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Lord Ezra: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that positive reply. I am glad that the Government are taking the problem seriously. Is the Minister aware that during 2002 the insurance liability burden on the construction industry more than doubled and that it is likely to more than double again in 2003? In some cases firms have been unable to obtain insurance at all which means that legally they will have to cease trading. Bearing that in mind, and while the various studies now in hand are continued, does the noble Lord agree that some interim measures should be taken to enable firms to continue in business? If that is not done, is it not likely that uninsured cowboy traders could take over the business?

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, the situation is serious. There have been substantial increases, particularly in the construction industry. Increases of 200 per cent have been reported. However, seeking interim measures is another matter as it is not clear what they would be, other than the Government providing insurance. I believe that that would be regrettable because of the inability of the Government to do other than take all the worst risks, and getting out of the situation would be extremely difficult. This is a complex market. We need to be absolutely certain about the evidence, the key issues in the market and the case for, and objectives of, reform before we take any action.

Lord Marsh: My Lords, does the Minister agree that there are two key aspects to the problem; first, the very high level of awards, and, secondly, and equally importantly, the sheer cost of mounting a defence

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which increasingly means that people, although believing themselves innocent, cannot afford the cost and are forced to settle out of court?

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, a number of reasons have been suggested for the situation. The insurance industry attributes rises in premiums to factors ranging from the effects of 11th September to the growing use of no win, no fee arrangements that lead to more personal injury claims and new types of claims such as stress. All those matters contribute to the situation. Also lower interest rates have an effect on the cash flow situation and on falling equity values. A whole range of matters affect the situation and before we take any action we must be clear which matters are important and where action is possible.

Lord Elton: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the problems of small professional roofing companies, who are probably having to bear the highest increases in premiums, have nothing to do with September 11th or with no win, no fee cases? They are the victims of something that may drive many—possibly all—of them out of business in the near future. Can he assure us that the review that he is undertaking will come to a swift conclusion and that those of us who are dependent on such companies to keep the rain out of our houses are not left with no recourse other than illegal cowboys?

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, I agree that small roofing companies are probably not affected by September 11th. We are discussing the capacity of the market. If that capacity is affected in one area, that can have knock-on effects in other parts of the market.

The construction industry faces particular issues, one of which is that it does not have an especially good record on health and safety. In particular, an increasing difficulty is that of insurance companies distinguishing between those companies that have good health and safety records and those that do not. That may be one area where one may find improvement in the market.

Lord Ezra: My Lords, the Minister said that it may be difficult to find a short-term solution. Will he bear in mind that the Government, through the insurance premium tax, have benefited enormously from spiralling insurance charges? Cannot they set aside some of those proceeds to help firms in especial difficulty?

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, the review will report in the spring—and quickly. As I said, we do not consider favourably any idea that the Government should start acting as an insurer of last resort, because of the initial difficulty of doing so and the subsequent difficulty of getting out of such an arrangement. Also, setting up such a scheme might well take considerably longer than would trying to correct matters in the market place.

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Lord Grocott: My Lords, with the leave of the House, at a convenient time after 5 p.m. my noble friend Lord Sainsbury of Turville will repeat a Statement on the White Paper on energy.

Licensing Bill [HL]

3.5 p.m.

Report received.

Clause 1 [Licensable activities and qualifying club activities]:

[Amendment No. 1 not moved.]

Schedule 1 [Provision of regulated entertainment]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 2:

    Page 108, line 32, leave out from "of" to ", and" in line 33 and insert—

"(i) any person concerned in the organisation or management of that entertainment, or
(ii) any person concerned in the organisation or management of those facilities who is also concerned in the organisation or management of the entertainment within paragraph 3(2) in which those facilities enable persons to take part"

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 3 and 218. The Government are committed to providing a regulatory environment within which entertainment can thrive. The Bill is a key tool to help us achieve that aim. However, in view of the real concerns raised by many performers, on 18th February we announced a package of concessionary measures. The amendments in this group constitute one element of that package. They make clear that entertainers will not commit an offence if they simply take part in the provision of unregulated entertainment unless, for example, they also had a hand in the organisation of the provision.

Amendment No. 2 makes clear in Schedule 1 that for private functions, an individual who simply makes facilities available, but is not concerned with the management or organisation of the entertainment for which the facilities are used, is not to be considered as doing so for a charge. In practical terms, that means that an individual—perhaps someone who owns or manages an historic house or other suitable venue—will not be subject to the licensing regime simply because he hires out the venue to a third party, perhaps for a wedding or other function, and that third party then chooses to provide regulated entertainment using the venue's facilities unless the person hiring out the room becomes concerned with the organisation and management of the entertainment.

Finally, Amendment No. 3 clarifies that the performer is not to be considered as concerned in the management or organisation of an event merely by virtue of his or her having decided on the music he or she has chosen to perform or play, the manner in which it is performed or played or by providing facilities such as musical instruments to perform or play the music.

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So a jazz trio booked to perform in a night club would not be considered to be concerned in the organisation or management of the entertainment—and therefore not caught by the Bill—simply because it decided the set list and brought along the instruments.

Taken together with the other elements of the package, which will be introduced later during Report, the amendments represent significant concessions. I beg to move.

Lord Redesdale: My Lords, we on these Benches welcome the amendment; it would be churlish not to do so. Much has been made of the whistling postman being arrested in the street—an example that I have never used until now, so I am pleased to have the opportunity to do so.

The Government have gone a long way to meet many musicians' concerns, but a slight problem remains in their minds. If small performers—say those organising a jazz quartet—were dealing with a wedding party and transgressed the Bill's licensing provisions in any way, even if they did not mean to, would they be liable for the onerous penalties set out later in the Bill? I ask that only so that the Minister can clarify the matter, because it appears that although performers themselves would be exempt, many musicians who run their own bands and organise their events might well still fall under the Bill's provisions.

Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, we on these Benches also welcome the concessions in the amendments. But they do not go far enough. For example, we are concerned about the suggestion that under Amendment No. 2 there would not be a problem if a person was not concerned in the organisation or management of facilities. Surely, no matter how careful those involved in the music business may be, it will be difficult for them to decide what the provision means—whether they are involved in the organisation of an event.

A perfect example, to which the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, referred, is that of the organisation of a private wedding. Clearly, the organisation of such an event would amount to a joint undertaking among a number of people: the bride's parents' approach to the band leader; the band leader establishing what type of music is required and his engaging the appropriate musicians; and, lastly, his charging the parents a fee for that service, plus a fee for his performance, plus a fee to distribute among the other musicians. Band leaders generally pay themselves something extra for all the telephone calls involved, any advertising, and so on.

Much professional live music is organised in that way for private weddings and other private social events. Even if the initial approach by the parents is to an agent, the musician is often then required to liaise directly with the bride or best man about all manner of details: band line-up, male or female vocals or, if instrumental, saxophone or guitar-led, performance times, repertoire, special numbers, and so on. Although we welcome the concessions in the amendments, we are concerned that they do not

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provide sufficient clarity to those who will be examining the Bill to understand whether they fall within its provisions, given their actions.

Amendment No. 218 also relates to small performances. Musicians are concerned that, unless they have taken all reasonable precautions to ensure that premises are licensed for their performance, they may still be criminalised.

We thank the Government for considering with care the concerns that we and many beyond your Lordships' House have had about the regulation of music and live entertainment. However, we fear that the amendment does not go far enough.

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