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Government confirms support for Live Music Bill

By | Published on Monday 7 March 2011

Houses Of Parliament

The government last week announced it would support Tim Clement-Jones’ Live Music Bill, albeit it with some caveats.

As previously reported, Clement-Jones’ private members bill addresses many of the concerns raised about the 2003 Licensing Act, in particular the extra bureaucracy it created for pubs who want to stage small music events. Many in the grass roots live sector say those new rules have caused many smaller pubs to stop staging gigs, removing a valuable live platform for new talent.

Clement-Jones published his private members bill under the last Labour government, but it didn’t make its way through parliament fast enough before last year’s General Election. Even if it had, Gordon Brown’s government, which was working on its own less extensive reform of licensing rules, would have tried to block it in the Commons.

But after the election, Clement-Jones reintroduced the bill to parliament, and on Friday, in the House Of Lords, Patricia Rawlings, speaking for the government, said the ConDem Coalition would support the proposed legislation and help push it through, subject to a review of the technical aspects of the proposals.

She added that the government would also likely insist that all unlicensed gigs should be finished by 11pm, rather than midnight as set out in Clement-Jones’s proposals.

According to pub industry magazine The Publican, Rawlings told the Lords: “We see [this bill] as an important and complementary part of any reform and we will do all we can to help the bill reach the statute book, if appropriately amended”.

Clement-Jones welcomed Rawling’s remarks, telling CMU: “There is clear support across all parties to reform the current system as the Licensing Act has had a deadening effect on the performance of live music in small venues. The Live Music Bill will benefit hundreds of small pubs, restaurants and church and community halls who want live music at their venue by generally removing the need to apply for a complicated licence”.

He added: “I’m glad the government has responded so positively to this bill and I look forward to working with them to fulfil the Coalition Agreement’s pledge to put an end to red tape and bureaucracy”.