Kevan Jones: No. As someone who used to administer public entertainment licences, I know that the key issue is often not noise but the public safety of the people who are attending the events.
Kevan Jones: It should be.
Kevan Jones: I am not sure what type of religious services the hon. Gentleman attends, but most that I attend are quite well organised and are serious events. There is a big difference between them and public entertainment that may involve live music and alcohol. The only alcohol served in my local church is that served during communion.
Kevan Jones: They are different things
Kevan Jones: Can the hon. Gentleman give an example of religious services that involve, for example, consumption of large amounts of alcohol?
Kevan Jones: The argument is rather ridiculous, because surely the local licensing authority will have something to say about noise nuisance. If the steel drums to which the hon. Gentleman referred were played in a residential area, local residents would object. The Bill gives them the right to do so.
Kevan Jones: In the case of two clarinettists playing in a bar, there is little likelihood that there would be objections or problems with the licensing authority.
Kevan Jones: That involves ticking a box.
Kevan Jones: No. If there is a string quartet in a pub, a public entertainment licence has to be obtained.
Kevan Jones: The hon. Gentleman described the existing and potential health and safety legislation for regulating those pubs. Would not those public houses have to carry out that work anyway, if they wanted to put on entertainment and obtain, for example, a fire certificate or a health and safety certificate?
Kevan Jones: Does not the system that is imposed simplify things? If someone applies for a liquor licence and a public entertainment licence, there is no onus on him to put on entertainment every night or even every month. There is flexibility, whereas at present if someone has a stage that is used only occasionally, such as the one described by my hon. Friend the Member for Waveney, he would have to...
Kevan Jones: Will the Minister give way?
Kevan Jones: Will not the amendment move the rush out to the streets that currently occurs at 11 o'clock to 12 o'clock?
Kevan Jones: First, I must declare an interest. I am a member of the Sacriston working men's club in the great county of Durham. I welcome the amendment. Working men's clubs—certainly those in the north-east—have enjoyed the right to do off-licence sales for about 60 years. It is important to deal with working men's clubs and registered clubs differently from public houses. Working men's...
Kevan Jones: Does my right hon. Friend agree that the UK forces deployed in the Gulf need the best possible weaponry for the job that they are trying to do, and will he therefore pay tribute to the work force at Royal Ordnance Birtley in the north-east, who have done sterling work on Storm Shadow?
Kevan Jones: The hon. Gentleman is taking up most of his time talking about problems other than the ones that most coal mining communities face. Will he say how much the Liberal Democrats would invest in coalfield communities such as north Durham?
Kevan Jones: I am pleased to have secured this debate, Mr. Cook, as it is of great importance to many of my constituents and to many hon. Members who represent mining and former mining communities. In my maiden speech in the House on 9 July 2001, I described my constituency as rural, but with urban problems. The two main towns, Chester le Street and Stanley, and their satellite villages, were founded on...
Kevan Jones: I am sorry if I have caused offence, Mr. Cook, as you have been a friend and colleague for many years. Mr. Deputy Speaker, these problems put tremendous pressures on local communities: a resident of South Moor told me that she felt as if she was living under siege. To try to quantify some of these problems in my constituency, last year I commissioned Northumbria university to produce a report...
Kevan Jones: I agree that registration will help some of these communities. My hon. Friend raises a pertinent point. In some areas, private landlords who have made their money out of property that was often bought at a very low price abandon it. They are determined to get as much money as possible out of the property in a short time, but when problems arise they put up the boards, or in some cases allow...
Kevan Jones: I refer to them as "housing benefit junkies", because that is what they are. They put little investment into the properties they buy, often at very low prices, and live off the misery of the neighbours who have to put up with it. However, I am not tarring all private landlords with the same brush. There are some, even in north Durham, who are responsible, carry out repairs and care about and...