The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin


Monday 24th July 2006 - 'A beneficial impact' - latest DCMS licensing spin

'A group of local councils tasked with monitoring the impact of the Licensing Act has concluded that the laws are starting to have a beneficial impact on residents, police and local councils, according to a new report published today.'

So begins the latest DCMS licensing press release, published today (Mon 24 July 2006):

Both the press release and the 13-page report focus exclusively on alcohol issues. The impact of the new Act on the performance of live music, dance and theatre is not mentioned once.  Most public performances, and many private performances, of live music, dance and theatre are illegal unless licensed under the new Act, whether or not alcohol is sold.

The DCMS sample of 10 'scrutiny councils' represents just under 3% of the 376 licensing authorities in England and Wales (there are 410 local authorities, but 34 county councils are not licensing authorities).

Last week, the media widely reported the Home Office finding that crime had not risen in the hours immediately after pub closing time as if this was a beneficial effect of the new licensing laws. In fact, when the legislation was first published in 2002, Tessa Jowell said it 'would be a key plank of the Government's drive to cut down on crime and anti-social behaviour.' The legislation has so far failed to live up to that promise.


Hamish Birchall