The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin

Thursday 12th November 2009 - Government answer proves DCMS music claims false

The UK Statistics Authority has agreed to look at DCMS use of the latest alcohol and entertainment licensing statistics.

Only last Tuesday, 10 November, the minister said on BBC2 Daily Politics: '...We've seen an 11% increase in licences since the Act came in... the Licensing Act has improved things, not made things worse...'

But a government written answer yesterday proves that this is a wholly misleading claim, and that the latest DCMS data cannot be used to make any meaningful comparison with the situation for live music before the Licensing Act. The data cannot even provide reliable information about the potential for hosting live music (the statistics include no information about licence conditions for live music which, unless implemented, mean that hosting live music remains illegal).
See DCMS stats announcement of 22nd October:

Lord Clement-Jones asked: ...what proportion of the 5 per cent increase in venues with a live music permission, reported in the 2008-09 alcohol, entertainment and late-night refreshment licensing statistics published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 22 October, (a) is accounted for by applications from schools and councils licensing their own premises, including parks and streets, and (b) are premises that would not have needed such a permission before the Licensing Act 2003 came into effect. [HL6174]

Lord Davies of Oldham replied: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport does not hold data on types of premises as, in general, the Licensing Act 2003 does not define these. No analysis of the kind described in part (b) of the question has been conducted.

The government has not collected any live music statistics that might allow meaningful comparisons with the old and new licensing regimes since the DCMS/British Market Research Board Survey of 2007. This found 5% fall in gigs in smaller venues since the Act came into force in November 2005:


Hamish Birchall