The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin

Thursday 10th December 2009 - New DCMS consultation - but not on small venue exemption

On 8th December the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced a new public consultation on measures to cut licensing red tape:

The consultation includes proposals to allow last minute applications for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN), three working days before the actual event. The present limit is 10 working days. See trade press coverage (The Publican):

But there is still no sign of the consultation on a new exemption for live music in small venues announced by licensing minister Gerry Sutcliffe in Parliament on 22nd October: [follow links to Hansard debate transcript]

In press interviews, Sutcliffe repeatedly claimed that the government wanted to act 'very quickly' on the small venue exemption, and on Tuesday 10th November, actually claimed this would be 'done before the election':
[BBC Daily Politics, 10/11/09, key quotes from about 3'45" minutes onwards]

Sources close to the minister suggest that resistance to speedy implementation is coming not only from the usual suspects (local authorities and police), but also from senior licensing civil servants. This despite the fact that the DCMS licensing team and ministers have been making public announcements about the intention to hold a small venue exemption consultation since 2007.

In his BBC Daily Politics interview of 10th November, Sutcliffe also said that his department had written to opposition parties about his small venues exemption proposal. But it would seem these letters have yet to be received.


Hamish Birchall