The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin


28th November 2007 - Select Committee to discuss live music and licensing

The government's unpopular live music legislation will be under the Parliamentary spotlight again tomorrow, Thursday 29 November when Licensing Guidance that accompanies the Licensing Act 2003 is considered by the Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee: 8.55am, Committee Room 9, in the Palace of Westminster.

The revised Licensing Guidance, first published on 28 June, included an amended section on the controversial 'incidental music' exemption. This section of the Act had already been widely criticised as vague and confusing. Critics included the Better Regulation Commission, the Live Music Forum, and the Musicians Union. The Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee in the House of Lords found that the revisions failed to make the law clearer. Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Clement-Jones subsequently decided to oppose the Guidance. This led directly to the debate in the  House of Lords on 15 October during which government minister Lord Davies of Oldham hinted that changes to the legislation were being considered.

Tomorrow's debate has again been forced on the government, this time by Don Foster, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Licensing minister Gerry Sutcliffe will respond for the government .

Parliament goes into Christmas recess on 18 December, so time is running out for ministers to keep their promise of responding to the Live Music Forum's proposed entertainment licensing exemption for small gigs, and other recommendations, by the end of the year.

Hamish Birchall