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Baroness Buscombe moved Amendment No. 27:

"Educational and social establishments

The provision of entertainment or entertainment facilities is not to be regarded as regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act if it is undertaken on the premises of—
(a) an educational establishment for purposes directly connected to the activities of the establishment;
(b) a prison for purposes incidental to the activities of the prison;
(c) a hospital for purposes incidental to the activities of the hospital; or
(d) a museum or public gallery for purposes incidental to the activities of the museum or public gallery."

The noble Baroness said: The amendment seeks to provide exemptions to educational and social establishments for the provision of entertainment.

We propose that performances in certain educational and social establishments should be unregulated—a point to which we referred in earlier debates. While some may argue that providing exemptions to the licensing of entertainment would

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leave loopholes in the system, we believe that an insistence on including in the Bill the establishments and social institutions which we have sought to exclude is over-regulatory.

It is over-regulatory to insist that people cannot perform a play or even rehearse one without paying a fee for a licence. Since such establishments would be likely to host more than five such entertainments a year, a full licence will be required. Our amendment, however, seeks to protect social establishments from incurring these extra costs.

It is a recurring problem in the Bill that one type of legislation is imposed to fit all circumstances. It seems abundantly clear that entirely different considerations arise for a school play than they do in relation to, say, a public performance in a pub. We have heard what the Minister has said regarding concern for public safety and public nuisance, regardless of the origin. But we urge the Government to think carefully about the effect that the Bill will have on educational and social establishments. I beg to move.

Lord Redesdale: I support this amendment, to which my name is attached. I particularly support the provision to exclude hospitals. Live music in hospitals, as performed in some London hospitals, has been shown to be extremely beneficial in patient recovery. It has also been shown to be extremely helpful in staff retention. There is good evidence in several studies that that has happened.

Incidental music in museums and galleries could be seen as extremely beneficial to visitors, creating a mood that canned music often fails to achieve. It is an excellent amendment.

Lord Avebury: I also support the amendment, particuarly with regard to prisons. A couple of years ago, the board of visitors at Brixton prison organised a visit by the National Theatre, which put on performances with prisoners as actors. It invited many local people and friends of the prison to attend the performance and raised a substantial sum of money for Macmillan Cancer Relief.

Surely such an activity is incidental to the purposes of a prison, which is to enable prisoners to lead a good and useful life, as rule 1 of the prison rules states. What could be more enhancing of a prisoner's self-esteem and ability to cope with a variety of situations than taking part in the live performance of a play with distinguished actors from the National Theatre who were giving their services free? It would be a frightful nuisance for prisons if, on top of their myriad paperwork, they needed a special licence every time an external theatre group came to engage in such activity.

On the contrary, we should encourage entertainment provided not only by theatres but also opera companies. Recently, I heard a radio programme about a performance of the opera "Sweeney Todd", which some might think an unsuitable subject for the group of prisoners involved, who were "lifers". Nevertheless, the activity engaged

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them and the staff. Everyone was enthusiastic about it. I am sure that the noble Baroness would not want to discourage such activity. I hope that the Government will favour the amendment and do everything possible to encourage incidental activities that are therapeutic to the people involved.

Baroness Hanham: I declare an interest as chairman of an NHS trust. I support the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, about music in hospitals. It is becoming increasingly popular and prominent. Some organisations specifically provide music in hospitals, playing in wards and amphitheatres. It would deter them if they had to apply for a licence every time they wished to take a quartet into a ward or to provide music elsewhere in a hospital. I support the amendment, particularly that aspect.

Lord Redesdale: If a hospital needed an entertainment licence, the provision of health and safety would be an issue. But it would be difficult to say where the musical activity should take place. Incidental music for therapeutic value would have to be performed in wards or corridors. An entertainment licence may specify that it would have to be performed in an auditorium, which would contradict the purpose of using live music as a therapeutic method.

Lord Colwyn: I imagine that many museums survive only by holding evening functions. The Science Museum and the Natural History Museum host functions virtually every evening, for which they charge a lot of money. I imagine that that helps their budget a great deal. I do not have figures, but I am sure that this point should be considered.

Baroness Blackstone: Paragraph 9 of Schedule 1 exempts the provision of entertainment or entertainment facilities for a religious service or meeting under the requirements of the Bill. The amendment would exempt entertainment incidental to the activities of prisons, hospitals, museums or galleries where they take place on the premises of those bodies. It would also exempt activities undertaken at an educational establishment for purposes connected to that establishment.

Entertainment is regulated under this Bill to achieve licensing objectives, not least public safety. The establishments that would be at least partially exempted through this amendment host occasions that the public can attend. For example, occasionally prisons put on plays for the public. Museums such as the Natural History Museum— the noble Lord, Lord Colwyn, has just mentioned museums—rent out their buildings for dinners with dancing, for example. Some schools stage commercial music concerts, as we discussed with reference to earlier groups.

Just because events are taking place at schools, prisons, museums or hospitals does not mean that the public should not be protected. Of course they should be. Members of the Committee might argue that the activities I described are not incidental to the purposes of the establishments. I am not entirely clear about

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what is meant in the amendment by "incidental activities". However, if a performance is for therapeutic purposes for hospital patients and staff, it is not licensable. It is a private event. In fact, it is not incidental to the activities of the hospital. It is part of the process of helping people to get better. Similarly, a performance in a prison for the benefit of prisoners is not licensable. I support what the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, said about that. Prison regimes should allow such events to take place.

A major public event attended by many people from outside is a different case. People would expect such an event to be licensed. I hope that, in the light of what I have said, the noble Baroness feels able to withdraw the amendment. The purpose of the Bill is to try to have a coherent, unbureaucratic system, with a light touch. But it must create a level playing field between all the different bodies that might hold public events at which noise could be an issue and where the public need to be protected.

To exclude some premises entirely from the provision while including others would not further the aim of the Bill. I hope that I have assured Members of the Committee who have spoken that, where entertainment is obviously for the benefit of patients, prisoners and other recipients of care from the institutions mentioned, or for the benefit of pupils in a school, it is not licensable.

In response to the noble Lord, Lord Colwyn, the vast majority of museums host many events. They already have licences and would need to continue to do so for such activity.

Lord Redesdale: Perhaps we are being pernickety about the issue because of the bad experience many premises have had with public entertainment licences in cases where only one or two members of the public have triggered issues. That might not happen if public entertainment licences cost much less.

If staff spend their lunch hour at a performance by a small group of musicians in a ward, is the activity defined as a public or private one? Is there not a crossover at that point?

Baroness Blackstone: This is a good example of where common sense must prevail. Common sense tells me that, if people wish to use their lunch hour to listen to music being played for the benefit of patients on a ward, it is a private activity and should not therefore be licensable.

Lord Avebury: The noble Baroness talked about the performance of music in a hospital as part of the activities of the hospital. Will she extend those remarks to the provision of entertainment by schools that are designed for that purpose, particularly drama schools and music schools? Putting on performances is part of their activities. It is what they are there to do for their pupils. If somebody from outside comes to attend a performance at, for example, the Royal College of Music or the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, do those performances then become licensable?

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5.30 p.m.

Baroness Blackstone: If the performances are for the public, they are licensable. That is the key issue. If, on the other hand, they are done entirely privately, with students listening to students, they are not. Most conservatoires put on public concerts and would expect to have to get a licence.

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