculous law it is? Dr. Howells: I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will turn out to be a star performer, but it all sounds a bit left-wing for me.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jul 02 - 10:16 AM

The last bit again, this time with breaks.

22 July 2002 Entertainment Licences 5.

Lawrie Quinn (Scarborough and Whitby): What plans she has to reduce the cost of entertainment licences for live music in pubs and clubs. [68961]

The Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting (Dr. Kim Howells): Our plans for the modernisation of the alcohol and entertainment licensing regimes were set out clearly in the White Paper "Time for Reform". The proposed new licensing system will remove at a stroke a considerable amount of existing red tape and reduce the licensing costs that currently deter many venues from providing live music and dancing. The reforms will be implemented by means of primary legislation to be introduced as soon as parliamentary time permits.

Lawrie Quinn: I thank my hon. Friend for that answer and for his recent excellent two-day visit to my constituency.

[Hon. Members: "Two days?"]

It is a big constituency. As he will remember, he had a listening brief on that occasion and, regretfully, turned down my invitation to go into some of the bars in Whitby to add his baritone voice to the great deal of notable folk-singing that goes on in the area. Next time he visits my constituency, will the people of Scarborough and Whitby be able to hear his lovely voice?

Dr. Howells: I could clear the entire Chamber within three bars.

Mr. David Heath (Somerton and Frome): May I draw the hon. Gentleman's attention to early-day motion 1182, tabled in my name? It has been signed by nearly 200 right hon. and hon. Members, which underlines the view across the House that it is a ridiculous law that needs to be amended at the first opportunity. May I extend a welcome to him to visit not only Scarborough but, in a spirit of amity across the Bristol channel, the Red Lion, just across the road, at 12 o'clock on Wednesday, where I, other hon. Members and Billy Bragg will be engaged in a little light singing that may or may not contravene the present law, but will serve to show what a ridiculous law it is?

Dr. Howells: I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will turn out to be a star performer, but it all sounds a bit left-wing for me.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jul 02 - 05:06 PM

Dr. Howells: We will certainly look at getting rid of the absurd two in a bar rule.

Then you introduce legislation that makes even one musician illegal without more overall expense and increased red-tape?
What about the other equally absurd exemption? Outside London full-blown entertainment could take place in churches. Most of these would not measure up to the most basic of pubs in the matter of facilities and public safety but would still be exempt from the licensing requirement.

I have looked long and hard at the evidence, but we have never received any to suggest that watching television in a pub causes the kinds of scenes that have sometimes occurred in pubs with live music.

Never received any evidence - sometimes occurred in pubs with live music. Does 'sometimes' really justify the blanket licensing of all types of muisic in all types of venue?

Is the continuing of this scatter-gun approach, where innocent casualties are acceptable to address a few problem areas, really a proportiate and modern approach to ensure the public's safety and interests?

This waffling on about noise concerns justifing this approach is really not good enough. All the studies show that most noise complaints are cause by people making noise arriving and departing, outside premises.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Sarah the flute
Date: 24 Jul 02 - 03:05 PM

Hurrah Hurrah for Mr Bragg. He even got a look in on the BBC local news. He says the pressure is on to change things in the next parliamentry session to bring us into line with those North of the Border. Can this be true - no licence needed unless playing after 11pm??? Here's hoping.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Jul 02 - 04:41 PM

Which local news was that Sarah?

Well no entertainment licence is needed in Scottish pubs during normal licensing hours, but part of the problem here is that the proposals here effectivly do away with normal licensing hours. Not that this should be a big problem to overcome.

Nice of Billy to help (and he really did an excellent job today) but the pressure you speak of has been on for some time (to no real effect yet, in the way of movement from our Government). The action today has helped toward that end but I think some recognition should be given to Hamish Birchall, for almost single-handedly pushing this issue and also for organising todays action and Billy's appearance.

Also to all Mudcatters who have helped and are helping in many ways. Long way to go yet, I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 02:12 AM

COMING UP ON THE MIKE HARDING SHOW 03/04/03

Subjects for forthcoming Mike Harding Shows on BBC Radio 2, Wednesdays 8 - 9pm are: April 9th Kim Howells; April 16th Requests; April 23rd Sandy Denny/St George.


Seconds out - Round 2.

Despite the back-slapping about how the Bill is improved since its Lords visit, the sad and disgraceful fact remains that if our Labour Government has their way - one (advertised) person singing in a pub that has not applied for permission, will be an offence for the licensee (and/or the organiser). They will subject to a maximum £20,000 fine or 6 months in prison and will have automatically made the premises unsafe.

That any form of concert can take place in any place of religious worship, at any volume, at any time and for any amount of attendees, free from any additional licensing permissions or resulting imposed conditions.

That despite the examples I have provided of violent incidents arising from TV football events in pubs, these will be free from any additional licensing permissions or resulting imposed conditions.

In the year 2003, that cannot be a Government action of which you can have any pride at all. I have found you to be a decent chap and I trust that you will do your very best. And try to ensure that this trust, and those of many other voters, is not misplaced and that the Government's creditability, that Dr Howells has done so much to damage, can be restored. Good luck.

Musicians are not Dr Howells enemy, why is he still so determined to see them as this, and in this determination ensure that they will become his enemies? A more contrite approach from him, and a sign that he was prepared to listen, rather than continue to demonstrate his ignorance of musical matters, even at this late stage, would not go amiss.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 01:34 PM

The 'decent chap' refered to above is my MP Jim Knight, who is on the Standing Committee. We will see if he lives up to that billing.

The following from Hamish Birchall is the latest position - Please circulate.

Last Thursday, 03 April, the Commons Licensing Bill Committee concluded its debate of Schedule 1 that deals with definitions and exemptions for 'regulated entertainment' and 'entertainment facilities'. As predicted, Culture Minister Kim Howells and fellow Labour MPs on the Committee have voted to remove the Opposition Peers' exemption for educational establishments (paragraph 14). The Committee now moves on to other parts of the Bill, a process that must be finished by 20 May.

Given that the Government can simply reverse anything the Lords have changed, people understandably ask: 'what is the point of continuing to lobby MPs?'. This circular attempts to explain why it is not just important but essential to continue lobbying MPs, particularly Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs. Part of the reason is that the show-down, if you like, is yet to come. The other part concerns Parliamentary process, and how this can work in our favour with the Licensing Bill.

Schedule 1 will not be debated again until the entire Bill as amended by the Committee receives its Report/3rd Reading in the Commons. Unlike the Lords, Report and 3rd Reading debates will be on the same day, back to back. The precise date has yet to be fixed, but is likely to be some time in the fortnight commencing 2nd June. Further amendments can be put at Report stage, but these will be limited in number, and for that reason carefully chosen. More on that later.

It suprised me that a Commons Committee of only 16 MPs can change an entire Bill, but that is the way the process works. The Committee votes on amendments of their own, and these can be put down by any of the MPs on the Committee. The composition of the Committee reflects the proportion of MPs by Party: 10 Labour, 4 Conservative, and 2 Lib Dem. So if the Labour MPs vote with the Whip, i.e. they toe the Party line, then the Government can do what it likes to the Bill at this stage. That is what is happening at the moment.

However, if Committee amendments change or reverse amendments that were introduced by the House of Lords, that has to be approved by the Lords. So once the Bill completes Report/3rd Reading, it goes back to the Lords. At that point the Lords may reintroduce Clauses they originally inserted but which were subsequently removed in the Commons, or amend any or all of the Clauses they first amended, but which were changed again by the Commons. The Bill must then return to the Commons, the idea being that the Bill cannot become law until its content is agreed by both Houses.

The Conservatives have promised to revisit the small events exemption when the Bill goes back to the Lords. Provided the Lib Dems support the Conservatives (as they did when that particular amendment was voted through on 11 March), there is a serious risk that the Government's timetable will be delayed. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrat Peers combined outnumber the Government in the Lords. Opposition Lords could therefore start a game of 'ping pong' between the two Houses.

Now comes the crucial bit: the Government cannot force the Bill through using the Parliament Act. For some reason I don't fully understand, Bills that have been introduced in the Lords are immune from the Parliament Act - only Bills introduced in the Commons can be forced through by that means. The Government are extremely anxious for the Bill to receive Royal Assent by July. So it is entirely possible that, faced with a solid opposition in the Lords, they might make a concession on the entertainment licensing side. So we are definitely still in with a chance of the Lords amendments on small events and educational establishments, or variations of these amendments.

It is also possible that a version of these amendments will be introduced by Opposition MPs during Report/3rd Reading in the Commons, before the Bill goes back to the Lords. Not all Labour MPs are against the ideas in principle by any means: indeed both Bob Blizzard and Jim Knight have argued in favour of some kind of exemption.

Public pressure will determine to a great extent whether Labour MPs are receptive to the arguments for a 'de minimis' exemption permitting a limited amount of entertainment/live music before entertainment licensing kicks in. That is why it is extremely important for the MU and musicians to keep lobbying and talking to their constituency MPs.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 07:13 AM

You will be able to hear Dr Howells tonight, on the following site.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/

E mail addresses for contacting the show are to be found earlier in this thread.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 07:19 AM

I have sent the following -

Can he be asked, without referring to the 'incidental' amendment, which original words of the Bill, and which aspects of sessions now include them as licensable, and why he stated on the show that they would not be licensable - if they were unpaid etc?

It has still not been clearly established, which words of the Bill, and which aspects of sessions include them as licensable.

For despite the answer he gave to my question on his last appearance on the show, that they were not, it was Dr Howells' latest position that sessions were licensable. It is rather important to know this, for if as looks likely, we will have to rely only on guidance, as this will enable the focus to be correctly directed to enable sessions to be safe from ALL Local Authorities.

In yet another change, in the Common's Standing Committee on April 1st, Dr Howells now seems to be relying, to exempt sessions, on the imposed Lord's amendment extending the Government's own exemption for incidental recorded music - to now include live music.

Strangely, as it was the Government' who introduced the word to the Bill, they claim not to understand it and are not prepared to define the word, to enable the exemption to be of much practical use, other than to further confuse us all and to pass the buck right back to local authorities.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 04:01 PM

Now that was a complete waste of time.

This is the answer given to all the good questions from M H, Eliza Carthy and Billy Bragg.

Dr Howells: Now that was a very good question, and I am very glad you asked me that {because I have not got a very good answer - so I will just respond will the same old rubbish and go on and on, as dear old Mike hasn't a clue and is just going to let me do it}.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Nemesis
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 04:25 PM

Ditto, Shambles... complete bloody waste of time .. when ARE the BBC going to have this man in open debate with an pro-active analytical interviewer?

They do it to Government Ministers on other issues .. why do they soft-pedal on Howells ... frightened he's going to cut off their funding or something?

It just confirms my impression that Howells doesn't really have a clue at what is going on (doesn't even know who involved in putting the working party inclusions) It's Andrew Cunningham head to head with, say, Paxman they should put on ... on eg., Question Time with all of us in the audience!


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: sian, west wales
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 04:48 PM

Yes, MH just let us down something chronic.

Oh, to get a serious interviewer - John Humphries or someone - to really take him to pieces. How dare he talk about 'misinformation' from others when he was pumping it out left, right and centre!

sian


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: BanjoRay
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 08:15 PM

I thought Mike Harding was supposed to be on our side! I've just listened to the show on the net, because I missed it live. Mike seemed to have less clue about what it's all about than Howells, and that's saying something. It's a pity they only had tapes of Billy Bragg and Liza Carthy, and Howells on the end of a phone line - a totally live discussion between those three could have made a major difference - Howells has to be made to understand what's involved.
Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: jonm
Date: 10 Apr 03 - 03:22 AM

Can I suggest that the BBC's Andy Kershaw would make a good interviewer? He's sharp, shrewd, not afraid of anyone and has a strong background in music and knows its roots and traditions.

While I should love to see Howells demolished by Paxman or Humphries, I doubt either of these has the love of ethnic music or the appreciation of the Bill's implications to cut through the Government's current smoke-and-mirrors approach.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: DMcG
Date: 10 Apr 03 - 05:10 AM

Even the structure of the program was completely wrong. "Here's Billy Bragg's concerns - now lets play several minutes of music to allow you to forget the precise detail of what he said before we talk to the minister."


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 10 Apr 03 - 06:18 AM

As some mudcatters will know, I've never managed to get worked up by the PEL campaign. However I heard the Howells interview and must concur that Harding's handling of it was staggeringly incompetent. Utterly useless. An insult to those who had taken the trouble to put questions. (Shambles has given a fair indication of the answers he managed to elicit.)

The show is not a BBC production, but is bought in, so complaints would need to go to the commissioning editor, or the controller of BBC Radio 2. Or skip all that and write to the D-G, Greg Dyke. I hope someone does.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Apr 03 - 06:20 AM

As Mike Harding sent the following letter to The Guardian 17 Dec 2002, we could have at least expected him to ask Dr Howells why he was 'hoodwinked' the last time........And to actully push him for the answer, when he asked Howells the same question about sessions, this time.

· England is the only country I can think of that has virtually no respect for its own national culture. Here in Ireland, traditional music and dance in pubs is common and people are fiercely proud of their traditions. In the US, the Smithsonian has a massive archive of traditional music and pretty much every country in Europe has a government-sponsored centre keeping alive its traditional music.

Close to a million listeners tune in to my Radio 2 programme each Wednesday, 60,000 people go to the Sidmouth festival and hundreds of thousands go to Cambridge and the many other folk festivals about the country.

If this bill goes through, then music-making in our pubs will pretty much disappear, except for the juke box and kareoke machine: folk, Christmas carols, mummers plays, Morris dancing - all of them will become subject to control and licensing.

Kim Howells, the minister concerned, promised me on my programme that people making music in traditional sessions and folk clubs would not be penalised. It now looks as though I was hoodwinked. Why is this government so concerned with controlling every aspect of our lives? Why is a Labour government trying to kill the music of the people?

If this bill had been current 30 years ago, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart, Mark Knopfler, Donovan, Ewan McColl, Bob Dylan, Gerry Rafferty, Billy Connolly, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and the writers Willy Russell and Brian Jacques might all have had different careers, since all of them at some time served their dues in England's folk clubs.

This bill is an infringement of our rights as human beings to make music for the sheer joy of it - the very thing that fuelled so much of the early left in this country - and New Labour should hang its head in shame.
Mike Harding


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 08:35 PM

For gluttons for punishment, the show can be heard on the following -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/folk/mike_harding/index.shtml

The music is good anyway..............


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 10:57 AM

My only consolation in typing out yet more rubbish from Dr Howells (apart from the good contributions from Billy Bragg and Eliza) is that you - and those I hope you will circulate it to, will be made as angry reading it as was I writing it all out and that some good will come out of it.

BBC Radio 2 Mike Harding Show - 8th April 2003

Billy Bragg

BB: The most obvious way is that all performance will have to be licensed from now on. Today, you or I as a performer or anybody really as a performer can walk into any pub anywhere in the country and ask the landlord if they could sing. Either there or then or a quiet night next week, if he or she were sympathetic, they could make their mind up there and then..

MH: This is for no money at all?

BB: No money, you know just how all of us started out, a quiet night for a beer or something like that, to help to bring some punters into the pub. It would be up to the landlord and his discretion, providing that there were no more than two people performing. So for a solo performer, like myself, it would be fine.

Under the new licensing law, if it becomes law – the landlord would have to have a licence, So they would already have a licence or they would have to go and apply for a licence. Licence applications are complex things, they involve a lot of health and safety and also asking the neighbours, which I think is a good thing, fair enough, I have no problem with that. But it just makes it less likely that a landlord will give you a sympathetic nod. That's the thing that concerns me. I don't see how it can be more simple, than me going up to the landlord and he is going- OK son, come back next Tuesday, play in the corner there , with your guitar and we will take it from there.

Once this legislation comes in then landlords are going to have to make a decision when they apply for their licence, whether or not they want entertainment in the pub. If they leave it to later it is a whole rigmarole to go through. At the moment any pub can say - give you a green light and I can't see how when the new legislation comes in, it is going to be simpler than that. Some publicans will decide they do not want to have a performance licence, it will be out of the loop, it won't be down to there discretion or it will be down to the legislation. That is what concerns me.

MH: Have we any idea yet, how much this is going to cost?

BB: Yeah, it will depend on the size of the pub, £100 - £500 to get the licence and thereafter there will be annual inspections which will also cost money.

MH: What would you do say you were given 'carte blanche', say you were in Government now – what would you do?

BB: Very simple, I would bring in the regime they have in Scotland. No licence is needed provided the performance is secondary to the business. Which basically means that if you are running a 'boozer', someone playing in a corner – you don't need a licence for that, providing it ends at 11.30 in the evening. That encourages people to come in and play.

We are in a difficult situation, were I live in West Dorset we have a lot of rural pubs, where in summer it is not too much of a problem as a lot of people come down as we live in a very beautiful part of the country. In winter it is difficult to get people to come into the pubs so landlords are looking for ways, some do restaurants, some do quiz nights but having a few musicians coming in for a session in the corner, that's viable way of bringing people into the pub, by putting at the centre of the community and I think this is going to be less likely under this legislation.


Eliza Carthy

I represent a minority interest music and culture that is linked to the musical traditions and calendar ceremonies of England. Recent interest in the old Public Entertainment Licensing Bill caused the closure of many long-standing sessions, folk clubs and open 'mic' evenings. The local councils decided to err on the side of regulation and shut down mainly acoustic and informal evenings, depriving many areas of enjoyable small-scale live music events and frustrating and scattering local musicians.

It's no exaggeration to say that what the Government decides will effect the way tens of thousands of people watch and participate in the arts and the folk music of this country. I am sure you can appreciate the level of love-labour that goes into these kinds of things, it can take years to develop a regular crowd and atmosphere. Many landlords find that excessive levels of regulation, a deterrent to allowing people to play.

The musical community that I represent is fragile and marginalised in the media and in terms of funding, as it is. Advertised folk clubs maybe – they may charge a small fee on the door but I have never seen one run for profit. And I do not see them presenting a danger or an inconvenience to local residents or anyone.

Regular events, such as the Sheffield pubs carol singing tradition, which has been alive since the days of the old church bans, and the Whitsun and May Days celebrations deserve all of the support that the Government can give them. Not lumping them in with amplified rock nights whilst ignoring loud TV pubs. It simply does not provide these essential pastimes with a level playing field – and worse – in effect this picks off the weak, leaving commercial concerns unmolested.

In the lasts two years, sessions and folk clubs have been raided by plain-clothes police officers and closed with the threat of prosecution from their local councils. This is our precedent – this is what we are worried about. Issuing guidelines is NOT enough because the wording of the Bill is very clear. They will close us down.

MH: >Snip< How can you see sessions best protected under the terms of the Bill?

Dr Kim Howells: Thanks for giving me the opportunity Mike, because I must have signed a thousand letters I would think, mainly coming in from MPs but from very very worried people out there, that they're going to see their venues disappear and it is something I feel very strongly about, because I want them to thrive and proliferate not disappear.

Now the Bill as it stands- what we want to do in it is this. We say look when a licensee, and remember its not only pubs its all sorts of things restaurants, cinemas anywhere that sells alcohol, right. When somebody applies for a Premises Licence – that is a licence to sell alcohol, they won't any longer go along to the magistrates court, they will go along to the Licensing Committee of the local authority, they are going to be the new alcohol licensing authority. And they will go along there and say I would like a licence to sell alcohol, at such and such a building, and I also want to put on some entertainment.

At the moment, if you do that, and you have to pay a very large amount of money very often, in order to be allowed an entertainment. Now we are doing away with that. By ticking a box, or writing a few lines out on a bit of paper, you would say, I would like to have entertainment and this is roughly what I want to put on.

And it can vary of course between the situation as it is at the moment where you are allowed two musicians but not more. Or you might say I want a silver band to play in there, the local authority as the licensing authority, unless they have got some very serious objection, must grant you the right to do that. They cannot charge you a penny more than it costs for the licence to sell alcohol. So we are doing away with that separate entertainment licence, and what I think what that does it make it much easier for venues to stage music. It makes it much cheaper and puts everybody on the same even keel and it does away with a system which everybody has told us is crazy, and that is the 'two-in-a-bar-rule'.

MH: Do you not perhaps think that the Scottish model is a good one here? Where they just say well if the music is incidental to the business of the building i.e. if it is a pub or a restaurant there to serve food or drink whatever. If it is incidental in Scotland you do not need any kind of a licence and it is free and we are at liberty to make our music?

KH: We looked very hard at the Scottish model Mike, and what we heard off them was that they are reviewing their licensing law at the moment, for a whole range of reasons. But they also had system there where you were allowed to put on incidental music up until the end of what we call permitted drinking hours, which are roughly 11 or 11.30 in Scotland, and the after that they could curtail music with a by-law or whatever. Now I don't think that happened very often and it seems to work pretty well in Scotland.

We decided to do it differently- whether we are right or not is still a matter for debate. We thought it would be simpler to put everybody on the same even keel so you wouldn't have to keep going back all the time to licensing authorities and say, look I have changed my mind about what kind of music I want to put on – I would rather do this or end it like this time. That will all be in the initial application and err. And we think that is a better way forward because it is simpler.

MH: OK I know that in the Lords they are recommending that small events, say less than 250 people and ending at 11.30pm shouldn't need a licence. Well can't we go the continental way and just be really civilised?

KH: Well Mike in a way we are – I've got to tell you, the amendment that was carried in the House of Lords on setting a maximum figure of 250 people is in my view completely 'barmy'. And we not going to go down that road I mean because it rips all sorts of other time bombs in what can and can't be put on and so on, for children and things. That's a real problem Don't forget we have had a big lobby from the music industry, and quite properly. They have been worried about it, we have no explained it very well and I think there has been a lot of misinformation around as well, which kind of got my back up and so on. You will be glad to know that we are working closely now with the Musician's Union, we are going to issue joint leaflets and so on, which will let the landlords and licensees know – what we are proposing is, right?

Can I say this? The great problem I think with saying look, why don't we just dance all night, is that there is another lobby out there and that other lobby out there are the millions and millions of people who live close to venues who may or may not put on music. So what you have to try and do is to walk that tightrope and try and get the balance right between the needs of musicians and venues in which they can express themselves and enjoy themselves and the need to live side by side with the communities around them. And that's not an easy one to do really.

The reason why that 'two-in-a bar-rule' existed of course is because somebody had the idea a very long time ago that two musicians can make a racket but nothing like enough to disturb the neighbours, whereas three and four and five - you are starting to push it a bit. Now what has made a mockery of all of that is a guy turning up with a karaoke machine with a massive amplifier. Suddenly the game is very different, generally that is the thinking behind licensing music.

Billy Bragg

We down here in West Dorset are encouraging our young people, we have a thing called ZEST, which is a monthly gig for under-18 year-olds. Local musicians to come along and play in our arts centre. It is completely controlled and run by the youth service, there is no licensed drink there at all. But a lot of those people are getting really confident not just about performing but also song writing and they are going to go out from this programme and look for somewhere to play in a local pub. Not a big gig where there is a huge PA, but just in a little room in a pub where they can get their confidence up and play their own songs maybe to their peers or people who come in to the pub, the classic folk situation.

How is that going to be made more simple under this legislation if any pub landlord can give a green light to that now, at 24 hours notice – yes you can play. How is this legislation, whereby that performance will need a licence – how is that going to be made simpler under this legislation?

KH: I think that Billy's question is a very important one. We want the new licensing regime to open up opportunities for young musicians and I assume that the young people that Billy has mentioned are only playing in duets at most or as solo artists because and there are only two of them playing during an evening. otherwise they would need a separate licence now, under the existing law.

Now I think that has got to be stressed and they won't under the Bill you see. That is why we believe the existing regime is damaging live music, because performances with three or four musicians are associated with extra costs and administration and we are going to do away with all that. Abolishing the 'two-in-a-bar-rule' I think will promote more flexibility and diversity in the performance of live music and give young people the opportunity to perform, not simply as solo artists and duets but as part of bigger groups and that has got to be a good thing, I think   

Eliza Carthy

It's kind of two questions really. Why is it necessary to regulate everything we do, including our music? I don't understand why informal acoustic evenings need to be regulated. I don't see what danger they represent and I want to know what danger it is that Dr Howells thinks that these evenings represent? That's the question.


KH: Now that's a good question. I think that they only represent everything that's finest in British singing and in folk and I certainly want to encourage it, not to regulate it out of activity.

But remember what we are doing here now, What we are doing, right is trying to do away with a system, and I know I am going on about this a lot Mike. But we are trying to do away with a system which we think is distorting live music in this country by limiting the number of musicians or singers to just two. Now all we are asking, and we have got a job of explanation to do, I know that. All we are asking is that every venue that wants to put entertainment on - simply as part of getting that licence, ticks a boc or writes a couple of sentences there. Saying look, we are an important music venue or we want music as part of the attraction to bring customers in or whatever it is.

And that is not a huge step to take, you know it's not rocket science, it's not bureaucratic, it is simply doing away with the 'two-in-a-bar-rule' and putting everybody on the same footing.

I really hope that people understand that we are expecting local authorities moreover, and it will be in the guidance that we put out with the Bill, to come up with ways of encouraging the creative industries, and there is nothing more creative than music and singing. And that they recognise that this industry is as important as almost any other than we have got in this country. The music industry brings us as much money in, more money in than the steel industry does or anything else. It's not just a kind of one-off regulation, it's part of a much wider attempt by Government to galvanise the industry and make it much healthier than it is at the moment by doing away with these silly anomalies.

MH: Who is going to be on the working party, are there going to be any folkies on it, some people from the folk music world drafted in?

KH: Oh yes, absolutely Mike, and it's very important that we have a good mix of people representing all types of music. So far we have The British Beer and Pub Association, The Local Government Association, The Musician's Union, The National Campaign for the Arts, The Arts Council for Wales, Equity. The Arts Council for England and The English Folk Dance and Song Society. I very much welcome the input from anybody whose got a view on this one.

MH: Would there any chance of getting some performers, a sort of a representative from gigging musicians on your group, somebody like Eliza, for example?

KH: Well I don't see why not, I don't know who is working on drafting people into it at the moment but I'm sure that they would welcome very much, any interest that is shown by people, you know.


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Subject: RE: PELs Dr Howells on Mike Harding Show.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 02:41 AM

The reason why that 'two-in-a bar-rule' existed of course is because somebody had the idea a very long time ago that two musicians can make a racket but nothing like enough to disturb the neighbours, whereas three and four and five - you are starting to push it a bit.

Now what has made a mockery of all of that is a guy turning up with a karaoke machine with a massive amplifier. Suddenly the game is very different, generally that is the thinking behind licensing music.


Sigh!


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