Bureaucracy Gone Stupid

“This is bureaucracy gone stupid. It’s killing off live music,” Norwich landlord Brian Mayhew told The Times as the paper kept up its battle against the government’s new licensing laws.

Back in August, it reported that a survey by distiller Glenfiddich showed that the new law is likely to see the daily average number of U.K. gigs cut by half. If this really is the case, then the government appears to have shot itself in the foot as the law was framed to increase the opportunities for emerging talent.

A more cynical view of the law’s purpose points out that the government stands to make several million out of it.

Quoting “industry sources,” The Times reckoned the U.K.’s venues, clubs and pubs are facing a total bill of around £400 million.

At the moment, one or two musicians can perform in a bar but, as of November 24th, the new act will require even these shows to be licensed.

The maximum penalty for anyone breaching the rules will be a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.

The article in The Times quoted Hamish Birchall, a drummer and a former adviser to the Musicians’ Union, as saying, “Existing pubs and bars will be allowed to keep their jukeboxes, sound systems and big screens. By contrast, even one unamplified singer could lead to heavy fines or a jail sentence for the landlord.”

John Gammon