Under proposals, outlined in a consultation launched by the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) today, there would be no longer be a need to apply, or pay for licences for events holding up to 5,000 people, making it easier for pubs to host live bands or restaurants and hotels to host live pianists for example.
Tourism Minister John Penrose said deregulation would also help new talent to emerge and promote economic growth.
“Current entertainment licensing rules are a mess,” he said. “Pointless bureaucracy and licence fees imposed on community groups trying to put on simple amateur productions and fundraising events sap energy and deaden people’s desire to get involved.
“Deregulation here will also make it easier for new talent to get started and help pubs diversify into other activities to help weather the present tough economic climate.”
The consultation will aim to get the views of those working in the industry to ensure the prevention of public nuisance, the protection of children from harm and to maintain public safety. Ministers confirmed there will be no relaxation of the rules controlling gatherings of more than 5,000 people, boxing and wrestling, and things classed as sexual entertainment.
The proposals have been welcomed by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR).
Strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls said: “The ALMR has been calling for this for a long time. It is particularly needed now as our latest benchmarking survey revealed the rising costs of putting on entertainment has been resulting in a major switch-off among operators.
“Therefore, if these proposals are adopted we would hope to see a significant uplift in the number of venues giving an opportunity to young and fledgling performers. For many years, pubs and bars have offered a platform for exciting new artistic talent and it is vital this tradition is not lost for the sake of Britain’s cultural future."
Brigid Simmonds of the British Beer & Pub Association and chairman of the Tourism Alliance said the move would be a huge boost to the tourism industry.
"The whole tourism industry in Britain could be an engine for creating new jobs, so removing restrictions on providing entertainment in pubs, schools, historic houses, arts and other venues would be a great move.
“Venues wanting to put on music or other entertainments often have to apply to their Local Authority for permission – an unnecessary burden for business and council alike."