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Plans to slash live entertainment red tape

The government has announced plans for a wholesale deregulation of entertainment licensing in the UK. The proposals are part of a consultation paper which asks what would happen if currently licensable activities no longer required a licence.

Consultation proposes scrapping licences


The consultation closes on 3 December 2011

The consultation paper ‘Regulated Entertainment’  proposes scrapping much of the Licensing Act 2003. This requires people to apply and sometimes pay for licences for many events where there is little or no risk of trouble.

These include activities such as:

  • school plays, children’s films shown to toddler groups, school discos where tickets are sold to raise funds for the PTA, or exhibitions of dancing by children at school fetes
  • folk duos in pubs, pianists in restaurants and brass bands playing in public parks on Sunday afternoons
  • Punch and Judy shows and performances by street artists

This announcement does not affect the current rules on the licensing of alcohol supply and sale. And there will be no relaxation of the rules controlling gatherings of more than 5,000 people, boxing and wrestling, and things classed as sexual entertainment.

Public consultation

Tourism Minister John Penrose said that the “current entertainment licensing rules are a mess.”

“Pointless bureaucracy and licence fees imposed on community groups trying to put on simple amateur productions and fundraising events sap energy and deaden people’s desire to get involved. Deregulation here will also make it easier for new talent to get started and help pubs diversify into other activities to help weather the present tough economic climate.”

The consultation will aim to get the views of those working in the industry to ensure the prevention of public nuisance, the protection of children from harm and to maintain public safety.

Red Tape Challenge

The proposals are part of the government's Red Tape Challenge.

Every few weeks regulations different sectors or industries are published.  All these regulations are be open for comments. So if you own a shop, if you’re running a small business, if you’re a volunteer who is fed up with pointless or outdated rules – get online and comment.

Once people have had their say, ministers will have three months to work out which regulations they want to keep and why. The default presumption will be that burdensome regulations will go. If ministers want to keep them, they have to make a very good case for them to stay.

Further information

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