Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, pledges to campaign against new red tape on local musicians, as part of the Licensing Bill. Mr. Lilley opposes proposals to abandon the current rule that allows one or two musicians to perform in a public venue without a license. The new rules would make it necessary for all organisations hosting public events ? even for charities – to obtain a licence and pay a fee.

    Peter Lilley, this week pledged to campaign against the plans to hit local musicians with new red-tape and fees. We have already forced the government to promise to amend the bill so that local churches would not have to pay the proposed fees for nativity plays and concerts. However, now I am alarmed by warnings from music organisations across the country that they also face a ?music tax?.

    Under this proposed new law, musicians face a criminal conviction if they perform in unlicensed public venues. This could include playing an unlicensed piano in a bar or a concert in a village hall ? even if the performance is for charity.

    Peter Lilley said:

    “This is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. I have received virtually no complaints about the present law. So why change it? Obviously, large public entertainment events need to be licensed. But these new laws threaten to engulf local musicians across Hitchin and Harpenden in red-tape. Many venues that require licences will be at risk. Local community events will face these compulsory new fees ? an effective ?music tax? ?making their events financially unviable. It will reduce community participation in musical arts and take money away from charity.

    “This is yet another example of Labour red-tape and regulation damaging Hitchin and Harpenden?s local voluntary groups, churches and village halls, as well as depriving musicians of opportunities to perform in public.?