Now for some good news: Don Foster has managed to get the Coalition’s drive against red tape to include the scrapping of Live Event Licences for most venues.
The current regime is an unnecessary burden on small venues where live music does not pose a public nuisance. Both the cost (licences currently cost between £100 and £1905) and the administrative hassle of applying discourages small live music performances. Because of this, licencing is implicated in the closures of pubs and small venues around the country.
The government’s proposal is eminently liberal: only demand a licence for events which have an impact on neighbours, such as very large events with thousands of spectators. As Tourism Minister John Penrose says:
As long as we have proper controls on alcohol, and spectator safety and noise nuisance are controlled, the rest is mostly bonkers red tape, and it’s time we consigned it to the bin.
Mr Foster has been working hard on this issue for some time, introducing a bill last year and ensuring that a commitment to simplify the licence regime was in the Lib Dem manifesto (page 46).
So well done to Mr Foster and the Coalition for a very sensible proposal. Time to sing “Thank you for the music”?