U.K. to Scrap Licensing for Live Music in Pubs, School Plays

Pubs, schools and community groups in Britain will no longer require licenses to put on live performances under proposals outlined by Tourism Minister John Penrose.

The government’s presumption will be in favor of deregulation by asking the question “what would happen if this activity were no longer licensable,” Penrose said in an e-mailed statement today opening a consultation on the proposals. More than 133,000 venues have licenses for regulated entertainment and many will no longer need them, according to the consultation document.

“I want to set a match to all this nonsense, and trust sensible people to act sensibly, with regulation retained only where rightly needed to keep audiences and performances safe,” Penrose said. Deregulation “will make it easier for new talent to get started and help pubs to diversify into other activities to help weather the present tough economic climate,” he said.

Regulated activities currently include school plays and puppet shows as well as live music performances in pubs, restaurants and parks. Licensing for sales of alcohol, gatherings of more than 5,000 people and entertainment of a sexual nature will not be relaxed, the statement said.

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