Save live music in pubs – Repeal Licensing Act 2003
Repeal the Licensing Act 2003. Or, as a bare minimum, remove "the provision of regulated entertainment" from the licensable activities definition.
The Act defines "licensable activities" as:
- the retail sale of alcohol,
- the supply of alcohol in clubs,
- the provision of late night refreshment, and
- the provision of regulated entertainment
In turn, "regulated entertainment" is defined as:
- a performance of a play,
- an exhibition of a film,
- an indoor sporting event,
- a boxing or wrestling entertainment (both indoors and outdoors),
- a performance of live music,
- any playing of recorded music, or
- a performance of dance
The highlighted definition above has seen small bands and local pubs lose out to beauracracy, red tape and high fees.
I propose that you repeal the definition of "The provision of regulated entertainment" from licensable activities.
Why does this idea matter?
The licensing act 2003 was responsible not only for stifling the success of small bands, but also for pushing the faces of already struggling pubs firmly into the dirt.
Live music was a saving grace for pubs, bringing in customers during a time when breweries charge extortionate prices, supermarkets offer four cans of beer for the price of a pint and the smoking ban had taken away some of the regulars. The licensing act made live music unaffordable by forcing the publican to cough up punshing fees in order to have one artist play each week.
Music, pre Labour, was something you were able to play without a license. Now, following this law, live music is only a stone's throw away from being a criminal offence.
You cannot, for example, break out an acoustic guitar or play on the pub piano, you fall foul of this law.
Music, live music especially, is such an essential part of the British identity. We cannot afford to allow live music to continue to be criminalised.
I urge you, even if you do not repeal the whole act, repeal the music section.