The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin


Saturday 22nd April 2006 - Licensing Act - live music: Jowell rules out changes?

Last December I wrote to every member of the Cabinet suggesting that having had more than two years to sell the benefits of the new Licensing Act to venues, there should by then have been strong evidence of the promised 'explosion of live music'. I also suggested that the government apologise for publicly misinterpreting the MORI live music survey (the unjustified 'flourishing' claim), and consider changing the Act.

Yesterday I received this reply from DCMS, dated 19 April 06, on behalf of Tessa Jowell:

'We are sorry we cannot reassure you of the advantages of the Licensing Act 2003 and our determination to ensure its success. We therefore feel that we must agree to disagree about the concerns you raise and let the Act be judged in the fullness of time and experience.'

This seems to rule out any early change to the legislation. Moreover, if such changes are off limits, it must be clear that the Live Music Forum (LMF) is not independent - its remit is essentially dictated by DCMS. It is, and always was, a PR exercise by the government, and an effective way of coralling potential opposition.

In my view the LMF is a waste of time. If you are unhappy with the legislation write to your MP:


Hamish Birchall