Memorandum submitted by The Event Services Association

 

I am writing on behalf of our members to ask your Committee if it can consider ways of making the current licensing system more equitable.

 

Under the Licensing Act 2003, local authorities are given something of a free hand to set fees for events, particularly those of a large scale. There is, however, growing evidence that some of the fees being charged are grossly more than the actual licensing costs with the result that some events are struggling to survive, particularly in the current economic climate.

 

The event industry is a major and important employer in the UK and we believe it should be encouraged to develop rather than being squeezed out of existence. The combination of charges now being freely levied through licensing fees, as well as charges by police and ambulance services, is making it financially difficult for some events to survive - particularly following two successive wet summers.

 

While we appreciate the need for local authorities to cover costs, we would like to see a little more control exercised and, ideally, some guidance on how these fees should be arrived at which should basically be around cost recovery. We would also like to see guidance that would require authorities to justify the fees they charge. At the moment it appears that some cash-strapped authorities see licensing as an extra revenue source.

 

The Event Services Association, founded in 1991, is a trade body for the UK event industry - our members are largely organisers of outdoor events and suppliers to this market.

 

We would very much appreciate it if you could consider ways of addressing our concerns.

 

November 2008