The new law concerning 24 hour drinking will soon be on the statute books,bringing us into line with most other European countries. Great, you might think,but there are some hard hitting little bits and pieces tucked away in the Act,which will be difficult to fight against once it is law.
Basically,you will need an entertainment licence for something as trivial as singing ‘happy birthday’ to your grandmother in a public place
“At the same time as revising the law on pub opening, the Government is proposing to tidy up the situation on entertainment licenses which is riddled with anomalies; but rather than making the situation better, the proposed bill makes it far worse.
For a start, all the pubs and clubs that have ‘got away’ without needing a Public Entertainment Licence in the past because they’ve never had more than 2 musicians appearing at the same time will need a licence in the future. The two-in-a-bar rule was a long outdated regulation and needlessly restricted live music performance but what it is being replaced with will limit live music still further.
Then there are all the other areas of public entertainment. The bill currently before parliament contains provisions that will have a serious impact on all branches of the performing arts, both amateur and professional. All premises in which performing arts activities take place will require a licence from the local authority. No costs have been revealed, but licences will be granted only after inspection by the police, fire authority, health and safety inspectors and consultation with local residents and interest groups, so the cost will be far from nominal. At present a license for a pub can be anywhere between £100 and £3,000 depending on where in the country.
Churches, schools, village halls, pubs, restaurants, even private houses will have to be licensed if used for performance events, whether they take place frequently or only occasionally.
Performances for members of clubs or for charitable purposes are also subject to this legislation, as are recording studios and premises used for rehearsals. Any performance in unlicensed premises will be a criminal offence, punishable by a large fine and costs, or a prison sentence.
Religious gatherings are exempt but here¹s a prime example of the madness of this legislation. 100 people attending a church service and singing hymns with orchestral accompaniment will not require a license. But if the same 100 people go into the same church simply to listen to the orchestra (i.e. a concert) it will require an entertainment license. It really will be a tax on entertainment.
Existing legislation relating to law and order, noise nuisance and health and safety makes the licensing of premises specifically for entertainment superfluous. There is no need for new regulations. No other country imposes such restrictions on artistic activities and a leading legal authority has determined that this legislation is incompatible with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights relating to freedom of expression.”
What i’m really interested in is how the Police might try and tie this in with what already happens to free parties.