Live Music law to decriminalise trumpet-playing

Bill passes through Commons

A private member's bill that will make the promotion and performance of live music in small venues easier was passed by the Commons on Friday, which means it's now almost certain to become law.

The bill repeals some of the worst red tape introduced in the 2003 Licensing Act, which empowered bureaucrats, curtain-twitchers and the police at the expense of music fans. Small venues with a capacity under 200 were particularly affected, as they were required to apply for licences. As a consequence, almost a third of such venues that used to promote music did not apply.

This typically meddling legislation also had the bizarre consequence of making the unlicensed use of musical instruments illegal in public, and in schools. Foreign visitors, many of whom are attracted to Britain by its global musical reputation, must have been perplexed by this. It's hard to imagine a more insulting, or less justified, piece of legislative meddling.

The repeal of these measures culminates a two-and-a-half-year personal odyssey by Lib Dem culture spokesman in the upper house, Lord Clement Jones, who talked about his Bill last summer, here. The bill was just one of over 60 private member's bills to get through.

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