UK: Lord Clement-Jones' bill "to revive live music" received its Second Reading last Friday (January 15), writes David Davies. The Live Music Bill - the First Reading of which took place in the House of Lords last July - recommends that any venue with a capacity of 200 or less should not need a licence for live music and that the 'two in a bar' rule be reintroduced, enabling two performers to play non- or minimally-amplified music in a pub or bar without a licence.
The Second Reading of the Bill - which also calls for schools, hospitals and colleges to be given the ability to hold live music performances without a licence - follows the recent Government initiation of a consultation on a call for a Licensing Act exemption for venues catering for 100 people or less.
Lord Clement-Jones - a Lib Dem life peer since 1998 and pictured here during a recent Equity/MU-organised demonstration against the "stifling" effects of the Licensing Act - is hoping to garner cross-party support for the Bill with a view to seeking legislation prior to the next UK general election, which must take place on or before June 3.
Natasha Kirwan, a spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, tells PSN-e that party members "believe passionately in live music. The preamble to our constitution highlights the importance of nurturing creativity and allowing individuals to develop their talents to the full. The Licensing Act 2003 implicitly opposes these core values and contradicts Government rhetoric in support of live music. Lib Dem peer Tim Clement-Jones' Live Music Bill [...] seeks to redress the balance in favour of live music. If the Government can be persuaded to support the Live Music Bill, the law could be changed before the next general election."