The new UK Government has promised to "cut red tape" to encourage more live music, writes Music Week's Robert Ashton. Setting out its stall in a new document entitled The Coalition: Our Programme for Government, the administration has outlined plans for the next five years encompassing such areas as the cultural industries, immigration, tax and transport.
The Government says that it believes a vibrant cultural, media and sporting sector is "crucial for our well-being and quality of life. We need to promote excellence in these fields, with Government funding used where appropriate to encourage philanthropic and corporate investment."
As part of this, it promises to "cut red tape to encourage the performance of more live music". This suggests the Government might want to act on the small venues consultation the previous administration put in place at the end of last year or try and reactivate the Live Music Bill proposed b Liberal Democrat peer Lord Clement-Jones (pictured), which called for exemptions under the Licensing Act for smaller venues, but did not have the opportunity to complete its passage through the parliamentary process before the recent General Election.
MU general secretary John Smith, who has played a key role in lobbying Government to make it easier for musicians to play in pubs and bars, applauds the move. Smith says, "The MU is pleased to see that the coalition Government is committed to cutting red tape in order to encourage the performance of more live music." He adds that he will urge ministers to review at the earliest opportunity the consultation responses made to the recent DCMS consultation on an exemption for small venues to the Licensing Act.
In another move that is welcomed by the music industry, whose rights owners will now protected by the Digital Economy Act, the culture department promises to introduce measures to ensure the rapid roll-out of superfast broadband across the country. The programme states: "We will ensure that BT and other infrastructure providers allow the use of their assets to deliver such broadband, and we will seek to introduce superfast broadband in remote areas at the same time as in more populated areas."