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Baroness Buscombe moved Amendment No. 2:
The noble Baroness said: In moving Amendment No. 2, I shall also speak to Amendments Nos. 3, 7, 18, 19 and 20. This group brings us immediately to Schedule 1 and the issue of what constitutes the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of the Bill.
These are very straightforward amendments to achieve what we believe is a simple purpose: to remove the question of "facilities" from the Bill. We believe that the proposed legislation is quite rightly directed towards licensable activities. The step beyond that whereby an attempt is made to license the mere provision of "facilities" ceases to focus on the potential problems related to activities. We believe that the reference to facilities creates a whole tier of unnecessary and onerous regulation. We believe that there is no need to define "entertainment facilities" in this schedule. A simple provision to allow music, dancing and similar forms of entertainment to take place within the regulatory framework, subject to conditions deemed necessary and appropriate, is all that is required. The permission for the public to participate should be included under sub-paragraph (2) as proposed.
If the Government were to accept these amendments, they would remove one of the core problems of this part of the Bill by eliminating references to facilities and concentrating instead on the activity; that is, the description of the entertainment. Our amendments seek to exclude references to facilities in sub-paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) of the first paragraph of Schedule 1 and add two obvious descriptions of entertainment; that is, dancing and making music.
We believe that the measures relating to the provision of entertainment facilities are very vague. Will the Minister confirm whether entertainment facilities could include, for example, music shops, music studios, music and dance teachers? Does the Minister really intend to catch those facilities?
My next point relates to many of the amendments that we have tabled. I refer the Minister to a letter written by the Secretary of State dated 13th November 2002 which states with regard to music that the introduction of new arrangements will promote live music and encourage performers. We fear that that kind of unclear and vague reference to facilities will achieve precisely the opposite of what is intended. Many organisations and individuals have written to us asking what the provision means and whether they will be caught by it. We should be grateful if the Minister would confirm the meaning and intention of the provision. I beg to move.
Lord Redesdale: I support the amendments we are discussing to which I have added my name. I welcome
Lord Skelmersdale: I have a rather more fundamental point to make. Will the Minister explain to an ignorant mind such as I possess how you can have entertainment without providing facilities? Therefore, why is sub-paragraph (3) needed at all?
Lord Carlile of Berriew: Will the Minister clarify a point that perplexes many noble Lords such as myself who are involved with small charities, often in rural areas? If I make my house and garden available to a local charity, a harpist plays to welcome people as they enter, wine is provided and perhaps a juggler turns up to entertain the children, will I and the charity now be faced with an expensive bureaucratic burden or can I carry on holding such events at my premises? Many people are asking such questions as the explanations provided for the Bill are poor as regards small charities and, indeed, some other larger organisations that we shall discuss later today.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: We have started on Schedule 1. It is appropriate that I should comment in general terms on the way in which we approach these matters. We did, indeed, group together many amendments to Schedule 1 regardless of which noble Lord tabled them as we considered that that was exactly what would happen in practice. What I shall say now applies not only to the amendments in the group we are discussing but to many amendments in subsequent groups.
The first point to be made about Schedule 1 is that the provision of entertainment or entertainment facilities is strictly set out in the early paragraphs of the schedule. Sub-paragraph (2) of the first paragraph of Schedule 1 refers to,
The point here is that the facilities and the entertainment are provided as the main object of the exercise, so to speak. In other words, the horrible and
Lord Carlile of Berriew: I must take advantage of the noble Lord's kind offer to allow me to intervene. Where does the schedule say that the main purpose of the provision of the entertainment is the music? Nothing in the schedule removes the impression that has been gained that an event will be caught by the schedule if music is provided, which is incidental to the event but furnishes some entertainment for people attending that event.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I shall continue with the argument as I want to refer specifically to music as, clearly, it is of particular concern. A whole series of amendments relate to music and to the differences between live music, recorded music, amplified and unamplified music and so on.
The provisions of Schedule 1 do not attempt to discriminate in any way between one kind of music and another, or indeed, to discriminate between one kind of entertainment and another except in the sense that we are concerned with its effect. The effect is twofold: first, there is a health and safety issue as regards the protection of the audienceI refer only to entertainments carried out in the presence of an audience or members of a club or their guestsand, secondly, there is an effect on the area surrounding the premises. I refer in that connection to noise and disturbance. That is the basis on which the whole of Schedule 1 is constructed.
Lord Redesdale: The Minister refers to entertainment being provided in the presence of an audience. But if someone was paid to prepare music for a wedding, would he not be caught by Schedule 1? That person would be presenting music to an audience for profit. Could that also not applyperhaps I prejudge what the Minister will sayto music shops whose main purpose is to make a profit out of the provision of music?
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No, that is not the case. A wedding party, for example, does not constitute an event conducted in the presence of members of the public. It involves invited guests. A music shop does involve members of the public but the main purpose of the music shop is to sell music, not to invite people in to listen to music. Those people are not charged for coming into the shop to listen to music. There is no question of music shops, wedding parties or anything else of that sort being covered by the Bill. That is simply not provided for.
The second question raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, was about facilities. Why do we need to cover not only entertainment, as defined in paragraph 1(1), but also facilities, as in paragraph 1(3)? Entertainment facilities are needed in the Bill to ensure that, when a nightclub provides a dance floor
Lord Redesdale: I apologise to the Minister for interrupting at this point. I have a particular question that he may be able to answer now. If a dance floor is already in a venue but is not used for that purpose, does the physical presence of the dance floor mean that an official could say that the premises must be licensed, or does the dance floor have to be removed? That question has been raised by the industry, because the financial provision of pubs will be affected. What is a dance floor?
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