In late 2011, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport launched a consultation into reforming the regime that regulates many public and charitable entertainment activities.
The consultation was launched after many years of calls to reduce unnecessary regulation arising from the 2003 Licensing Act for low-risk activities that hamper cultural and community creativity, restrict charities and prevent small businesses from diversifying.
These activities, and many of the organisations and institutions that host them, play a pivotal role in our communities. We are determined to ensure that needless bureaucracy does not restrict these kinds of positive contribution to society. This is why we announced our intention to act in the coalition programme for Government, the growth review, the red tape challenge, and in the departmental business plan for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The consultation received a very full response—around 1,350 responses—and the Department has examined every comment carefully. We are extremely grateful to everyone who responded.
This consultation has played a full part in shaping future policy. Its key findings were that there was considerable support for deregulation, but that certain protections needed to be retained, including an 11 pm end time for deregulated performance, and, in most circumstances, a lower audience cap than was originally proposed.
The new policy for entertainment is outlined below:
Performance of plays: no longer requires a licence between 08:00-23:00 for audiences of up to 500 people.
Performance of dance: no longer requires a licence between 08:00-23:00 for audiences of up to 500 people.
Indoor sport: no longer requires a licence from 08:00-23:00 for audiences of up to 1,000 people.
Live music has already been partially deregulated under the Live Music Act 2012, which came into force on
We will, additionally, retain the key protections of the Live Music Act 2012, but raise the permitted audience ceiling from 200 to 500, in on-licensed premises and workplaces in line with most other deregulated activities.
Recorded music: in line with live music deregulation, regulation for recorded music (mainly discos and DJs) will be suspended between 08:00-23:00 in premises licensed for the sale and supply of alcohol. This measure, like live music deregulation, is subject to controls from the local licence review process.
We also intend to exempt from most forms of entertainment licensing:
Community venues (including local authority)
Film exhibition: we will consult in the coming months on detailed proposals to partially deregulate community film exhibition whilst maintaining important age restriction protections for children.
We will bring the measures into effect as the parliamentary timetable allows.
I am arranging for a summary of responses, and the Government’s full response, to be made available on the DCMS website and be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.
I will also place the impact assessment on the website and in the Libraries of both Houses in due course.