HL Deb 19 June 2003 vol 649 cc941-2

60 Schedule 1. page 111, line 23, leave out "playing of" and insert "performance of live music or the playing of recorded"

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 60. I shall speak also to Amendment No. 61.

The Government have considered very carefully the amendments made to the Bill in this House. Some of those defeats were overturned during Committee in another place; some of them we have compromised on, bringing forward significant concessions. Indeed, some we have accepted wholeheartedly, subject to necessary technical modification. The issue of incidental live music, which is the subject of these amendments, falls into the third category.

I hope that the House will allow me to make one matter clear. Regardless of all the myths and misinformation surrounding the Licensing Bill in relation to regulated entertainment, the Government are firmly committed, and have always been so, to improving the range and diversity of cultural provision available to the public, and preserving those important musical traditions that help define the character of the country. That is why the Bill was designed to make it much easier and cheaper for venues to get a licence to put on entertainment, and why it removes the perverse disincentive of the two-in-a-bar rule.

Having said that, we accept that there was more that could be done in the Bill to further that aim, which is why we have come forward with a range of concessions since the Bill was introduced. We have exempted places of public religious worship; we have amended the Bill to make it clear that entertainers who perform at unlicensed venues and do no more, will not be committing an offence. We have announced that we will exempt church halls, village halls and other community buildings from fees for entertainment. We shall use the statutory guidance to ensure that only necessary and proportionate conditions are attached to licences.

As part of that package of concessions, we have accepted in entirety the broader of the two amendments made in this House, which would exempt incidental live music as well as incidental recorded music, subject to technical modification to ensure that the effect of the amendment is perfected.

Government Amendment No. 61 removes an anomaly that arose as a result of amendments made in this House. The spirit of the amendment to paragraph 7 of Part 2 of Schedule I was to exempt all incidental live music as well as incidental recorded music. Paragraph 11 of Part 2 of Schedule 1 provides an exemption for unamplified incidental live music. As the Government have accepted the principle that all incidental live music should be exempt from the requirement to obtain a licence, whether amplified or not, that further exemption is unnecessary and has been removed from the Bill. We have accepted the broader of the two amendments made in this House. The effect of the amendment that the Government overturned in the Commons is subsumed entirely within the one that we accepted. I beg to move.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 60.—(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)

1 p.m.

Lord Redesdale

My Lords, we thank the Government for accepting this amendment. We support the amendments that they have put forward.

Baroness Buscombe

My Lords, we also thank the Government and support Amendment Nos. 60 and 61.

On Question, Motion agreed to.