Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Ninth Report

Letter from NUS Services Limited

On behalf of NUS Services, I am writing to express support for the proposals to reform the 220-year-old law that restricts Sunday dancing.

As you may be aware, NUS represents c. 1.7 million students in higher education and just under 4 million students studying or training in further education colleges in the UK. NUS is a national voice for students, a valuable source of education research, legal advice, media work and fundraiser and a training body for 3000 student officers each year. Nearly 900 Students' Unions choose to affiliate to NUS, of which many operate bars and late night entertainment venues.

There are many reasons why the wider licensed entertainment industry supports reform of these outdated restrictions. However, NUS welcomes these proposals for a number of further reasons specific to the student market and our venues:

  • Meeting demand: Reform will meet demand from students for entertainment on all nights of the week. Students often work to different and flexible deadlines that are less clearly linked to weekends compared with workers in more traditional employment who might work on weekdays.

  • Reducing costs to students: The majority of students have an income that is significantly below the national average. At present, Saturday night entertainment in commercial venues tends to be more expensive than other nights of the week. By allowing venues to offer entertainment on a Sundays, demand at the weekend will be spread across its entirety, allowing the prospect of a cheaper night out on a Sunday for students and other low-income groups.

  • Increased revenue for NUS venues: We expect that revenues will increase if venues are permitted to apply to open on a Sunday. Experience from Scotland suggests that Sunday has become the third most popular night of the week.

  • Extra job opportunities for students: Although most NUS venues employ full-time staff, they also provide a valuable opportunity for students to work on a part-time basis to supplement their income. In many cases, this extra income can mean the difference between staying in education or leaving because of financial hardship. We support BEDA's Code of Practice to protect employee rights. Moreover, we envisage that reform would allow Students' Unions to extend the benefits of part-time employment to more students.

  • Protecting student and employees' safety: Local Students' Unions often provide venues bus services during the week to ensure the safety of students and workers who need to return home to halls of residence. The viability of such schemes is often underpinned by the provision of entertainment facilities, but the benefits are extended to all students who may be at Students' Union venues for other reasons including meetings, etc. The provision of entertainment facilities on a Sunday would help boost the viability of such schemes on all nights of the week.

In conclusions, I would reiterate that NUS fully supports the proposals to reform these outdated laws that restrict dancing on a Sunday. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.

Ian King, Chief Executive

1 March 2000

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