22 June 2006
Live Venues Are The Heart Of Our Communities - Woodward
Government publishes advice on how councils can help live events prosper
Music Minister Shaun Woodward today called on councils to ensure that their local music scene prospers under the new licensing laws.
In new guidance, published in the House of Commons, councils are asked to place only proportionate conditions on live venues and to consult local musicians and venue owners regularly, to monitor the impact of the new licensing laws on live music. If they find live events are not thriving, local councils should look again at their licensing policies.
The guidance offers further advice and clarification for councils and police on a range of issues surrounding the new licensing laws. In particular it says:
- councils should ask landlords for advice when drawing up their late night transport plans, as they know the habits of their customers best;
- local residents and police do not need to produce a catalogue of evidence when they ask for a review of a licence; and
- personal licence holders do not need to be on the premises at all times to supervise sales of alcohol – they can authorise someone else to be in charge.
Shaun Woodward said:
“Live venues are the heart of many communities. That’s why we gave them greater opportunities to put on live entertainment, such as music and dancing, under the licensing laws. But we need to make sure local councils are promoting these opportunities and venue owners are taking advantage of them.
“We’ve published further guidance for police and councils today to clarify some of the issues which have arisen since the Licensing Act became law. In particular I want to make clear that licence holders do not need to be on site at all times – provided they officially put someone else in charge.
“The new licensing laws have been in place for six months. But it's still too soon to draw any conclusions. We will continue to monitor the impact the Act throughout this year and beyond.”
Feargal Sharkey, chairman of the Live Music Forum, said:
“Live music is vitally important both culturally and economically. It’s obvious that people love going to live gigs. But it’s sometimes less obvious how much a local community can gain financially from a live venue.
“Music fans don’t just go to a gig, have a pint and go home. They might go to a bar first, have a meal or get a taxi. That’s all good news for the local economy.
“And let’s not forget small local venues are the lifeblood of the music industry - the Kaiser Chiefs didn’t begin their careers playing Alexandra Palace.”
This initial review of the licensing guidance provides clarification of, and additions to, the existing guidance in areas where there is broad consensus amongst stakeholders. The full revised Guidance will be published for consultation in the summer.
Notes to Editors
1. The Supplementary Guidance to the Licensing Act 2003 was laid in Parliament today.
2. It comprises three elements:
- consolidation of advice given in official correspondence, ‘Countdown’, etc. during the transition period;
- clarification/expansion of the current Guidance on consensual issues arising from discussions with Scrutiny Councils and key stakeholders and recommendations from the Fees Review Panel; and
- correction of simple factual errors and updating of references.
3. The review of the Guidance to the Act was launched on 1 December 2005 as a two stage process: an initial phase to be completed in the spring with the publication of supplementary guidance and a longer term review involving a full, public consultation by summer 2006 and publication of revised Guidance by the autumn.
4. To inform the review, DCMS held bilateral discussions with key stakeholders and invited views from the wider licensing Advisory Group. We also carried out a limited, four week public consultation on the DCMS website and received approximately 50 responses from a wide range of stakeholders including members of the public.
5. The Licensing Act 2003 received Royal Assent on 10th July 2003. Its reforms came into effect in full on 24 November 2005. Further details can be found at: www.culture.gov.uk/alcohol_and_entertainment/licensing_act_2003.htm
6. The Licensing Act put an end to the out dated 'two in a bar' rule, which distorted opportunities for musicians to perform, and replaced it with a single licence combining alcohol and public entertainment.
7. The Live Music Forum was set up in January 2004. As well as working with partners across the live music world to ensure they make the most of the opportunities offered by the Act, the Forum is also looking at a range of ways to promote live music and foster grass roots talent. At the end of its lifespan, the Forum will make recommendations to Government.
Press Enquiries: 020 7211 6271
Out of hours telephone pager no: 07699 751 153
Public Enquiries: 020 7211 6200