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Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville moved Amendment No. 10:

The noble Lord said: My Lords, as will be apparent to the Minister, this is a probing amendment arising out of the amendment that the Government moved on Report. It is probably self-indulgent to table a probing amendment at this stage. If the Minister would be kind enough to agree to reply to a letter in which I would carry out the probing that I would otherwise do in the House, preferably before Second Reading in the Commons, I would be happy to withdraw the amendment. So far, her record of meeting deadlines has been impeccable.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I would be extremely happy to respond to any letter that the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, wanted to write to me on the amendment. I shall do so as speedily as possible.

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, it is correspondence to which I look forward already. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 1 [Provision of regulated entertainment]:

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendment No. 11:

    Page 110, line 14, leave out sub-paragraph (7).

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the Government agreed to consider the concern expressed on Report by the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, that there was scope for misinterpretation of the provisions of the Bill in respect of the provision of regulated entertainment at a private event held by a charity. The concern was that the Bill would catch all relevant charitable events, even if they were intended not to make a profit but only to cover costs and, in the event, made a loss.

One of the conditions that must be fulfilled for entertainment to fall within the scope of the Bill is that, where it is not provided to any extent for members of

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the public or a section of the public or by a club for its members—that is, it is a part of a private event—it must be provided,

    "for consideration and with a view to profit".

As I said on Report, it is certainly not the intention of the Bill to define entertainment provided by a charity as provided,

    "for consideration and with a view to profit",

even where the charity concerned is trying only to cover its costs and not to make a surplus on the event.

The Government tabled the amendment to remove any scope for misinterpretation by removing paragraph 1(7) of Schedule 1. The amendment will make sure that the condition in respect of the entertainment or entertainment facilities being provided,

    "for consideration and with a view to profit"

can properly be construed as not fulfilled, if the charity is simply covering its costs. I beg to move.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for the amendment. It fits the bill well. As she said, the point of the amendment is to ensure that nobody could be under any misunderstanding with regard to, for example, the provision of tea and biscuits during the interval in some event that is never going to cover its costs but might make a couple of quid on the tea and biscuits. The amendment will make it clear that such micro-profit in the context of an event that is not intended to do more than cover its costs will not fall foul of this part of the schedule. I am grateful for the amendment.

Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, I also thank the Minister for the amendment. We have all felt strongly about the matter throughout the Bill's passage, so we are grateful that the Government have tabled the amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendment No. 12:

    Page 112, line 7, at end insert—

"Garden fetes, etc

(1) The provision of any entertainment or entertainment facilities at a garden fete, or at a function or event of a similar character, is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act.
(2) But sub-paragraph (1) does not apply if the fete, function or event is promoted with a view to applying the whole or part of its proceeds for purposes of private gain.
(3) In sub-paragraph (2) "private gain", in relation to the proceeds of a fete, function or event, is to be construed in accordance with section 22 of the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976 (c. 32)."

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, when we discussed the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, on Report, I said that we would consider tabling a government amendment. We have tabled an amendment that will exempt garden fetes and functions or events of a similar character that

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are not held for private gain from the entertainment aspects of the new licensing regime. I am grateful to the noble Lord for raising the matter.

The amendment will come as a boon to the organisers of the thousands of garden fetes held throughout the country. I beg to move.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury: My Lords, I am again grateful to the noble Baroness. Church bells will ring from one end of England to the other, as they did at the news of the assassination of the Duke of Buckingham.

The amendment fits the bill perfectly. My amendment—Amendment No. 14—perishes in the shadow of Amendment No. 12.

Lord Skelmersdale: My Lords, as a horticulturalist, I am delighted at the Government's reaction to the amendment relating to garden fetes tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury. However, I ask the Minister to tell us what the difference is between a garden fete making a profit and a village hall or community centre making a profit.

Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Skelmersdale for the point that he just raised. It occurs to me that that image of the village hall is to be rejected. It is not just an image; it is real.

I am sure, however, that all noble Lords are grateful for the amendment and grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, for raising the matter. The amendment will exempt those who want to hold something as simple and community-based as a garden fete. It is a step in the right direction, and we are grateful to the Government for responding to the suggestion made by the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, and to the debates on the issue.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, I declare an interest as the husband of someone who runs a local fair in the summer to raise money to enrich and extend the amenities at Myatt's Fields in the London Borough of Lambeth.

The London Borough of Lambeth has greatly reduced the size of its parks department and depends extensively on contributions made by private individuals throughout the borough who raise money by various means to enhance the amenities in its parks. It will be a great reassurance to all those engaged in such enterprises—not just the one run by my wife—in Lambeth and other parts of the metropolis to know that they will be able to raise a few hundred pounds every year by holding a fete without incurring any disadvantage under the Bill and that all the money will go to the public purposes for which it is intended. I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Phillips of Sudbury for raising the matter and to the Minister for making the concession.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I appreciate the thanks expressed by noble Lords for the amendment. As I said, we should thank the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, for raising the matter in the first place.

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To the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, I say that, in the debate on the previous group of amendments, my noble friend Lord McIntosh of Haringey explained clearly that a huge range of events could take place in village halls, many of which should be licensed, to make sure that the local community is properly protected from events that might get out of hand. A garden fete is a rather different matter.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Buscombe moved Amendment No. 13:

    Page 112, line 25, at end insert—

"Small premises

(1) The provision of entertainment is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act, where—
(a) the number of persons attending the entertainment at any one time does not exceed 250, and
(b) the entertainment terminates no later than 11.30 p.m. on the same day.
(2) The provision of entertainment facilities solely for the purposes of the entertainment in sub-paragraph (1) above is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act."

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 13, I immediately thank the Minister for a letter that, notwithstanding the fact that it is dated 10th March, I received just before I came into your Lordships' House this evening. The letter makes particular reference to incidental live music. It says that the Minister has decided to accept the principle that all incidental live music should be exempt. We are grateful for that important concession. Enormous progress has been made in that regard, and we are grateful to the Minister for that.

That said, we still believe that Amendment No. 13 is worthwhile and sensible. It would complement the Government's intention regarding incidental music. The amendments that we have achieved thus far are, to some extent, limited. The problem related to unamplified music, where instruments would require some form of amplification to make any noise. Given the fact that the Government have decided to accept the principle that all incidental live music should be exempt, that problem is somewhat diminished. That said, we suggest that it is diminished only with regard to incidental music, and we need to know what we mean by "incidental".

Our amendment could lead to a renaissance of live music and other small-scale entertainments. It sits with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's goal of increasing participation in and access to the performing arts and using the performing arts to tackle social exclusion. It would include events that are, for example, advertised and, therefore, not necessarily just incidental to whatever else is going on. There is a concern that "incidental" could mean background music—for example, a pianist in a hotel, a string quartet or, with the Government's concession, amplified music—but it must be in some form incidental.

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Amendment No. 13 is self-explanatory. It seeks to allow the provision of entertainment in licensed premises where the premises do not exceed 250 people and where the entertainment terminates no later than 11.30 p.m. on the same day. I repeat that it is right to strike a sensible balance between the amenity of people in the neighbourhood of the licensed premises and the enjoyment of people inside the premises.

The Government have said that, as drafted, the Licensing Bill strikes the correct balance between the right to a good night out and the right to a quiet night's sleep. Our question is: does it? A quiet night's sleep is considered to apply generally between 11.30 p.m. and 7.30 a.m. The exemption for broadcast entertainment covers transmissions on big screens set up in any place, with unlimited amplification and any number of people attending up to 24 hours per day. Not only sport but all kinds of pre-recorded and live music could be available.

The Government have decided that existing health and safety and noise nuisance legislation is sufficient to regulate any risks arising from such broadcast entertainment. However, we believe that the law as it stands would extend to any form of entertainment, including entertainment that would be provided within the limits of our amendment. This small premises exemption requires entertainment to cease by 11.30 p.m. with no more than 250 people attending at any time.

Public safety is covered by separate legislation. Both employer and self-employed performers have statutory duties to make risk assessments of the impact of their activities on members of the public. The example given by the Government of cables being trailed through an audience could lead to criminal prosecution under health and safety legislation, irrespective of any licensing controls. The same applies to the blocking of fire exits.

We know that noise within premises can be controlled. The Environmental Protection Act allows local authorities to seize noisy equipment immediately or to serve anticipatory noise abatement notices. The police can close noisy pubs immediately for up to 24 hours. I could go on. The reality is that this is a sensible, balanced amendment that would complement the Government's important concession in relation to live music being exempt where incidental. I beg to move.

6 p.m.

Lord Redesdale: My Lords, I support the amendment, which also stands in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Falkland. This is a proportional amendment. I say that with regard to the House of Lords Committee on Human Rights discussing proportionality. There has been discussion on these Benches as to whether 11.30 p.m. is appropriate. Some of my noble friends say that nine o'clock is the average time at which people go to bed. As someone with very young children, I was awake between one and three o'clock this morning. I would happily have dealt with live music at that time.

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However, this amendment is being tabled not for any reason other than that it fulfils some objectives that the Government have set out in a letter. I have not received the letter but I had a cursory glance at that sent to the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe. I believe that a letter is now on my desk. This amendment will allow small-scale events in places such as a restaurant seating 80 people with music playing in the background.

If the amendment is not agreed to, music will not be considered "incidental" if a band advertises that it will be playing. The main attraction will be determined by whether people turn up to listen to the band or to eat. Live music on a small scale is not the great draw that people talk about. We must take a realistic and commonsense approach.

The Minister will now say—as I know his honourable friend in another place said—"What about Kyoto drummers?". I was tempted to table an amendment specifically banning Kyoto drummers playing anywhere in the United Kingdom, so that this issue would not be able to raise the hackles of Mr Howells. Amendment No. 13 is not intended purely and simply to pander to the mischief-making of the Musicians Union. We support the amendment because it will lead to the renaissance of live music and the ability to go out and listen to live music. We should all support that.

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