mudcat.org: Radio 4 & Licensing
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2]


Radio 4 & Licensing

Don(Wyziwyg)T 03 Jul 05 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 03 Jul 05 - 01:03 PM
ET 03 Jul 05 - 11:51 AM
ET 02 Jul 05 - 01:51 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 02 Jul 05 - 01:10 PM
The Shambles 02 Jul 05 - 10:12 AM
ET 02 Jul 05 - 05:08 AM
ET 02 Jul 05 - 04:37 AM
The Shambles 02 Jul 05 - 03:02 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 01 Jul 05 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 01 Jul 05 - 02:40 PM
ET 01 Jul 05 - 01:48 PM
Grab 01 Jul 05 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 01 Jul 05 - 05:46 AM
GUEST 30 Jun 05 - 09:39 AM
Nick 30 Jun 05 - 09:21 AM
The Shambles 30 Jun 05 - 09:05 AM
The Shambles 30 Jun 05 - 08:55 AM
ET 30 Jun 05 - 08:49 AM
ET 30 Jun 05 - 08:46 AM
GUEST 30 Jun 05 - 08:37 AM
The Shambles 30 Jun 05 - 08:18 AM
The Shambles 30 Jun 05 - 08:09 AM
DMcG 30 Jun 05 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,Grab 30 Jun 05 - 07:51 AM
The Shambles 30 Jun 05 - 03:52 AM
Roger the Skiffler 30 Jun 05 - 03:51 AM
GUEST 29 Jun 05 - 07:37 PM
Tradsinger 29 Jun 05 - 06:52 PM
GUEST 29 Jun 05 - 05:41 PM
ET 29 Jun 05 - 03:18 PM
ET 29 Jun 05 - 03:10 PM
Tone d'F 29 Jun 05 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 29 Jun 05 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,jOhn 29 Jun 05 - 12:03 PM
mooman 29 Jun 05 - 11:59 AM
mooman 29 Jun 05 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,jOhn 29 Jun 05 - 11:53 AM
The Shambles 29 Jun 05 - 11:43 AM
The Shambles 29 Jun 05 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 29 Jun 05 - 09:45 AM
ET 29 Jun 05 - 09:18 AM
Nick 29 Jun 05 - 09:06 AM
GUEST,jOhn 29 Jun 05 - 08:58 AM
rhyzla 29 Jun 05 - 08:55 AM
woodsie 29 Jun 05 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Jon 29 Jun 05 - 06:10 AM
DMcG 29 Jun 05 - 06:05 AM
The Shambles 29 Jun 05 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,Jon 29 Jun 05 - 05:55 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 03 Jul 05 - 02:37 PM

I have copies here of letters received over more than one year in response to my mailings to Tony Blair, Kim Howells, Tessa Jowell, and Ronnie Bridgett (DCMS).

Let me tell you, it was more like talking to the DEAD, from the neck up at least.

Don T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 03 Jul 05 - 01:03 PM

These issues were all pretty obvious before the act went through Parliament. Its a pity that the media waited until now to raise the matters.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: ET
Date: 03 Jul 05 - 11:51 AM

Live 8 was quite a piece of live music. Next year it will need many occasional permissions! Anyone fancy trying Sir Bobs website? Its managed by an agent company that says some things it will bring to his attention. He seems to have the ear of Mr B(laiar). Maybe he could arrange to have the legislation amended to exclude live music from Licensing Controls and leave it to the mercy of health and safety legislation etc?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: ET
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 01:51 PM

Well said Don. Thats exactly what the Government think. Try logging on to ciforum@culture.gsi.gov.uk and tell the DCMS this. And let Fergal Sharkey know! I have ontacted DCMS on this and many other similar aspects during the course of the Bill (now an Act) but it is like talking to the (tone) deaf.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 01:10 PM

And will he be able, in a year or two, to undo the damage done to live music in particular.

As a folk club organiser, I have been promoting live music for 45 years, but if I'm driven out by this disastrous hotch potch of mistake and mismanagement, I will be very unlikely to want to start all over again in say 2008.

It is already very difficult for musicians to get bookings, as there are too few venues now. How does our idiot government come to the conclusion that killing off potential venues by over regulation will improve matters?

Don T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 10:12 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Yesterday (Fri 01 July) licensing minister James Purnell again made extremely misleading claims about the Licensing Act and live music. This time it was 'You and Yours' on BBC Radio 4.

He says, for example, that, once they get the new licence, licensees will 'never have to apply again'. But if the original application had, as required, set down the days and times of performance as, for example, jazz band Sunday 12-3pm, folk duo on Thursday and Friday, 8-10pm, this then becomes a condition of the licence. So live music on any other day or time is illegal. To change this the licensee would have to go through the whole variation application process again, plus costs.

Note that the cost of advertising the variation application, required for most bars and restaurants wanting live music, was over £250 for the village hall featured in this report.

This is a 20-minute piece looking at the problems people are already experiencing across a wide range of activities and venues (see rather long transcript below).

BBC R4 'You and Yours' - Friday 01 July 2005
Licensing Act - problems


PRESENTER: The new Licensing Act comes into force in November this year. Applications for licences have to made to local authorities by the 6th of August. So far most of the discussions have been around the effects the changes will have on pubs, introducing more flexible opening hours and paving the way for 24-hour drinking. But the impact goes far beyond. Every village hall, golf club, local shop, school. Any venue which sells alcohol at any time will need a new licence. The Act is supposed to tackle alcohol related crime and disorder, strengthen protection for children, and move responsibility for granting licences from magistrates to local authorities. The minister responsible for implementing the Act is James Purnell, minister for licensing. So how will this new Act improve on the current situation?

JAMES PURNELL: Well I think there's been a big er misunderstanding about this Act. People have said that it's about 24-hour drinking. And in fact it's not and never was. The um, two main things this Act are going to do is first of all give much more power to local communities to deal with any problems they feel exist in their local area about, um, alcohol-fueled violence or noise caused by pubs or any worries people have around the sale of alcohol. And on the other hand er, for those, er, pubs and restaurants which operate well, give them more flexibility about er, about how they trade. Er, in particular they can apply for longer hours, although no-one, er as far as we know virtually no-one's applied for 24-hours. Um, but you know just generally it makes it easier for people to put on live music, easier for them to serve food later on at night. So it's a combination of more flexibility for the responsible majority, and then more powers to crack down on the minority that do cause problems.

PRESENTER: Now the British Beer and Pub Association has told us that it broadly supports the Act partly because it amalgamates six different licensing regimes into one. Presumably that should cut down on bureaucracy for pubs in the long run.

PURNELL: In the long run it will, yes. We've calculated that over ten years the savings to industry will be about two billion pounds. Erm, in the short term however it does mean that we are having to through this process of amalgamating those six regimes. And in effect people transfering the licences that they had previously into the new Act and that does mean, er, filling in a form and providing some information. Er, you know, the light at the end of that tunnel is that they can then know that they'll never have to apply for a licence again. Erm, so there is a big saving in the long term. There's a lot more flexibility for them in how they run their establishments. But in the short term there is a hurdle to be overcome and we don't minimise that.

PRESENTER: As you've said in the short term there is quite a hurdle to be got over. And a lot of the other organisations that we've talked to are less than happy with the application process. Mark Holstock has been to one corner of Northumberland where people feel that their very way of life is under threat because of these new rules.

MARK HOLSTOCK: The village of Felton is about 20 miles north of Newcastle, it's just off the main A1 road through to Scotland. And this building here is at the very heart of the village, the village hall. Sylvia Harrison's chairman of the management committee that runs its.

SYLVIA HARRISON: At the moment we're in the main hall, a big room with a stage at one end. We can seat 180 people in here, which we very often do actucally when there' s a big function going on.

[sound of music - keep fit class]

SYLVIA HARRISON continued: There's something in the hall every day. We have a history society, WI, brownies, scouts, cubs, keep-fit, bowls, all kinds of stuff. And I think it's an essential facility for this village.

MARK HOLSTOCK: Although activities like the keep-fit classes generate some income for the hall, social events such as weddings and parties where alcohol can be sold, are vital. Until now, all that Sylvia and her committee had to do to run a bar here from this serving hatch at the end of the main hall, was to apply to the local magistrates for an 'occasional licence'. From November things change dramatically.

SYLVIA HARRISON: We have always had a public entertainment licence. It is now being called a 'premises licence'. Because we want to include things like the pantomime we are 'varying' it which gives us this 24-page, 26-page actually, load of nonsense which some civil servant has thought up. We can only have 12 events a year at which alcohol is sold. We must put a notice in the local paper. That has cost us 223 pounds and 25 p. In addition to the licensing department of the local authority who we are sending our application to, we also have to send it to the local planning department in exactly the same building as the licensing, environmental health, the police, the fire, the child protection and trading standards. And some of the questions they ask. We are having to say 'what are we doing to prevent crime and disorder'. I mean, give me a break, this is a village hall, this isn't a huge club on the quayside in Newcastle.

MARK HOLSTOCK: Well, one of the clubs which uses the hall is Carpet Bowls. Their chairman Peter Cook says the way the new rules are being applied has descended into farce.

PETER COOK: One anomaly we had was that the bowls club actually have a presentation dinner every year. And I went along to a seminar at Amble and asked the person there 'Now, we're giving the wine away, do we need a licence?'. 'Oh yes, you're supplying the wine and you need a licence'. And I said 'But this is ridiculous we've done it for years and never used a licence'. I said 'OK, I'll buy the wine and I'll stand outside the door and as people come in I'll give them a bottle'. 'Oh you don't need a licence then'. So, you know, it's a ludicrous sort of Act, it just really doesn't fit the village hall rural scene.

MARK HOLSTOCK: And a restriction on the number of events serving alcohol could cause serious financial problems for the hall, especially when it comes to money-spinners like wedding receptions.

SYLVIA HARRISON: I reckon we have between 15 and 20 events a year where alcohol is sold. If we are reduced to 12 we are going to lose, we reckon, between £50 and £100 an event. So we could lose five or six hundred pounds at least a year, and that, for anybody who's tried to raise money will know, takes a lot of raising.

MARK HOLSTOCK: Sylvia, one of the options for you would be to go for a full alcohol licence so that you could serve alcohol whenever you wanted to, just like any normal pub. Why don't you do that?

SYLVIA HARRISON: Because the cost of doing that would be another £330 plus, and we simply cannot afford to go that way. We have to get somebody who's prepared to go on a two-day training course to get the licence that they need. That would cost £175 for the two days. We are all after all volunteers here. Nobody earns anything. In fact its costs most of us quite a bit to actually do what we're doing. We're also very busy people and nobody has the time certainly to go away and spend two days on a training course to find out, to learn something, that they really don't want to do in the first place.

MARK HOLSTOCK: But it isn't just the village hall which is having problems. Felton is lucky enough to still have a village shop. John and Julie Kingsley have been here for eight years. And in this corner just behind the counter there's a small off-licence section. And, just like the village hall, the shop has had to apply for a new licence.

JOHN KINGSLEY: [serving customer] 77 pennies young man. There's so much paperwork that I have to fill in and a lot of it's just mumbo-jumbo, and it doesn't actually apply to me, being a small village shop. Me and Mrs went through it, filled it in the best we could. There's no way we could fill it in on our own. So I went to the council and even she couldn't understand most of it. And I have to go back to run through it again to make sure it's still right, that it is right.

MARK HOLSTOCK: [sound of golf club striking ball] This is Tynemouth Golf Club, which is set in a rather leafy suburb of Tyneside. It's not one of the north east's wealthiest clubs and the new regulations are proving quite a drain on its finances. The problem for golf clubs up and down the country isn't what happens out there on the course. It's what happens when people playing golf want to come to the 19th hole to have a little refreshment afterwards. Tim Scott is the Secretary of Tynemouth Club.

TIM SCOTT: It's a very attractive bar. We overlook the course. It's a vital income line to us, in addition to the golf club subscriptions. The problem is that at this stage we're not entirely certain that we can serve alcohol to casual visitors. The legislation, as it's written at the present time, appears to prevent us from selling alcohol in that way, inasmuch as we need to post their names some 48 hours before they are due to attend, which as I'm sure you appreciate is quite impractical.

MARK HOLSTOCK: What kind of advice have you received from the authorities on this?

TIM SCOTT: Conflicting views. We wrote via our local MP and had a reply from Richard Caborn which indicated that the initial understanding was perhaps not as stringent as we thought.

MARK HOLSTOCK: But it's not just the confusion over whether visitors will be allowed to buy a drink in this bar which is causing problems. There's also a considerable cost involved for this club in applying for the licence in the first place.

TIM SCOTT: We also are required to submit plans of the premises. Now it's quite expensive having those plans drawn up and having them checked. Without looking at the amount of man-hours involved, which has been quite considerable, I would say at this stage we'd be looking at a figure of around about £2,000 by the time the application is finally submitted.

MARK HOLSTOCK: £2,000. It's a golf club. It is a sport of the affluent. Surely £2,000 is not going to hurt you very much?

TIM SCOTT: No, I quite disagree. It is going to hurt us. There is a huge over-capacity in the golf club business at the present time. We do not have full membership, and £2,000 is a significant amount of money for us to be faced with.

PRESENTER: Tim Scott talking to Mark Holstock. James Purnell, the minister for licensing, was listening to that. Mr Purnell there are a lot of unhappy people there. You've heard the points they've had to make. A major theme that's cropped with almost all the other people we've spoken to is how complicated, how often costly it is to go through this process. David Short, who has been a landlord of the Queen's Head in Cambridgeshire for the past 40 years, said that if his son hadn't come into the pub he himself would have taken early retirement by now, because the process is so complicated. He wants an application form which is understandable to any reasonably intelligent person.

JAMES PURNELL: Well, the general point is, yes we do recognise that there is a burden, and people getting their applications in at this stage. But once they've done so they will then never have to apply for a licence again. And under the current regime there are all sorts of anomalies and all sorts of antiquated rules which do mean that, day to day, people facing restrictions. So people have to run off to the magistrates courts every time they want to extend their hours; they have to, um er, face, for example, for public entertainment some local authorities charge thousands of pounds for public entertainment licences. So, the regime once it's in will be much simpler for people to operate. But, um I mean, on village halls, we are working very very closely with the organisation that represents village halls. And er, you know, people have to choose between either going for the regime of having 12 Temporary Events, which is a very light touch regime, or if they do go for um er a licence, that will be a fee... I was surprised that your, um er, listener was saying they were paying £330 pounds a year because most village halls will be paying er £70 or £170 something like that every year. And if for example they were having a public entertainment licence before, in some areas that can be hundreds of pounds. So, er, some village halls will be saving money. The great advantage for them is that they won't be having to go off to the magistrate to get these licences every time they want to, they want to hold a wedding or a reception. And that can be £10 or £25 a go, so it is definitely - we recognise that for volunteers there is a challenge getting those forms in, we don't disagree with that. But if they do go out and get a licence we feel that it will be easier for them to operate because they will be able to put on whatever events they want to after that and they will never have to reapply for that licence.

PRESENTER: They may never have to reapply for the licence but I have got a copy of this form in front of me. It is 26 pages long, there is also a booklet that goes with it that explains, and I think it runs to some 60 pages, which explains how to fill this form in. Now on your websites there is a list of forms which in itself runs to two A4 pages of possible forms that you could apply for. This is not simple. And volunteers have been telling us that they've had to spend weeks of their time, plus there is all the additional information that is required in order to fill in the form in the first place.

JAMES PURNELL: Well that goes back to the point we made at the start of the programme about going down from six regimes to one. So, there are lots of different regimes at the moment and to able to cope with all the varied people we are talking about here, from circuses to village halls, pubs to nightclubs, restaurants to kebab shops you had to have guidance which would cover all of them. You had to have forms that covered all of them. But the typical organisation converting their current licence to the new regime would only have to fill in seven pages, and quite often can use existing forms. There are people who are exception to that, we recognise that, but overall, er, there is no way people have to fill in hundreds and hundreds of pages. It's, you know, it is a seven page form for most people.

PRESENTER: However, it does seem at the moment, and you yourself have said, er, on more than one occasion, you think something to be the case, it does seem that at the moment there is an awful lot of confusion. People like John and Julie Kingsley who run that village shop in Felton that we just heard about went to their local authority for help only to find that even the local authority doesn't know what's going on. The golf club secretary Tim Scott said he got conflicting advice from his local MP and his local authority. You yourself are talking about 'red herrings', and 'an awful lot of ironing out needs to be done'. Surely therefore that would indicate that perhaps we should be taking longer about bringing this Act into force.

JAMES PURNELL: Well that's just a normal process with any piece of legislation you will have things which people need to get to grips with at the beginning. And that's partly the nature of this Act, which is to devolve power to local communities, means that you will have a variety of interpretations, erm, between different local authorities and with, you know, different people raising different problems, so that the issue in Tynemouth may be very different from the issue in the centre of Birmingham. And this legislation is flexible enough to do that.

PRESENTER: Let's come back to this question about fees. Let me take another example, Hitchen Boys School Parents' Society, the chair is Kate Hart. She contacted us. They have got to pay £635 for their licence when they previously paid £16 to sell drinks at fund raising events. Now, that is because the fee is based on the value of the entire school premises. Is that really reasonable, when perhaps the school is using the school hall, a small fraction of the school premises, in order occasionally to sell drinks? And is it reasonable that a third of all the money that's made for school funds will end up going to pay for the licence?

JAMES PURNELL: You know the key point we tried to come up with a system which is as simple as possible to calculate the amount of fees. If we had a system.. we looked into having a system which was based on something more sophisticated, like the amount of alcohol sold for example. But then the cost of administering that system ends up being so expensive that everyone overall has to, has to pay more. So, we went for a system which was relatively simple based on the rateable value of the premises. That does mean that in some cases you do get erm, you do get rough justice. But it means that overall the system is simpler to operate and cheaper to operate..

PRESENTER: But what....

JAMES PURNELL: We have committed, however, to having a review of that system which is going to report er, in mid-November. So if there are concerns about that, they can be looked into.

PRESENTER: Can the government really justify standing behind an independent review panel in the future, when people are telling them, and have been telling them long before the Act comes into force, that there are these problems. And even MPs are arguing that these should be addressed now.

JAMES PURNELL: Well, we made lots and lots of amendments as this Bill went through Parliament. We listened to lots of things that people said. It's a very different Act from the one that went in. And it's absolutely right for government to be reviewing the legislation after it's come in, which is exactly the way we always do that. You have to look at evidence before you make any changes so it's completely normal procedure.

PRESENTER: The Association of Small Direct Wine Merchants have also contacted us. Warne Edwards says that one online retailer he knows has a storage unit which is only 65 square feet, but it's in a warehouse. And the fee he will have to pay will be the same as the local hypermarket, three times the fee for a typical local pub, because his fee will be based on the entire rateable value of that warehouse. Now, if the independent review panel finds in future that a fee like that was unreasonable, will people like the Small Direct Wine Merchants get that money back?

JAMES PURNELL: Well we would look at changing the fee if that was the case, but I, I'm not sure we could do that retrospectively. So, you know, there may be an issue there and we could look at it through the erm, through the panel. The key point about warehouses is, is actually on the other side of this er, this particular field, I get quite a lot of people coming to me and saying that in their area they're getting alcohol being sold over the internet and over the phone with no regulation to people under-age, causing real problems with antisocial behaviour and that was an area that could be totally unregulated before. So, in all of this Act we are having to tread a balance between dealing with people's concerns about binge-drinking and alcohol-fueled violence, whilst also having a system that is fair and isn't overly regulatory. So, you know, it is, it's a new Act, and will clearly be with any new piece of legislation there will be things which will need to be looked at, based on experience. But overall the Act is going to help giving people more powers to deal with binge-drinking.

PRESENTER: Only 20% of the forms have been filled in to date. Um, and as we've said before there are many volunteers out there spending days and days on filling them in. If come August the 6th many of those applications still aren't lodged, or if the local authorities aren't able to deal with them in time because of the backlog, will you extend time limits.

JAMES PURNELL: We won't extend the August the 6th deadline. Erm, but if people.. because we just can't under primary legislation. If people have missed the August 6th deadline then they do have an opportunity to apply to get a new licence. And so that instead of converting their existing licence they will be appyling as if they were a new organisation, and they then have until November the 24th to get that licence in. The key thing I would say to all of your listeners is do try and meet that August 6th deadline because it is a um, it's a simpler process, erm but if they do miss that then they do need to concentrate on getting the application in well in time so it can be processed before November 24th.

PRESENTER: And come November are we likely to see many premises then unable to carry on operating if they don't have a licence?

JAMES PURNELL: Well not if they get their licence, but you know obviously anyone who doesn't get their licence would be at risk of being prosecuted for trading illegally in the same way that if you didn't fill in your tax form, for example, you would be putting yourself at risk legally that way as well. So it is people's responsibility to fill in those forms. It is our responsibility of raising awareness and learn any lessons from the legislation. But overall I am confident that people will see in a year or two's time that this is an improvement on the really archaic and confused system that we had before.

PRESENTER: Archaic and confused as opposed to what we are being told is, um, farcical by the people who are having to apply. Isn't this just all a matter of unintended consequences that you are now having to deal with?

JAMES PURNELL: Well, you will always get unintended consequences of a big piece of legislation like this. As I say you are going down from six regimes to one. It's something which affects a wide range of licensees. But it is a much better piece of legislation than the framework we had before. It will help make for a better-run, more flexible alcohol industry, it will help public entertainment. And, you know, we will er, you know, we will be happy to be judged in year or two's time, on whether this legislation is an improvement or not.

PRESENTER: James Purnell, minister for licensing.

ENDS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: ET
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 05:08 AM

I have listened with care to the you and yours broadcast. Clearly many organisations are having trouble with the paperwork and fees. James Parnell says "we wil be happy to be judged on this legislation in a years time".   Judged how? By closed premises, the end of traditional music in pubs?

I have heard the Ministerial line so many times about flexibility and encouragement of live music. It is a long way from the reality of the Act.

I do think however that a fundamental part of humanity is the creative urge and somehow or other making music (and drama and comedy) etc will rise above New Labour controls.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: ET
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 04:37 AM

The Government is currently having a go at comedy under its Incitement to Religeous Hatred Bill - any a serise of high protest comics are up in arms - comics that have previously ben staunch labour supporters.

I have heard a sucession of high profile musicians on the Live 8 issue. I wonder if any of them (including Sir Bob) remember their starting roots and if they are aware of the Governments attack on live music? If so when live 8 is over what about a campaign?   Does anyone have any influential connections?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 03:02 AM

On BBC Radio 4 today (Friday 1st July), on "You and Yours" there was a long item on the new licensing regime with Minister - James Purnell.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours/listenagain/friday.shtml

He is still misleading the public. Claims that any intitial time and trouble spent filling in the application for the ONE licence will only have to be done once - ignore the fact that The Premises Licence is only valid for the life of the business - in that form - and will have to be varied for any changes. And that the Personal Licence needs to be renewed every 10 years. He also makes no distinction between the one-off payment for the Premises Licence and the annual inspection charge.

When talking of the cost of presenting entertainment - he make no mention of the additional cost of PRS/PPL licenses. Not his remit perhaps - but a real addition to the total cost - when talking of any incentives to make presenting entertainment cheaper or easier.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 01 Jul 05 - 03:12 PM

"A few hours spread over a week to read and understand the whole licensing system"

A bit simplistic don't you think Grab?

This legislation has been under serious discussion for upwards of five years, and even the Government don't ubderstand it. They are relying on the courts to interpret the finer points, and no two lawyers seem to be in agreement as to the correct interpretation.

What kind of qualifications does a man have to achieve to be a publican in your local area?

Don T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 01 Jul 05 - 02:40 PM

Sure is. If they don't want all the extra trade that live music brings in, that's 100% their choice. If it's not worth 10 minutes of their time to fill in the extra boxes on the form, or a few hours spread over a week to read and understand the whole licensing system, that's totally up to them. And it lets you know exactly how much they care about their customers.

The fact is that providing live music is a trade-off and will always remain a bit of a gamble for small premises. If the only factor and expense involved in making the application to provide live music was the Premises Licence - that would be bad enough and sad enough for the future and roots of music. But it is not. On top of paying for any required improvements and extra Health and Safety measures - is paying for the PRS/PPL licence and the cost of paying the performers and extra staff.

When (as now) 95% of premises did not hold entertainment permission - it did not matter so much - as it was still possible for some form of live music to take place. However, as of now - only 20% have made the new Premises Licence application (that will enable them to continue to sell alcohol) and obtaining this (in time and alone) will be the main concern for most licensees - without them considering even more paperwork and more delay.

I suggest that it is less judgement of others and more realism that is required by performers, organisers and enthusiasts - at this point. The future for live music in or pubs and clubs - is not looking very bright - if any form of live music will be illegal in the majority of them and premises are deterred from applying - for any reason.

Not forgetting of course that if local authorities do not issue Premises Licenses for (their own owned) public spaces - no live music, mummers plays or Punch and Judy shows will be able to take place ay all (except of course Morris Dancing)..


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: ET
Date: 01 Jul 05 - 01:48 PM

There is some interesting stuff here. I urge all to sign up to the Ministers discussion forum and put the wind up him about the effect of his legislation on music tradition. He talks about culture creating 8% of UK wealth then tries to kill its roots - inadvertently he would say.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: Grab
Date: 01 Jul 05 - 12:17 PM

Got my cookie back (working offsite and couldn't do the login thing).

I can see issues for particular small clubs or pubs that have impromptu sessions - how do you know which day and time. Perhaps they should cover all by refering to music daily - just end it around midnight to be safer?

Yeah, that's definitely one thing to think about. But if I was filling in the form, I know I'd be asking for everything I could get (dancing, live music, the lot), just in case I ever wanted to do it.

However we may choose to judge them - the fact remains that it is a lot easier for a licensee to choose NOT to fill in the extra sections.

Sure is. If they don't want all the extra trade that live music brings in, that's 100% their choice. If it's not worth 10 minutes of their time to fill in the extra boxes on the form, or a few hours spread over a week to read and understand the whole licensing system, that's totally up to them. And it lets you know exactly how much they care about their customers.

Graham.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 01 Jul 05 - 05:46 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

The Today programme yesterday (30 June 2005) leaves no doubt that the licensing minister is misleading the public. Here's a link to an MP3 file:

http://www.jazzdj.co.uk/LiveMusicBill2.mp3

Purnell's claims that having live music under the new regime is just a 'tick box', 'much easier' and that 'you won't have to pay any more' are false. Indeed, whatever the cost of possible licence conditions, or legal representation at a public hearing to consider local objections, landlords 'ticking the box' immediately incur the cost of the required public advertisement declaring their intention to host live music.

The 6th August deadline means that licensees have 37 days from today in which to complete and submit their applications to convert, or convert and vary, their existing licences. According to the most optimistic estimates, 80% have yet to do this.

Variation will be required for most bars and restaurants intending to provide regular live music - even for solo, unamplified performers. But given the problems highlighted by the Today programme, and the log-jam of last minute applications, what proportion of licensed premises will risk a problematic variation? 20%? 40%?

The vast majority of pubs, bars and restaurants do not have public entertainment licences. So, even if 40% make variation applications for live music before 6th August, and even if they all get the permission they seek (unlikely), would it be acceptable that 60% of such venues could not promote a gig by one musician, except under a Temporary Event Notice not more than 12 times a year? Is it acceptable that organising such entertainment without a licence should be a criminal offence, punishable by potentially high fines and a prison sentence?

One voice notable for its absence in the Today reports was that of the Musicians' Union. The BBC told me, however, that in preparing the Today 'two in a bar' pieces, the MU had been asked for its view.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 09:39 AM

Thanks Nick.

The following from the DCMS site

The creative industries are a major success story - they account for about 8% of our economy. I want your views on what more we can do to build on this success. To ensure a genuine and informed debate, I am going to write to you regularly with updates on what DCMS is doing to promote the creative industries.

I also want to hear your opinions about any creative industries-related issue or event which you think is important.

To participate in the discussion all you have to do is register by sending an email with your name to ciforum@culture.gsi.gov.uk

You will be registered within the day (or next working day if a weekend) and you will receive a confirmation email with your login details.

Once you have registered the forum can be accessed through our collaboration website.

I look forward to hearing your views.
James Purnell MP, Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: Nick
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 09:21 AM

James has a Creative forum which you can contribute to on the DCMS site at DCMS Creative Discussion Forum which will give reasonably direct access.

As his aim in his speech is to foster the creative industries etc and achieve creative excellence blah blah then one would guess he would not wish to restrict our musical heritage


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 09:05 AM

Oh what a shame. I've read that form - anyone who takes more than 10 minutes to fill out those extra sections should give up running a pub on the grounds they're too damn thick.

However we may choose to judge them - the fact remains that it is a lot easier for a licensee to choose NOT to fill in the extra sections.

The result of licensees choosing this far easier option - is that any live music will not be permitted in these premises - (except music for Morris Dancing).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 08:55 AM

Reference to these 'extra' guidlines is unclear. Perhaps we should ask the Today programme?

The government has been forced to publish extra guidelines because the Association of London Government has complained that there is considerable uncertainty about how the Act should be interpreted


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: ET
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 08:49 AM

Incidentally has anyone found the supposed new guidance? The latest on the DCMS website is some information about fees and rural areas?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: ET
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 08:46 AM

I am interested in the message from Guest Grab - that the form is straightforward and many licensees just havn't bothered. The form is straightforward for those used to modern ways of life and form filling but I can see issues for particular small clubs or pubs that have impromptu sessions - how do you know which day and time. Perhaps they should cover all by refering to music daily - just end it around midnight to be safer?

I don't like any of this licensing stuff for music - but we have to live in the world as it exists and if licensees can't get their act together over the one thing that is vital to their livelihoods it has to be their problem. All I am saying is that musicians ought to urge their local licensee to get his act together - as indeed "grab" seems to have done.

I have e-mailed the today programme about the misleading ministeriral statement about a tick box but I am not sure that the follow up is particularly helpful unless (unlikely) the Minister does something.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 08:37 AM

"Fergal Sharkey has been employed by the government to investigate way's to further the development of music at roots level. The man is a F"""ing arsehole who is more concerned about how his hair looks than he is about enabling budding young musicians to develop their performance skills. How much is this piece of wank being paid"?

I'n surprised that such an ill-informed, ignorant and completely wrong statement like this is allowed to remain on a public site. You obviously have no idea what Feargal Sharkey has been doing for the last eighteen months, including talking to 100s of young people about the importance of live music, and getting the industry to re-invest in grass roots music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 08:18 AM

The old PEL didn't require the councils to take any notice of local people's views on what should and shouldn't be allowed in their nearby pubs/clubs - the new license does.

If these people do not go into these pubs - why should they have a say in what others chose to do inside?

If the effect of pubs and clubs upon these local people was on them in their homes (like noise) it is a different matter. What you say is incorrect - for local people have always had the opportunity to object to this effect. And especially so when public notice PELs or their renewal had to be displayed on the premises and in the local press.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 08:09 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

Despite first telling me that the 'two in a bar' follow-up was postponed, it was in fact broadcast at 8.42am on the Today programme!

Purnell's claims about it being 'much, much easier' and just a tick-box to put on live music are given short shrift.

Here's a link to the BBC online recording (scroll down page):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/index.shtml

Another link to an MP3 file of the broadcast will be provided shortly.

TRANSCRIPT follows (note: I cannot guarantee interviewee names are correctly spelt - except mine!):

BBC RADIO 4 'TODAY' Two in a Bar follow-up
Thursday 30 June 2005, 8.42-8.47am approx.


JAMES NAUGHTIE: It's now 17 minutes to 9. We've had a very lively response from you to a statement made by James Purnell, who's the minister responsible for implementing the new licensing laws. We revealed on the programme yesterday that the new Licensing Act, which is partly designed to allow 24-hour drinking, is causing a headache for many pubs and clubs, even some church halls and village halls, because all the venues that want to have musicians performing there live will need a licence. Now, Mr Purnell, the minister, told us that once licensees have 'ticked the box' they will never have to apply for a licence again. The system, he said, was 'much easier' than the old system. Well, Polly Billington's been looking through some of the messages that provoked.

POLLY BILLINGTON: I met Roy Green at the former scout hut in Surrey that he and other villagers have turned into a social club for families in Hersham.

ROY GREEN: We have the main hall, we have a built-in bar which we built ourselves. We have a small kitchen, and then at the back of the hall we have a rear enclosed garden with children's play equipment.

[Sound of cans being stacked]

POLLY BILLINGTON: As his wife filled the fridge in the bar, Roy went through the form he's been putting off filling in, that he must submit by August the 6th if the club is to be able to continue to serve drinks and have live music.

ROY GREEN: So many different things they want to know as what we're doing about, er, prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, protection of children, and the prevention of public nuisance. Um, we have to give details down for live music, er.. days of the week when it's going to start and finish. Now, generally this is OK if you are in a large pub premises, but we run a small family club. And we really do find it's a lot to contend with.

POLLY BILLINGTON: The minister in charge of the Licensing Act, James Purnell, admitted to this programme there are issues setting up the new system.

JAMES PURNEL [clip from yesterday's programme - 29 June 2005]: As long as they tick that box it's going to be much, much easier for them to put on live music than it is now. They never have to apply for a licence again, and I think that's.... you know there is definitely a transition issue people filling these forms out. I realise that there are a few hours work and it is, you know, it is an issue but the light at the end of that tunnel is they will have a licence that is much more flexible.

POLLY BILLINGTON: But that doesn't wash with Roy Bettles, the secretary of a working man's club.

ACTOR READING ROY BETTLES' EMAIL: Your contributor is talking garbage. To quote 'tick the box': I have to fill in a 12-page form, get architects' drawings of the club, certified copies of our existing liquor licence, and send these to 8 different authorities at a cost, so far, exceeding £1,200.

POLLY BILLINGTON: And Roy Green fears the regulation will threaten the future of live music.

ROY GREEN: As I say, it does provide an opportunity for people to start off here...

[clip of Sham 69]

ROY GREEN continues: At one stage we had Sham 69, many years ago, using these premises for rehearsing in - and they went on to better things, I understand.

[more Sham 69]

POLLY BILLINGTON: It's extraordinary what can come out of quiet leafy corners of Surrey, isn't it? [Sham 69 fades] Live music will need special approval, but pubs showing sports events on big TV screens won't. That annoys many, like Andrew Bazely who emailed the programme:

ACTOR READING ANDREW BAZELY'S EMAIL: I'm one of those musicians whose income and ability to entertain people will be seriously affected simply because of the conditions indiscriminately applied to all pubs. I wonder whether those pubs who televise big football games will have to pay for improvements to their premises. I find it extraordinary that the minister finds the provision of the television in pubs so nice and cosy. I've so often seen this the catalyst for drunkeness, abusive shouting and violence.

POLLY BILLINGTON: James Purnell says the new law means there are more options to deal with rowdy pubs like that. But Hamish Birchall disagrees. He lobbied the government on behalf of the Musicians' Union when the Bill was going through Parliament.

HAMISH BIRCHALL: For many years local authorities have had the power to confiscate noisy equipment immediately. They can issue anticipatory noise abatement notices, or reactive noise abatement notices. And, I think since 2001, under separate legislation, the police have had the power to close rowdy pubs immediately for up to 24 hours.

EDWARD STOURTON: That report from Polly Billington.. The time now....

ENDS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: DMcG
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 07:59 AM

Grab wrote:
Why have a tick box at all rather than automatically grant the right to play live music?

Because a dozen electric guitars at full chat is a very different situation from just serving beer!


---

We all agree about that, but the point is that that was covered by noise regulations already without the need for the Act to say anything about it. Still, the Act is what we have got and while we can still try to convince courts and politicians of various ilks that the rules are wrong, for the most part we have to try to live with it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST,Grab
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 07:51 AM

Why have a tick box at all rather than automatically grant the right to play live music?

Because a dozen electric guitars at full chat is a very different situation from just serving beer!

4 out of 5 public houses have yet to submit their application and there was only a month to go

Oh the poor dears. This has only been given a load of publicity for the last year or so - were they all in a coma for the last 18 months? I know one of our clubs, the publican hasn't done anything, but he can't find his arse with both hands and a map so this is entirely his problem. I printed him off the guidance notes and licensing form from the web about 3 weeks back, and that was the first time he'd seen it. For people like that, I have no sympathy - if he can't be arsed, the club goes elsewhere and he loses our custom. If he cares so little about his customers, fuck him.

Ticking the box means means having to fill out a substantial new section of the application form, setting out the days/times live music is being proposed. Additional boxes ask for further information, implying a fuller description of the music intended.

Oh what a shame. I've read that form - anyone who takes more than 10 minutes to fill out those extra sections should give up running a pub on the grounds they're too damn thick. And 33 pages of guidance are too much information?! Excuse me, as an engineer I'm dealing with a dozen specs of a hundred pages each! Again, if you can't read 33 pages then take up basketmaking or something less intellectually taxing. You may have gathered by now that I don't have much sympathy for a landlord who can't work out the answers to questions like "do you want to stage live music?", "what kind of music will you be staging?" and "when will it be happening?"...

Re "better for musicians", it depends on whether you think a free license for ticking a box is better than "2 in a bar". Yes, I would rather there was no license needed at all - but then what do you do about umpty-tum decibels of electric guitar at 2am? Noise regulations will only work if you're exceeding a limit - and you can be seriously loud without exceeding that limit, a fact I'm well aware of after a year living next door to a pub that ran live rock bands until midnight with zero sound insulation. The old PEL didn't require the councils to take any notice of local people's views on what should and shouldn't be allowed in their nearby pubs/clubs - the new license does. An improvement, surely? A folk club in a pub is certainly not a threat to public order - but a thrash metal band playing the same pub will definitely create some ill feeling with the neighbours! ;-) And when the folk club uses PA, how would you define which one to allow? Decibels? Then use a license with a restriction on so many dBs.

Yes, local councils are a bunch of arseholes and *will* find new and ingenious ways to try and screw you over, on the rare occasions when they don't just screw you over through incompetence. What else is new?

Yes, it's inconsistent on piped music and TVs. That's crap, and I wish they'd had the foresight to include that. Live football coverage is definitely a bigger threat to public order than live music.

Graham.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 03:52 AM

At 08.45 - there was a short piece - of mainly feedback and reaction to the Minister's comments -including a bit from Hamish.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 03:51 AM

Just heard (at 8.45 BST) upodate on R4. Hamish Birchall & other performers views put much better, but usual bland response!
Perhaps MU neds Midge Ure and Bob Geldof to get on the case!
My local paper reports it took local council 7 hours to deal with 3 pub's applications!
RtS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 07:37 PM

BBC 'Today' to revisit 'two in a bar' tomorrow.

From Hamish Birchall

The BBC's Today programme received so much feedback about its 'two in a bar' piece this morning, it will be discussing it again tomorrow morning (30 June) at about the same time, approx 7.20-7.45am


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: Tradsinger
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 06:52 PM

The issue is that the act should never have had to mention music at all. There is already plenty of legislation to cover for public disorder, loud noise, etc. It is a nonsense that the act specifies live music as an issue but not wide-screen TV or pubs pushing out piped music at many decibels. What this act creates is an atmosphere of "Are we allowed to do that?" with confused landlords looking over their shoulder all the time and wondering if they are complying with the law, and then 'playing it safe' by opting not to have live music. The fact that morris dancing and associated activities are except is not a victory for the morris fraternity (of which I am a member) but a blow to the rest of the folk world who are not treated equally.

Nanny state or what? All I am asking is to go out, have some beers and play some music, with the pub's consent, of course. Why on earth does that need regulating? What is the threat to public order?

Bah

Gwilym


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 05:41 PM

Advertising may render it "non-incidental"

That was a problem under the old act. I know of a session which the local authority were quite happy to class as "impromtu" and thus not requiring a PEL (or at least deserving of a Nelsonian blind eye) until a band who were regular participants put it on their gig list.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: ET
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 03:18 PM

And further, having looked at the premise licence form, as a peice of simple de-regulation it is a masterpiece of red tape at its worst - no wonder many are paying expensive lawyers for this.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: ET
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 03:10 PM

The advice to Tone d'F is based on the idea that the music is incidental to an activety that has a licence - the bar.   This is interesting except of course that the DCMS refused to define incidental and said it was a matter for the courts to interpret. Advertising may render it "non-incidental" or may not but it is more than odd that a serious peice of legislation like this results in music being half hidden, as if it were a subversive plot!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: Tone d'F
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 02:25 PM

Having just gone through the licencing act 2003 and my local councils interpretation of it, if an entertainments license is involved in a premises license then it has to involve more departments than if you are just retailing alcohol

I run outside events One council has said I have to license the whole event, another council only need the Beer Tent licensed.

I was informed by a Detective Chief Inspector that as long as I don't advertise live music at the event and the music is "impromptu" and not for an audience, ie a group of people having a sing song, no problem, this was confirmed by someone from the licensing office.

As long as the bar offers no facility, it is not organised.

This does'nt help people earning a living from music but does allow us to entertain ourselves in the bar.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 12:09 PM

FEARGAL SHARKEY: Every single one I've seen, without fail so far, has basically said 'Yes, we know live music is important. Yes, we understand we have a role to play in helping nurture, develop and promote it.' If you go and look at Canterbury's policy they list page after page of bits of space that they intend to licence, under their own name, for live music.

Courts find Licensing Policy ILEGAL

He he seemed to have overlooked that it was the Licensing Act 2003 that had caused the problem he refers to - that Canterbury were trying to overcome in their Licensing Policy. The Act has made Premises Licensing in these places ( i.e. everywhere) a requirement in the first place......


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST,jOhn
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 12:03 PM

this goverment is ttal crap, they banning music in pubs, they banning smoking in pubs, and i heard they thinking of banning racist jokes, people not free to do waht they want nowadays.
and they already banned foxhunting, and cruelty to animals.
goverment is crap.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: mooman
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 11:59 AM

Trying again...!

Based on Hamish's excellent transcript as posted by The Shambles above, I would suggest all UK 'Catters send feedback to Radio 4's Today programme via the following feedback form:

Radio 4 feedback page

Peace

moo (in Belgium but highly sympathetic)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: mooman
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 11:56 AM

Based on Hamish's excellent transcript as posted by The Shambles above, I would suggest all UK 'Catters send feedback to Radio 4's Today programme via the following feedback form:


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST,jOhn
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 11:53 AM

that James Purnell sounds like a right ficking jerk, somebody should slap him.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 11:43 AM

http://www.culture.gov.uk/global/press_notices/archive_2005/dcms088_05.htm?month=June&properties=archive%5F2005%2C%2Fglobal%2Fpress%5Fnotices%2F%2C

The following from the above Press Release on the Licensing Fees Review Panel.

Licensing Minister James Purnell said:
"The Licensing Act is a big change – for the better. And inevitably with it come some costs.
"This independent Panel brings together the knowledge and experience we need to ensure licensing fees are set at the right level across the board - from village halls to local authorities.
"We've drawn together experts in rural issues, finance, industry and trade, so that all views are considered and we get the fees right."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 11:31 AM

The following from Hamish Birchall

BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme this morning broadcast an unprecedented 9 minutes coverage about 'two in a bar' and the new Licensing Act, including John Humphrys interviewing licensing minister James Purnell. Nicola Standbridge's excellent report represents the most thorough investigation so far by any broadcast media journalist.

Here's a link to the BBC's online recording, which will be available throughout today:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/index.shtml
Another link will be available shortly to a recording of the programme posted on another website. I have also made a full transcription (see below).

Note the highly misleading or completely false claims made by the minister. Please follow this up with an email to the Today programme: today@bbc.co.uk. By 9am they had already had many email complaints about the minister's statements, and they are now considering a follow-up.

Perhaps the most serious of the minister's misleading claims is that permission to have live music is just a 'tick box', that it won't cost any more, and it's 'much easier' under the new regime. This is complete rubbish, of course. Ticking the box means means having to fill out a substantial new section of the application form, setting out the days/times live music is being proposed. Additional boxes ask for further information, implying a fuller description of the music intended. This 'variation application' triggers a slew of consultations: police, fire authority, planning, environmental health; public advertisement (at the applicant's expense), potential public hearings to consider objections, whether from local residents or other 'relevant authorities'. Despite the ministers assurances, costly conditions remain likely.
~ ~ ~

Transcription of BBC RADIO 4 'TODAY' - Wednesday 29 June 2005 - 7.34-7.43am approx.
JOHN HUMPHRYS: [The Licensing Act] caused a great fuss when it was debated last year because it allows for 24-hour drinking. And it's still causing a fuss. The government has been forced to publish extra guidelines because the Association of London Government has complained that there is considerable uncertainty about how the Act should be interpreted. With only a month left to apply for licences under the Act only a fifth of landlords have submitted their applications. The new law comes into force in November, but pubs and local councils remain confused. And musicians say it threatens live performances. Nicola Stanbridge reports.
[background folk music]
NICOLA STANBRIDGE: This pub in north London has been home to small sessions for more than 20 years. From traditional ballads to try-out spots for new musicians, under current legislation it hasn't needed a public entertainment licence for one or two performers, which is known as the 'two in a bar rule'. But the new Licensing Act which comes into force later this years removes that exemption. Now this pub's lawyers are navigating through a minefield of red tape. They're worried about objections to noise levels and can't guarantee the future of live music at the venue. It's one of several examples across the country this programme has learnt about. But there's no need to apply for a licence to play recorded music or host large screen television events, like football matches, even though the Association of Chief Police Officers advised MPs that televised sporting events are frequently the source of disorder. Many musicians object to what they see as an inconsistency.
[short clip of ELIZA CARTHY singing 'Fair you well my own true love']
NICOLA STANBRIDGE: Eliza Carthy is a folk singer and twice nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.
ELIZA CARTHY: I think when you allow like a large screen television in a pub, rather than some live musicians, you are actually actively damaging our culture, our traditional culture. The government keeps saying that it's a.. a public safety issue. I find it really quite hilarious that football, you know, soothes the savage beast and folk music makes people go crazy. I think that's just absurd. I think you are getting in the way of young people starting out. You are getting in the way of people learning music. You are also getting in the way of people actually discovering that traditional music exists. I think they should rethink it, quite seriously.
NICOLA STANBRIDGE: This programme has seen a 33-page document by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, designed to clarify this and other parts of the Act. Baroness Buscombe was the Conservative minister leading on the Bill as it went through the Lords.
BARONESS BUSCOMBE: The document that has now come to light reaffirms a clear discrimination in favour of broadcast music and against live musicians. One solitary guitar in a quiet country pub means that the publican would have to have a licence. I mean, it is extraordinary.
NICOLA STANBRIDGE: Obtaining the 'necessary authorisation' for live music was said to be a box-ticking exercise by the government. But, it estimates only 20% of venues have applied to convert their licence. The deadline is the 6th of August. The government set up a Live Music Forum to oversee the impact of the new legislation, especially on the removal of the 'two in bar rule'. Its chairman is Feargal Sharkey, famous as the lead singer of The Undertones. He says the new system is easier and local authorities are helping.
FEARGAL SHARKEY: Every single one I've seen, without fail so far, has basically said 'Yes, we know live music is important. Yes, we understand we have a role to play in helping nurture, develop and promote it.' If you go and look at Canterbury's policy they list page after page of bits of space that they intend to licence, under their own name, for live music.
NICOLA STANBRIDGE: But, a couple of days after Feargal Sharkey spoke to this programme a High Court judge agreed that Canterbury City Council's licensing policy was over-prescriptive and ruled it unlawful. The judge said there were a number of other similar local authorities and asked them to amend their policies and practices accordingly. One notable concession to the new Licensing Act was secured by Lord Redesdale, the Liberal Democrat front bench spokesman on the Bill when it went through the Lords in 2003.
[Morris music]
LORD REDESDALE: Bizarrely enough, the only group that are actually exempt from this is Morris men. If the government doesn't see them as a danger to society, why are they so hard on all other forms of unamplified music? Perhaps it's a question that there's discrimination and that other folk groups should go the European Court of Human Rights and literally say 'under proportionality why is the government stopping us carrying on with our traditional music?'
[End of recorded report - back live to studio]
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Well, there we are, that report from Nicola Stanbridge. The minister responsible for all this is James Purnell. Good morning to you.
JAMES PURNELL: Good morning John.
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Why, what have you got against live music in pubs?
JAMES PURNELL: Well we've got absolutely nothing against live music. In fact we are huge supporters of live music. And I think there were quite a few misunderstandings in your report which really were about the debates that we were having when the Act was going through Parliament, and I think those have been addressed. So, if you wanted me to go through them, for example, the point about live TV is, TVs in and of themselves aren't a concern. We don't want to licence every tv in every pub in the country. Instead, the concern there would be if there was an interaction between lots of people drinking alcohol and watching TV. And there what we can do under this Act for the time, for example, is ask people to remove the TV if that's the case; there's new powers to fine people; we can ask for the management to be changed. All these things which weren't there before we can now use to control that..
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Well, you've always been able to deal with rowdy pubs haven't you. We've always had plenty..
JAMES PURNELL: No we haven't, no we haven't...
JOHN HUMPHRYS: What, if, if there's a big punch-up in a pub you mean the police haven't been able to go in and sort it out?
JAMES PURNELL: One of the key things people don't understand about this Act is that under the previous legislation it was very, very hard to close down a problem pub.
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Ah, I didn't talk about closing it down, I talked about stopping it happening. If there is trouble in a pub the police have always been able to go in and say 'what's going on 'ere, you're nicked gov' or whatever it is they say.
JAMES PURNELL: Yeah, that, that is exactly the point which is under the previous legislation it was either the police or, if you wanted to close down... do something about a pub, you had to take away their licence. Now what you can do is you can fine them, you can bring in extra conditions, you can ask for the management to be changed, you can ask for new security to be put on the door. And in terms of live music this Act goes from a situation where there was a massive distortion in the live music market where people could put on, er, an event if there was less than two people. So, for example, the White Stripes who have just headlined Glastonbury could turn up in your local pub without a licence, but if it was, if it was..
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Well, why not? Why shouldn't they be able to?
JAMES PURNELL: If it was Cold Play turning up... because you coul have thousands of people turning up.
JOHN HUMPHREYS : Well you could....
JAMES PURNELL: So, the whole point... John let me just finish this one... the whole point is you could have them turning up and playing but Cold Play who headlined the next day, couldn't. So Simon and Garfunkel could turn up and play and, er, The Beatles couldn't. So the, the whole point is by removing that restriction and by introducing this box-ticking way of getting a public entertainment licence, we've made it much easier. Because the problem that lots of...
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Well...
JAMES PURNELL: ... lots of pubs who wanted to play music before, if they went to their local authority were finding that they were having unreasonable conditions and were being charged thousands of pounds. Now as long as they tick the box which says we want to put on an entertainment they won't have to pay any more and it is a much much easier system. They won't have to go off to the magistrates every time they want to put on a...
JOHN HUMPHRYS: But the fact is under the old system if Eliza Carthy wanted to play in a pub, under the old 'two in a bar' or whatever it's called, she.. she could nip along and play in it, and they didn't have to fill in any form and she just went and played. Well now you've made it more difficult.
JAMES PURNELL: We've made it much easier. Because that was distorting the whole of the live music market, so people had an int.. an interest in going and having people... bands who were two people or less, whereas now, as long as they tick that box, it's going to be much, much easier for them to put on live music than it is now.
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Forever? I mean they tick the box and that's it?
JAMES PURNELL: That's exactly right. They never have to apply for a licence again. And I think that's... you know, there's definitely a transition issue.. people fill in these forms... I realise there are a few hours work and it is, you know, it is an issue.. but the light at the end of that tunnel is that they will then have a licence that will be much more flexible and they will never have to apply for it again and..
JOHN HUMPHRYS: But...
JAMES PURNELL: ... it's going to massively support live music and we are going to monitor with Feargal Sharkey and the industry who are are, by the way, pretty much supportive of the Act, I think that's changed since the Act went through Parliament, we are going to monitor that and I am very happy to come back in a year and discuss whether live music has improved or not.
JOHN HUMPHRYS: All right, well we can certainly talk about that. But, ah, if it's all as simple as this why do we need a 33-page document?
JAMES PURNELL: You mean the guidance document?
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Well, the government's always issued guidance documents when new Acts come into place. I mean the, the the issue about rates of application, that is an issue, there has been a slow start there. But we've gone from a situation where we had about 3.5 percent who'd applied in May, to one where we've got 20 percent, the applications are starting to pick up, and we've put in place a, a massive awareness programme to make sure that people know they have to apply.
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Doesn't seem to be working does it?
JAMES PURNELL: Well I think, you know, it is starting to pick up. We don't want to, you know, we don't want to, er er, be complacent about it, but um we have been doing everything that we can to raise awareness of the need to apply. So I'm off to Birmingham right now as part of a regional tour..
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Just a very quick thought, why not postpone it till after Christmas?
JAMES PURNELL: There are important powers here for local communities to deal with binge drinking, to deal with alcohol-fueled violence. And those powers are ones that people want to see come into, come into place and that's exactly why we want to bring this Act in. It's going to save two billion pounds for the industry and for the first time it's going to give the local community much more power over the kind of pubs they have in their area and the way they can deal with a few problem pubs. So this Act in the end, I believe, will be welcomed.
JOHN HUMPHRYS: James Purnell, many thanks.
ENDS
*NOTE
One statement by James Purnell in my transcript of his exchange with John Humphrys is incorrectly attributed to Humphrys (the one beginning 'Well, the government's always issued guidance...').
Please accept my apologies for the mistake. Here is the corrected section below:
~ ~ ~
JOHN HUMPHRYS: All right, well we can certainly talk about that. But, ah, if it's all as simple as this why do we need a 33-page document?
JAMES PURNELL: You mean the guidance document?
JOHN HUMPHRYS: Mmm…
JAMES PURNELL: Well, the government's always issued guidance documents when new Acts come into place. I mean the, the the issue about rates of application, that is an issue, there has been a slow start there. But we've gone from a situation where we had about 3.5 percent who'd applied in May, to one where we've got 20 percent, the applications are starting to pick up, and we've put in place a, a massive awareness programme to make sure that people know they have to apply.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 09:45 AM

The things that Mr Sharkey was attempting to praise Canterbury Council for trying to do under the Act - were to licence areas where the public could have entertainment - but he seemed to have overlooked that it was this legislation that had caused the problem - by making licensing in these places ( i.e. everywhere) a requirement in the first place......


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: ET
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 09:18 AM

Who picked this Fergal Sharkie - DCMS?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: Nick
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 09:06 AM

Could it be that Mr Sharkey is completely made out of wood as this picture would suggest?

I think we should be told

I also listened to it this morning and the tone - apart from Eliza - was very much "there, there, everything's ok, come back next year when you can do bugger all about it".

Usual government line.

(War? What war?)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST,jOhn
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 08:58 AM

This goverment is shit.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: rhyzla
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 08:55 AM

erm yes ... I was wondering that too Woodsie!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: woodsie
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 08:47 AM

Fergal Sharkey has been employed by the government to investigate way's to further the development of music at roots level. The man is a F"""ing arsehole who is more concerned about how his hair looks than he is about enabling budding young musicians to develop their performance skills. How much is this piece of wank being paid?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 06:10 AM

Yep Dave...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: DMcG
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 06:05 AM

Well, I can guess how the Government would amend the legislation if that ruling was made ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 06:01 AM

It was new (to me) that LIB DEM peer Lord Redesdale was suggesting on Today - that as the Act specifically permitted unlicensed Morris Dancing etc - a claim from other folk activities that they were discriminated against by this Act - may be upheld.

This was the same man who (along with his fellow LIB DEMs) when he held in his hands - the whole future of the (then) Bill - decided in the Lords - to continue to speak against it - but to also vote with the Government - to pass it!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Radio 4 & Licensing
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 05:55 AM

Oh well I got it now. Didn't really say anything new...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 18 January 5:40 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.