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Hamish Birchall Bulletin


Monday 27th Ocrober 2008 - Zippo's circus to give evidence at licensing inquiry

Zippo's circus is to give evidence tomorrow at the second oral evidence session of the Culture Committee Licensing Act Inquiry, Tuesday 28 October 2008.

Last month Birmingham's licensing officers banned music accompanying Zippo's clowns because it was not licensed as regulated entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003. See The Times online, 23 September 2008:

On 07 October The Stage reported that Equity is lobbying to exempt circuses from the Act:

But on 13 October government culture spokesperson Lord Davies of Oldham appeared to rule out such an exemption in favour of tweaking existing licence application processes or creating 'alternative licensing arrangements':

'... While I am not convinced that licensable activities should be exempt simply because they are carried on within a circus, I do recognise the particular regulatory burdens placed on travelling tented circuses because they move from site to site. We are looking at how we can simplify aspects of the application processes to relieve some of the burden and have also agreed to look at the feasibility of alternative licensing arrangements which better reflect the nature of travelling entertainment performed at multiple sites.'
[Written Answer to question by Lord Clement-Jones (HL5369)]

This negative response appears to have been ignored in an article entitled 'Mastering the Ring' by Conservative MP Peter Luff, published in The Stage of 23 October. A long-time campaigner against entertainment licensing for circuses, he called on the government to free them from '... bureaucratic and expensive licensing laws, which have a damaging impact on the sector.....".
[Article not available online]

Since the Committee's announcement (copy below) Committee Room 5 at the Palace of Westminster has been confirmed as the venue.

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Select Committee Announcement
Committee Office
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

22 October 2008 No. 62
Oral evidence session
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee will hold its second oral evidence session on the Licensing Act 2003. Terms of reference for the inquiry were published in a Press Notice published by the Committee on 18 July 2008.

Date and Time: Tuesday 28 October 2008 at 1030

1030 Central Council of Physical Recreation, Committee of Registered Club Associations
1110 Association of Circus Proprietors of Great Britain, Zippo?s Circus

1140 The Association of Convenience Stores, The Wine and Spirit Trade Association

Location: A Committee Room at the Houses of Parliament, to be confirmed. Please check

The session will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis. There is no system for the prior reservation of seats in Committee Rooms. It is advisable to allow about 20 minutes to pass through security checks. Committee Rooms and timings are subject to change.

Committee Membership is as follows:

Mr John Whittingdale (Chairman) (Con) (Maldon and East Chelmsford) Janet Anderson (Lab) (Rossendale and Darwen) Alan Keen (Lab) (Feltham and Heston) Philip Davies (Con) (Shipley)Rosemary McKenna (Lab) (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East)
Mr Nigel Evans (Con) (Ribble Valley) Adam Price (PC) (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr) Paul Farrelly (Lab) (Newcastle-under-Lyme) Mr Adrian Sanders (Lib Dem) (Torbay) Mr Mike Hall (Lab) (Weaver Vale) Helen Southworth (Lab) (Warrington South)

Media Enquiries: Laura Humble, Tel 020 7219 2003 / 07917 488 489, e-mail:
Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 6188, e-mail:
Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on


Hamish Birchall