The Live Music Forum
Hamish Birchall Bulletin
Wedenesday 12th December 2007 - Final live music research due 17 December
Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): At the time of the passage of the Licensing Act, the Government dismissed warnings that one of its consequences would be to damage the performance of live music in town centres and elsewhere. The Secretary of State will be aware that Live Music Forum has concluded that the Act is having that effect, so will he now consider making changes to it, as recommended by the forum, to ensure that live music continues to flourish throughout Britain?
James Purnell: The hon. Gentleman was — along with the Leader of the Opposition — a great supporter and advocate of the Licensing Act. We welcome his support, although I notice that we have still not heard from the Opposition whether they are disowning their leader or not. The hon. Gentleman is slightly exaggerating the consequences of the Act that the Live Music Forum found; it said that they had been broadly neutral. Clearly, we would like them to be positive, which is why we are looking positively at the forum's recommendations with a view to coming forward with proposals shortly. We have also asked Feargal Sharkey to lead on the identification of a network of rehearsal spaces to do exactly that.
12. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effects of the Licensing Act 2003. 
James Purnell: As the Prime Minister reiterated in July, we are monitoring and reviewing the impact of the Act and have been since it came into force. We expect to complete an evaluation of the impact of the Act in the new year.
17. Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effects of the Licensing Act 2003 on the performance of live music. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: My Department established the Live Music Forum in 2004 to assess, among other things, the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 on the performance of live music. In its report and recommendations, published in July 2007, the forum concluded that the impact of the Act had been broadly neutral. The results of the second stage of our own research study into the current provision of live music will be published on the Department's website later this month.