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'(a) such entertainment is inaudible outside the premises, and

No. 109, in page 112, line 2, at end insert—

9A The provision of any entertainment or entertainment facilities in the premises of an educational establishment for the purposes directly connected to the activities of the establishment is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act.'.

No. 63, in page 112, line 18, at end insert—

'Small events—live music
(1) The provision of entertainment consisting of the performance of live music is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act where—
(a) the number of listeners or spectators present does not exceed 200 at any one time, and
(b) the entertainment ceases no later than 11.30 pm.
(2) The provision of entertainment facilities solely for the purposes of entertainment described in subparagraph (1) is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act.
(3) Nothing in this paragraph shall be read as rendering invalid or otherwise affecting any provision of, or any regulation made under, any other legislation that applies to the entertainment, the entertainment facilities or the premises on which the entertainment is to take place.'.

No. 105, in page 112, line 18, at end insert—

'Traditional folk performances
The provision of entertainment consisting of paceegging, mumming, morris dancing, souling or other traditional folk performances of a similar character is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act.'.

No. 160, in page 112, line 18, at end insert—

'Small events — dance and plays
The provision of entertainment consisting of the performance of dance or plays is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes for this Act where—
(a) the performance takes place in the open air; and
(b) the performance ends before 11.30 p.m.; and either
(c) the number of persons performing does not at any time exceed twenty four, or
(d) the number of listeners or audience does not exceed 200.'.

No. 62, in page 113, line 19, at end insert—

'(2) The "performance of live music" means a performance of any musical composition, whether involving improvisation or not,—
(a) which is given wholly or in part by one or more persons actually present and performing, and
(b) in which the whole or a major proportion of what is done by the person or persons performing is either singing, or the playing of a musical instrument, or both.'.

16 Jun 2003 : Column 87

Mr. Moss: I shall begin by speaking exclusively to amendment No. 64, which relates to the exemption provisions in part 2 of schedule 1. We tabled the amendment because although we had a good debate in Committee on incidental music, and the Minister made every attempt under the sun to define it for us, we remained unconvinced. He made a good fist of it, however. He said:

The reason for the amendment is simple. If something is advertised, why should it be read across to bottom-line profit? Should it necessarily be regarded as a nefarious activity involving trying to make money? To my knowledge, most people who run pubs are in the business of trying to make money, so why will the activity be precluded from the exemptions under paragraph 7 if it is advertised? If there was to be an exchange of money or a charge at the door, then, yes, perhaps there would be a direct correlation between the advertisement of the event and people turning up as result and paying their money. One could then say that the pub landlord was indeed trying to make money out of advertising the music. However, if there was no charge at the door, surely he would simply be attempting to get more people into his pub. I suppose that he would hope to sell more alcohol, but there is not necessarily any direct correlation between people coming to enjoy some folk music, or the improvisation of certain musicians, and drinking more alcohol.

We tabled the amendment in a different form from that which we debated in Committee to tease out from the Minister exactly why he and those advising him think that advertising folk music in the local pub means that it should be licensable, given that the music that is played may be the same background music as would be played normally if it had not been advertised. Precluding it from the exemptions is neither logical, sensible nor fair to those involved.

There is surely an argument that we should encourage pubs to put on live music of any kind. In Committee, the Minister was frequently at pains to stress that he championed live music and wanted more music to be played and heard in pubs and clubs. We will discuss the meatier stuff in the Bill later, but the measure might achieve the opposite of what the Minister genuinely—I choose the word with care—wants to happen.

It could be argued that incidental music—indeed, any live music—should be encouraged in pubs. Doing so means not only that the landlord or tenant encourages live music and the musicians who play it, but the encouragement of social cohesion in villages and rural areas. It would spread culture and the arts and foster the sort of ambience and lifestyle that are so vital to our tourist industry. As the former Minister for tourism, the hon. Gentleman said that we needed to broaden the range of our activities to encourage people from not only abroad but our country to visit rural communities and participate in the sort of events that I described. We believe that the encouragement that the former Minister for tourism gave should be adopted.

16 Jun 2003 : Column 88

We are not considering a band session in which people sit and listen to the music all the time, but music in the background, with different people playing. The amendment would help folk groups and promote social cohesion and culture in our rural communities.

Amendment No. 63 deals with the "Small events—live music" exemption and is coupled with consequential amendment No. 62, which defines the performance of live music. It resembles an amendment that was accepted in the other place. However, the Government saw fit to reject it in Committee. We believe that it is so important that we have tabled it again. If my antennae serve me well, the matter will be around for several sittings in the other place as well as here for a little longer; it will not go away. As I said earlier, the Government may have decided to dig in and go to the wire on the matter, but I believe that they must devise a sensible and practical provision on small events and relevant issues to live music in small gatherings to get the Bill through all its stages.

Throughout the Bill's passage, those involved, such as the Musicians Union, the Association of British Jazz Musicians and the English Folk Dance and Song Society, have not wavered from their opinion that the measure will prove a disaster for the performing arts. Indeed, they believe that it goes against the Government's much heralded inclusivity banner and that the Bill is perhaps the most exclusive measure drafted by a Labour Government. Although it was hailed as an improvement, the organisations state that

They give examples. First, the Bill appears to allow a full-scale stand-up comedy routine, with stage, lighting and amplification, but insists on a licence to perform a play. Fears continue that a "play" could cover Punch and Judy shows.

7.15 pm

I received a letter today from someone who takes his Punch and Judy tent to many events throughout the country. He is miffed that he may not be allowed to do that in future if he has to obtain a licence at every location that he visits. I shall not go into detail about that now, but it is another example of someone who has realised that the Bill is all pervasive and catches all sorts of people who perform a tremendous service to the community and bring enjoyment to many people.

Mr. Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight): Yesterday, I attended a social function that the Ventnor branch of the Isle of Wight Conservative Association organised. A young man called Christopher Philpott, who is a pupil at the middle school in Ventnor, expressed his concern—entirely unsolicited—that Punch and Judy shows would have to be licensed forthwith. When the Minister winds up, I should like him to state whether they need to be licensed and not merely say that the matter is in the hands of the licensing authority.

Mr. Moss: I am sure that the Minister heard my hon. Friend's intervention. I expect that he will preface his remarks with, "It all depends."

Another anomaly is that the Bill allows big-screen broadcasts and amplified juke boxes anywhere, but insists that live performance be licensed. It allows a play,

16 Jun 2003 : Column 89

dance, disco or musical performance in a place of worship or at a garden fête, but insists on a licence when the same events are held in a school, university or restaurant. The Bill also insists that traditional song and dance on village greens should be licensed.

What grounds do the Government cite for regulating live music? Noise was frequently mentioned in Committee, but when one examines the statistics, one wonders why it is such a major issue. The Noise Abatement Society states that noisy people outside the premises are the cause of 81 per cent. of complaints about pubs and bars. The United Kingdom Noise Association states that complaints about live music are relatively rare. Indeed, it receives more complaints about noisy recorded music. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, all local authorities can seize noisy equipment immediately and issue £20,000 noise abatement notices for compliance forthwith or in anticipation of a noise nuisance. Under current legislation, the police can close noisy pubs immediately for up to 24 hours. The Institute of Alcohol Studies, which canvasses the views of residents' associations, states that none has ever made an issue about live music.

What about public safety? We understand that a radical new fire safety regime for workplaces is due to be published in mid 2004 and will be called the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. It will apply to premises including cinemas, theatres, pubs and restaurants and cover the provision of entertainment irrespective of licensing requirements.

Employers and the self-employed have statutory duties to make risk assessments of their work activities, covering risk to employees and others in connection with their work. Failure to undertake such risk assessment could lead to criminal prosecution. The Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 imposes a duty on employers to ensure as far as practicable the health and safety of employees and non-employees who may be affected.

Event organisers, promoters and licensees are bound by this duty to ensure that premises are safe and without risks to health.

Who is to be affected by the measures? What of the impact on those involved? Let us consider the folk arts in England. Forget Scotland—which has a much less onerous licensing regime—Ireland, where I am sure the regime is even more liberal, and Wales. Let us just look at England, where we have a rich living cultural heritage in the form of the various folk arts and customs, including music, song, dance, drama, storytelling, games and other customary events and celebrations. These folk art forms are true community arts; they are inherently participatory, encouraging imagination, aspiration and learning.

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