Under the new licensing regime, the concept of a separate public entertainment licence will disappear. Under the new regime only a single authorisation will be needed to supply alcohol, provide regulated entertainment, such as a performance of live music, or provide late night refreshment or any combination of these activities. Six existing licensing regimes will be integrated into one, cutting at a stroke significant amounts of red tape.
Accordingly, under the Licensing Act 2003, an authorisation will be required in order for alcohol to be supplied at a public house but the applicant will be free to apply simultaneously for the authorisation to cover the provision of regulated entertainment, such as music or dancing whenever desired. Generally, the authorisation in these circumstances will be a premises licence.
The fee for a premises licence will be no different whether an applicant simply applies for an authorisation for use of premises to supply alcohol or also decides to apply at the same time for authorisations to provide regulated entertainment. Any difference in fee levels, which will be set centrally to avoid inconsistencies, is proposed to relate to the rateable value of the premises so that larger venues are likely to attract a higher fee than smaller ones. The statutory fees were published on 21 January 2005.
The 'two in a bar' rule is being discontinued. This is a disapplication under current licensing law of the need for a public entertainment licence in certain situations, such as two performers singing of playing music, at a premises where a justices' licence is in force. The Government believes this rule in practice restricts what entertainment will be provided, creates disincentives to the presentation of more diverse musical acts and fails to protect local residents from noise nuisance. The new regime will allow musicians and other entertainers to flourish whilst providing protection against unnecessary disturbance.
The Government believes that the Licensing Act 2003 will provide increased opportunities for musicians and other entertainers in England and Wales. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for the Arts and as such the interests of performers and their audiences remain at the forefront of our priorities.