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Lord Colwyn: My Lords, I, too, support the amendment. Minor changes have been made to the Bill in an attempt to encourage live music and to provide places for musicians to perform. I, too, am grateful for the concession that the Government have made. As the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, said, it is important that the difference between incidental music and featured performances is clarified. I shall not remind the Minister again of the wealth of talent in this country and the need to encourage live music.
Although the Minister assured us that the proposed legislation will encourage the use of live music, it is not seen that way by musicians. I have with me letters from various Ministers dating back to the early 1980sall of them agreeing that the "two-in-the-bar" rule must go and that it should be changed as soon as it is legislatively possible. The Government may consider that they have done this, but musicians are now referring to the "none-in-a-bar" rule. The theory of a reasonable entertainment licence with an alcohol licence seems fine, but musicians do not believe that it would work. There is no evidence that more control is needed. The licensee is governed by so many regulations that it should be up to him how many musicians he feels should be admitted. He or she would risk the main licence if there were problems with the entertainment licence.
When the new Bill is enacted, 78,000 pubs and bars, 25,000 restaurants and 4,000 clubs will lose their automatic right to host one or two performers. No one knows how many will take up the option to have live music under the Bill. The right honourable Member, Kim Howells, has been quoted as saying:
If the entertainment licence is not applied for with the alcohol licence, an application for live music will become a "variation" of the premises licence. That entails starting the whole process over againnotification of an approval by the police, fire service, environmental health, local residents and the licensing committee of the local authority.
Despite the Government concession, I implore the Minister to have a further look at this issue. The All-Party Parliamentary Jazz Group, of which I have the honour to be a joint chairman with Michael Connarty, has been active for many years trying to enable licensees to make their own decisions on how many musicians are ideal in different premises. I am wearing the all-party group tie. I had hoped to be able to say that there is a phalanx of Members sitting behind the Minister with similar views to mine, but I do not see a single tie over there. I am hoping that we shall be supported in the Lobby and perhaps in another place. Perhaps the Minister will allow us to present one of these ties to him when this Bill has been through both Houses. He will be much appreciated.
In my discussion with musicians over many years, I have found most to be supporters of the Labour Party. The Musicians Union supports the Labour Party. This is an opportunity for the Minister to show support for his supporters.
I am very happy to hold a debate on the matters that have been raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, and others. We could discuss the relationship between incidental music and music which is the main purpose of an entertainment; the difference between recorded and live music; and the difference between amplified and unamplified music. I am also pleased that the concession made by the Government has been received in good spirit. But I do not think that we could have that debate on this amendment. I am afraid that it is so wide-ranging and drastic that, were it to be introduced again either here or in another place, things would have to be said about it which are not at all helpful to live music, whether it be jazz or any other kind.
The amendment refers to "small premises", but it does not concern only small premises. It would affect any size of premises, whether outdoor or indoor, provided that the audience was smaller than the 250-person limit. We must take account of the fact that it would apply to outdoor events as well as those held indoors. The exemption from entertainment licensing would mean that, unless alcohol licensing with appropriate conditions were attached, there would be no protection, in particular, for children from harm.
Entertainment licensing applies to cinemas. Under the amendment, if a cinema seats fewer than 250 people, no licensing will be required. There would be no way to prevent young children from going to watch 18-rated or X-rated films. It could not be done. There would be no way to exclude children from, for example, a stag night. Again, it could not be done because the exemption from all forms of licensing means that no conditions could be applied.
The noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, rightly remarked that in previous debates I have said that licensing should be confined to licensing matters and that some matters of public safety and concern can properly be left to non-licensing legislation. However, if all licensing considerations were to be taken away, as would be the case under the amendment, then no licensing controls would apply, no conditions could be set and it would lead to the year-round provision of entertainment. All that would be left, except in a very small number of cases, would be the 11.30 p.m. cut-off point.
This is the archetypal sledgehammer to crack a nut. By all means let us have a debate on proper amendments in another place on the issues that were raised most reasonably in our debates, but please do not let us do so on this amendment.
Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that full response. I hear what he has had to say, but we believe that this is a fair and reasonable amendment. We believe that we have set a sensible time constraint and an equally sensible constraint in terms of the size of premises.
Concerns were expressed in earlier debates that if we were to exempt, for example, all live performances, then we could be talking about rave situations and other circumstances that could lead to crime and disorder, and of course the Minister has referred to the need to protect children from harm. However, we believe that the amendment does not and would not envisage events that could cause such problems. Numerous elements of legislation are already in place, to which I have already referred, which would take
The Minister may say that this is a drastic amendment, but we call it sensible and one that we believe is important in order to show honourable Members in another place that the matter is of deep concern not only to the music industry and musicians, as well as to many others involved in the entertainment business, but also to those of us who enjoy being on the receiving end of entertainment. We feel that entertainment should not be constrained in the way sought in the Bill.
Notwithstanding the fact that we are grateful to the Government for deciding to accept the principle that all incidental live music should be exempt, we do not believe that that would take it far enough. I am grateful for the Minister's words, but perhaps I may say that, as regards cinemas, surely the Government exemption for big screen broadcasts could easily equate to that. Therefore, while it is a good argument in some senses, it is not one that we would accept.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I do not think that it is possible to show 18-rated films in a pub, for example, to audiences including under 18 year-olds. In small cinemasthere are many of them, especially in villageswe are saying that the amendment would allow children to watch films that they should not be watching.
Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, we would deny that. I do not accept that that is the case. I think that it is unfair, given that the noble Lord knows that one of my most critical concerns about the Bill has been with regard to the need to protect children. I do not believe that the amendment does anything that might cause harm to childrenunless there was a potential harm. At that point, the police still have powers to become involved.
We could argue further, but it is important, in a sense, to push the boundaries as far as possible in order to send a message to honourable Members in another place stating that we believe that issues concerning music and entertainment are so important that they should consider with care all the hard work that we have carried out in this House. I should like to test the opinion of the House.
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