Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Twenty-Second Report


Annex

LICENSING BILL [HL]  

Letter from Dr Kim Howells MP, Minister of state for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport

I am writing to inform the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee of my intentions to table an amendment to the Licensing Bill at Report Stage in the Commons to include a power for the Secretary of State to amend by order the limits relating to permitted temporary activities as outlined in Part 5 of the Bill. Report stage for the Licensing Bill in the Commons has been scheduled for Monday 16 June.

During the Licensing Bill's progress through the House of Lords, there was considerable debate on the parameters attached to the permitted temporary activity system, such as the number of temporary event notices that could be given in respect to the same premises per year, or the length of time permissible for any temporary event. The Government has been reluctant to reconsider the parameters on the basis that the scheme set out in the bill strikes the right balance between a light touch approach for ad hoc temporary events and the need to protect the rights of local residents.

Following debates in Commons Committee and representations from a range of stakeholders, however, the Government has been persuaded to reconsider the permitted limits. This will benefit and provide much greater flexibility to those representing community organisations wishing to organise ad hoc events such as clubs, sports clubs, village and community halls, voluntary and charitable groups, festival organisers and churches.

However, the Government is keen to ensure that the interests of local residents will remain protected. We therefore propose to amend the bill to give the Secretary of State the power to amend by order some of the permitted limits for temporary vent notices. The proposed amendments and explanation of their effect are attached at Annex A of this letter. The benefits that this power would provide are two-fold. First, it would ensure that residents concerns are fully protected as the power to make changes the limits would enable the Secretary of State to respond to any emerging problems and experience in the operation of this deregulatory part of the bill. Permitted limits would be kept under constant review. Secondly, the power would enable the Secretary of State to consider further liberalisation of the permitted parameters if the system worked well and such a change was justified.

As any change in the permitted limits would be of particular interest to a wide range of stakeholder groups, it is recognised that these should only take place with the approval of both Houses of Parliament, and any orders made under the powers contained in this amendment will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

4 June 2003

Annex A

Supplementary Memorandum by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Clause 98: Temporary event notice [Commons amendment 37, HL Bill 79]

1.  Where a premises user wishes to carry out a licensable activity not covered by a premises licence or club premises certificate, he must submit a "temporary event notice" to the licensing authority. Clause 98 outlines the form, detail and procedure for tendering a temporary event notice.

2.  The proposed draft suitable amendment would give the Secretary of State the power to amend by order the period during which a premises may be temporarily used for permitted licensable activities. It would also provide the power to amend by order the maximum number of persons who should be allowed on the premises at any one time. Secondary legislation is considered suitable for these matters, as this will provide the Secretary of State with the flexibility to react to experience of the new system introduced by the Bill for temporary activities, which is, as yet unknown. Having regard to the nature of the amendments which may be brought about by the power it is considered necessary to subject any exercise of the power to the approval of both Houses of Parliament to provide proper scrutiny of its use.

Clause 105: Counter notice where permitted limits exceeded [Commons amendment 43, HL Bill 79]

3.  Clause 105 provides that a licensing authority that has received a temporary event notice must issue a counter notice if certain limits have been reached. Those limits include the number of event notices which can be given by a premises user who is a personal licence holder, the number of event notices which can be given by a premises user who is not a personal licence holder and the maximum number of temporary event notices which may be given in respect of the same premises in any calendar year. This amendment would give the power to amend by order the maximum number of days on which events, or part of events may take place under temporary event notices. It should be noted that by a further Government amendment which has been tabled, a new sub-section 4A is introduced further limits in relation to the numbers of days the same premises can be used for permitted temporary activities in a calendar year.

4.  The proposed draft suitable amendment would give the Secretary of State the power to amend by order:

  • the maximum number of temporary event notices that may be given by a personal licence holder within a calendar year;
  • the maximum number of temporary event notices that may be given by a non personal licence holder within a calendar year;
  • the maximum number of temporary event notices that may be given in respect of the of the whole or any part of a relevant premises within a calendar year; and
  • the maximum number of days in any calendar year on which events taking place under temporary event notices may take place at the same premises

5.  Secondary legislation is considered suitable for these matters, as this will provide the Secretary of State with the flexibility to react to experience of the new system introduced by the Bill for temporary activities, which is, as yet unknown. Having regard to the nature of the amendments which may be brought about by the power it is considered necessary to subject any exercise of the power to the approval of both Houses of Parliament to provide proper scrutiny of its use.

Clause 192: Regulations and orders [Commons amendments 57 and 58, HL Bill 79]

6.  This clause sets out the procedural and Parliamentary requirement to be followed when exercising delegated powers created in the Bill.

7.  These two proposed draft suitable amendments would add the new order making powers to be introduced into Part 5 of the Bill to the list of those orders which must be approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament (affirmative resolution procedure). The order making powers subject to this procedure would be: the alteration of, the maximum temporary event period, the limit on the number people who may legally attend an event held under a temporary event notice, as well as the limit on the number of temporary event notices which may be given by particular individuals or at any particular premises in any calendar year. In addition to this, the power to alter the number of days on which events may be held under temporary event notices at any particular premises, in any year would, as a result of these amendments be added to the list of those orders which must be approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament (affirmative resolution procedure).



 
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