Pub owners in Poole give thumbs-down to government’s efforts for relaxing conditions to play live music
The Live Music Bill 2011 is under consideration for approval in Parliament, after House of Commons passed it last Friday.
The Private Member’s Bill attempts to exempt pubs and small community venues from seeking a separate licence for playing live music between certain hours. But this does not enthuse pub owners across Poole and Bournemouth.
Jeremy Thompson of the Portsmouth Hoy, Poole Quay, views this as tokenism in the light of high taxes for local businesses. “A fee for playing live music accounts for £ 30-40 of my annual Premises License fee. I make that in a day. What pinches is paying several thousand pounds in council business tax annually, which was increased in 2010. The government should think of reducing that instead,” he explains.
At present, the licence fee for live music is covered under a venue’s Premises License, monitored under the Licensing Act 2003. So pub owners do not pay anything separately for getting a licence to host live music gigs.
However, venues still pay the Performing Rights Society for a PRS licence, for recorded and cover versions of songs. This Bill does not address that.
The Spotted Cow, Poole Old Town, echoes the same sentiment saying, they “are not sure how this will impact the business, as we are paying steep rates for a PRS licence at the moment.”
The Bill targets venues with a capacity of less than 200 people. Even local authorities are flummoxed by the real objective behind this Bill. “The government is ticking off a bureaucratic hurdle from their list, because this Bill is likely to benefit village halls, small community spaces and small pubs. Under the current licensing structure, venues like community halls required a licence for hosting musical gigs. However, they were not charged a fee unless they served alcohol in their premises,” says Frank Wenzel, Licensing Manager, Borough of Poole.
However, there is concern that if the Bill is passed in its current form, it could lead to problems of noise disturbance in the area. “We still issue noise notices to venues whenever we receive complaints. That will not change. It might increase under the new legislations,” he adds.
Just last year, a pub was shut down on Poole Quay, after residents complained of noise nuisance.
The Bill will be sent to House of Lords on February 10, and might become a law in April.[styled_box title=”Live Music Act 2011 changes” color=”red”] Removes requirement of a licence for unamplified live music between 08.00 hrs and 23.00 hrs to any capacity audience.
Removes requirement of a licence for amplified live music between 08.00 hrs and 23.00 hrs to audiences of no more than 200 people.[/styled_box] [poll id=”4″]