|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Of course not. I thought that I had made that entirely clear. Private parties become licensable only if the holder of the party charges those for whom an entertainment is provided and only if the purpose of the party is the provision of entertainment. Incidental entertainment provided even when the entertainer is paid as part of a private party is not licensable. Certainly, anything where no charge is made for admission is not licensable. Mozart and Haydn spent most of their lives being paid to do work that was not licensable. Count Esterhazy's soirees at Eisenstadt, to which he did not charge admission as far as I know but which did include performances conducted by Joseph Haydn, would not have been licensable.
Lord Skelmersdale: I asked whether, for example, the owners of a private house who employed the Diva Opera to raise money for a local hospice would need a licence for the premises. The people who came to such an event would be paying, although the profits would go to charity. Under the definition and the explanation that the Minister has so far given, that would be a licensable activity. I, for one, think that that is quite wrong.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I believe that we dealt with that question when we debated Amendment No. 6, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Phillips. Yes, if a charge were made for admission to a private house, whether it was for private profit or charity, the same issues of public safety and public nuisance would arise. To that extent, it would still be licensable. As I said to the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, for it to be licensable, other than simply subject to the serving of a notice, there would have to be five events. Each of those events could last up to three days in the course of one calendar year, and there would have to be more than 500 people involved. There are not many of those.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I do not believe that the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, was here when I answered that question before. That would not be a charge for admission and would not make it licensable.
Baroness Buscombe: Looking around the Chamber, there seem to be concerns on two levels. First, I am concerned that the Minister's explanation does not fit my questions. Secondly, there is consternation among Members of the Committee that such events to which we have referred, such as the one mentioned by my noble friend Lord Skelmersdale, attract the need for a licence. There is concern on those two levels.
As I said to noble Lords, we have consulted licensing lawyers with expertise in these matters, and we believe that there is a problem with this part of the Bill. We believe that our amendment clarifies the situation, but clearly in the view of the Minister it does not. I shall read his comments carefully in Hansard, but I fear that we shall return to the matter on Report. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Baroness said: The amendment is designed to probe further what is meant by "indoor sporting event" for the purposes of the Bill. I am sure that most of us are clear that it would include a gymnastics competition in a sports hall, a swimming competition or an indoor bowling competition, but will the Minister tell us how far the definition of "sporting event" goes? It would be helpful to have that explained clearly.
Would the definition include a regular amateur club darts competition, for example? Would it include a skittles, bridge or whist competition in a church or village hall or in private premises, designed to raise money for a good cause? On some definitions, that would certainly be sporting. It would certainly be an entertainment. There would probably be a charge if the reason was to raise money for a good cause. There would certainly be an audience, and a large number of people might come and go in the course of an evening. Do the Government envisage that every small, local, casual competition of that sort would be subject to the full rigours of the law?
On a separate aspect, what is constituted by "indoor"? Does an event have to take place within a permanent structure? What happens in the casepossible today and increasingly likely in futurewhen a stadium has a retractable roof? Would that be caught
Would that example be covered by any regulations that would apply to the relevant subsection? Would an operator have to apply for permission to close a structure? Does the definition include a marquee near a sporting event, or a tented structure? What about the circumstances, which are increasingly common in some events, in which an awning or cover is placed over some parts of an otherwise open-air structure to shelter the sporting entertainers?
Those may seem small issues, but they are part of everyday life throughout the country, and it is important that we should be clear at the outset how far and in what ways the Government intend the provisions to bite. I beg to move.
However, the notes do not refer to darts. That may seem an amusing factor, but darts is one game often played in pubs. The Sports Council does not recognise darts, and it is not an Olympic event as yet. Often, of course, darts is covered as a licensable activity in large competitions through the sale of alcohol. However, will the Minister give some definition? Although the definition of sport in paragraph 14 of Part 3 of Schedule 1 uses the word "includes", darts is an issue that many councils will ask about.
Lord Skelmersdale: I must declare an interest as chairman of the House of Lords bridge group. I understand from the very helpful Explanatory Notes that bridge would not normally be covered. However, there is surely a bit of a muddle here. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, that the Bill does not really explain what "sport" means. It clearly covers more than contact sports and clearly means sports that people pay to view specifically. Darts in a pub is incidental, and the pub would have to be licensed anyway, so it seems to me that it would not be a factor in the equation.
Lord Davies of Oldham: I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, who has answered one of the difficult points for me. I am not a darts fanatic, but I have seen the game played from time to time, and I cannot remember any circumstance in which I have seen a dart thrown when drink was not in fairly close proximity. The issue with regard to a licence would
The noble Lord rightly said that not all sports were contact sports, but sport is sport, and bridge is not a sport. I think that we can agree on the two ends of the definition. We are seeking to indicate that there are a number of indoor sporting events with a fixed roof. I shall refer to the intermittent contraption or sliding roof in a moment. Let us deal with those events that are definitively indoors. They are currently covered by the requirements because indoor arenas can have large crowds. Indoor arenas have substantial capacities for sports such as cycling and athletics, to say nothing of boxing.
We do not intend to exclude any entertainment covered by the current licensing regime. Such events are covered because there is a public interest in terms of health and safety on such occasions. Indoor sporting events can attract sizeable crowds and generate an atmosphere of excitement owing to the competitive nature of the activities provided. Bridge does not quite fit into that category, which is not to sayI seek to reassure the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdalethat bridge is not competitive. Although it engenders emotions among onlookers, it does not produce quite the same response or involve such large numbers as the sporting events we seek to cover with this provision. We believe that the events should continue to be licensed because only regulation through such a system can ensure public safety and prevent public nuisance and crime and disorder. To exclude indoor sporting events without proper justification would lead to serious problems. After all, a number of issues are raised in relation to external sporting events although the arenas are not very different from the indoor arenas we seek to cover. We shall come to a relevant amendment later. The amendments were grouped at one point but they have been decoupled. The amendment I have in mind relates to retractable roofs. I shall reserve my salient remarks until we reach that amendment.
Back to Table of Contents
Lords Hansard Home Page