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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I come to the third part of the argument, because we need to consider the matter as a whole. I refer to the availability of licences. One is not going to have a dance floor in a nightclub unless one is proposing to dance, and one is not going to dance except to musicat least, not in my experience. Any licensed premises, such as a nightclub or pub, which is selling alcohol, is going to have an alcohol licence to start with. At the same time as applying for its alcohol licence, and at no extra charge, it will be able to apply for an entertainment licence.
As I have made clear, the judgment on the entertainment licence will not be made on the basis that the music is live or recorded, or amplified or not amplified. It will be made on whether an audience is present that needs to be protected on the grounds of public safety, and whether protection is needed for those who live around. The conditions that will be applied to the licence relate not to whether it is live or recorded or amplified or not amplified but to whether health and safety and public safety requirements are met by the premises and by the emission of noise and other disturbance from the premises. In other words, they could be controlled in terms of the numbers of decibels, such as a requirement for a lower level of noise later at night. All those matters can be dealt with in the conditions of the individual licence.
Therefore, it is unnecessary to go into all the detail into which many of the amendments go, except for the purposes of explanation, as we do in paragraph 2 of the schedule. The purpose of facilities is to have entertainment, for which they will need a licence. The purpose of protection from licences is to discriminate not between one form of entertainment and another but in terms of public safety and public nuisance. That purpose is set out in the licensing objectives, although we have not yet come to that part of the Bill.
Taking the amendments in more detail, I assure the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, that, if there is any concern about rehearsal studios or music practice, those rooms are not subject to licensing. The playing of music at either of those would not constitute regulated
I believe that the Committee will agree, however, that when there is a public dress rehearsal or press night, for which people are not paying but to which they are invited, the same issues of public safety and nuisance arise as if it were a paid public performance. Therefore, it should be subject to licensing.
Amendment No. 18 would add dancing and making music to the list of descriptions of entertainment in paragraph 2. The performance of live music and any playing of recorded music is already caught, so I do not understand what that amendment would add.
Baroness Buscombe: I find the Minister's reply depressing, in the sense that it has raised more questions than it has answered. I shall want to read his comments carefully in Hansard. For example, if there is a party to which there are invited guests, does a gatecrasher trigger the need for a licence?
Baroness Buscombe: The point I am making surely shows that our amendment would simplify the Bill. It would remove the vague reference to facilities and concentrate on the description of entertainment, so that we can all understand to what extent licensing will be required.
There are questions of health and safety and with regard to the effect on the area around the premises, but we remain confused about the extent of the meaning of "facility". In later amendments we shall develop the argument about why the schedule needs clear amendment. All we are doing in the amendments to which I have spoken is to seek to assist the Government in simplifying the schedule so that it focuses on the entertainment itself, and on the impact that that entertainment will have on its environment.
We shall read carefully what the Minister said. I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, that if the Government do not accept the amendments, we shall probably return to the matter on Report. This is an important area of the Bill, in relation to which we have been lobbied heavily because it raises so many questions. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Lord Redesdale: The Bill appears vague and somewhat confusing and is therefore almost a paradise for lawyers, who will need to explain what we meant when we passed this wonderful Bill. Will the issues raised by it be covered by the guidance, which of course has not yet been published?
Baroness Gardner of Parkes: I support the amendment. It was said earlier that weddings will be for invited guests but my experience is that if a wedding is in a church, the public are not excluded; anyone can walk in. The phrase, "to any extent" could mean that that answer about the church might not be correct.
Lord Carlile of Berriew: The phrase, "to any extent" will be pored over by the courts; the whole Bill will provide a field-day for lawyers and there will be a huge number of judicial review applications as a result of the transfer to councils of licensing responsibility. What the Minister says in Committee about the words "to any extent" will be pored over, bearing in mind the Pepper v Hart decision, which allows courts to look at Hansard in certain circumstances.
I intervene on this issue to try to tease out of this Minister, having tried with the previous Minister, whether this provision provides a gateway through which small charities, such as those that I mentioned earlier, can go. If the event is organised on the basis that tickets are sold by people with a particular interest so as to invite some members of the public to private premisesa village hall or church, for examplein order to support a charity, will the words allow us not to have to apply for a licence? If not, what do they mean, if anything at all?
Lord Bridges: I raise another example, which the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, might care to consider. I speak as a former vice-president of the Aldeburgh Foundation. One of our most successful activities are the Britten-Pears musical schools, in which a number of masterclasses are given by experts: singers, violinists and so on. They are extremely interesting events, to which one can go and pay a small fee. Not many people can go but they are generally very popular. If one is ambitious to become a Lieder singer, one will learn much by going to listen to a masterclass. At the moment, the funds received, which are not considerable, go to help to pay for the foundation's expenses. Would they be caught by the phrase "to any extent"? I suppose that they will be.
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