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Local Government Association responds to backing of Live Music Bill

By | Published on Wednesday 25 January 2012

Houses Of Parliament

The chief of the Local Government Association’s Culture, Tourism And Sport Board has welcomed the passing, last week, of the Live Music Bill by the House Of Commons, though he does note a possible loophole that concerns him, and also implies that while his organisation supported – eventually – this round of relaxation in licensing rules, they remain concerned about a more radical overhaul of licensing regulations being considered by government.

Chris White told reporters: “Councils already have a strong track record of working with a wide variety of groups to run events which enrich their local communities. We are fully in favour of making it easier for people to hold concerts, plays and public events and we support the aim of making the process as easy, transparent and free from red tape as possible”.

He continues: “It’s important that any changes to the licensing laws strike a balance which ensures democratically elected councillors are still able to protect people who attend public events as well as those who work and live nearby. The Live Music Bill does a good job in streamlining the process while leaving councils with enough ways to protect residents who may be adversely affected”.

Presumably referencing a government consultation on licensing issues, which was launched despite the Live Music Bill working its way through parliament, and which it’s thought could therefore make more radical proposals, White adds: “Removing licensing regulations any further would mean councils and the police may be unaware a gig was taking place and therefore not be able to ensure audience members are safe and people living nearby are not kept awake until the early hours”.

Despite the LGA backing the Live Music Bill late last year after some amendments were made, he says there is still one area of concern that central government must address. He concludes: “It appears there is a loophole whereby small live music events where alcohol is brought in by the audience, and not supplied by the organiser, will not require a licence. This obviously poses a risk of unmonitored and excessive drinking which could endanger audience members and disrupt nearby residents and businesses. The government must identify effective practice to address this issue”.