NB – am adding additional info as I come by it, so worth checking comments for details on this (last update 23:24 Thurs. 23rd 2012)
Latest, 23rd Feb. – Public meeting in Edinburgh – ‘Glasgow clarifies public entertainment rules’ (incls. “the council will now not require a licence for events which are for a temporary period and are of a non-commercial nature. “) – Council Responses to Petition Enquiries (various councils within Scotland)
SECTIONS AS THEY APPEAR BELOW: early post by Kris Haddow linking to petition – link to further words from Kris here on DFA Blog – Glasgow City Council Briefing Note re. licence fees amendment – 3 Herald Scotland articles + letters – link to Petition – Twitter info – Neil Gaiman response – update of 15th February, incl. Creative Scotland statement and official ‘pledge’ from Glasgow City Council – stetement from Equity – further links re. campaigning and opinions, incl. details for meeting on Sat. 18th Feb. – further, related, official links – new links, incl. article by licensing expert, Reporting Scotland video clip, going beyond Glasgow: HOW TO CONTACT MSPs + GCC puts amendment on hold for 6 months, seeking advice – Edinburgh meeting
Briefing Note: Public Entertainment Licence – An amendment to Section 41 of Civic Government (Scotland) 1982 by the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 (further official information below)
A couple of articles on the matter:
Warning – new law puts city art scene in danger http://www.heraldscotland.com/mobile/news/home-news/warning-new-law-puts-city-art-scene-in-danger.16724126?_=35674d17e20b44cafb451cab7ca241d6baeb8cb0 11th Feb. 2012
Letters in response, incl. from Alasdair Gray http://www.heraldscotland.com/mobile/comment/letters/if-council-wants-to-promote-art-it-must-abandon-licensing-tax.16746987?_=97a258dbbb371614f337df5c22745e6528a6dacb
And here is a petition to sign should you also disagree with this ‘tax’ on creativity:
Petition signatures and responses have been received from councillors and MSPs, etc, now too – see Facebook phone link below, also.
On Twitter? Follow @scrapartstax and use hashtags #scrapartstax #glasgowartlicence
Does anyone know what is going on here, and how such an amendment – if it truly means spaces such as shops and cafes (or artists / performers) will be hit financially if artists exhibit / perform for free – can possibly be justified? Even if this weren’t the ‘Year of Creative Scotland’?
I have requested the ‘general guidelines’ which can, in lieu of actual, specific, legal advice, be provided (apparently) and will update here when I learn more. I have also requested Creative Scotland to respond to me on this matter, as well as asking Equity to look into it.
Award-winning and best-selling author Neil Gaiman responded to reading the petition, via Twitter, by saying:
When something like this was tried in Melbourne Austr. they had protests by performers, bands etc. Maybe they need one of those.
Update 15th February 2012:
Creative Scotland have issued this statement – “Creative Scotland accepts that the motivation behind the legislation is to ensure that large-scale free events are well run and that audiences and participants are safe; irresponsible organisers often try to avoid the costs of things like stewarding which can put audiences at risk. Local authorities recognise the benefits, for residents and the local economy, that a thriving cultural community brings. Our understanding of the legislation is that individual local authorities can choose which types of events need a licence and how those events are defined – naturally, we expect that councils will interpret the legislation to the benefit of their creative community and would not undermine the healthy development of emerging talent and new audiences.” There is no mention made in this to say if CS is actively in discussion about the issue, however, 16th Feb. saw Herald Scotland publish this about the CS statement:
The concensus at this time seems to be that the amendment to Section 41 will be addressed in the light of the vociferous campaigning and concerns raised. Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government are likely to also be going over who, exactly, controls the level and application of PEL fees – there seems to be a certain uncertainty in that area as to what Scottish Government legislation requires specifically and what is at the discretion of individual councils.
Here you can read an official ‘pledge’ from Glasgow City Council:
Council works to protect art scene from legislation http://www.govopps.co.uk/council-works-to-protect-art-scene-from-legislation/ (or from its initial interpretation of legislation – waiting to hear more on that)
Statement from Equity, 20th February 2012:
“Equity are monitoring the changes in Licencing law in Scotland. As a result of public pressure Glasgow City Council have postponed their implementation of the new arrangements until October in order to consult fully. The intention behind the legislation was to ensure large scale free events could be covered by licences to ensure the safety of participants and audiences. Local authorities have the discretion to exempt certain activities from the Licencing regime and this ability to exempt was not reflected in the proposals published by Glasgow City Council.
(these are all in reaction against, but there is no support for the proposed level of fees being applied to small-scale free events; the legislation was apparently aimed at controlling large-scale events)
Saturday 18th February Public Meeting has been confirmed: 12-3pm, Mac Lecture Theatre, Glasgow School of Art
Following this ‘Fight the Events Tax’ telephone protest, responses have been received from councillors and others, including Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister of Scotland. These responses can be viewed on the Facebook page and in messages left on the petition.
The gist of replies: Councils are responsible for setting licence fees and have discretion on how they handle free events; the legislation is primarily concerned with large-scale events; there are now discussions to look at the issue that has been raised re. the affect of this amendment being made in Glasgow on small-scale events and how the matter is being handled
Further official info, related:
How to Apply for a Public Entertainment Licence http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/Business/Licences/Entertainment/ApplyforPublicEnt.htm – note the ‘Exemptions’ include “Premises that hold a Premises Licence issued under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005“, but as this seems to be about alcohol licensing, it still leaves many spaces used by artists liable for these amended Public Entertainment Licence (PEL) fees.
Article by licensing expert of legal firm, published 14th Feb. 2012
This leaves me wondering about where decisions on details of licensing are really made: it sometimes seems the problem arose in an interpretation of legislation by local council and sometimes in the legislation itself. Also, what are other councils doing?
This article, published 16th Feb. 2012, starts focus on Edinburgh – the Scotsman picking up on story
Would really be good to know how the legislation is being interpreted in Edinburgh and elsewhere – this has now become a thread which can be followed on Twitter @scrapartstax. To contact your MSPs and find out what is going on in your area, check out this helpful site:
Reporting Scotland video clip, ‘Worry over licence fee for arts’
Herald Scotland article published 18th Feb.:
Includes mention of Glasgow City Council not putting changes into effect on 1st April, but seeking advice over next 6 months first.
Latest Scotsman article, with focus on spread of problem, published 20th Feb.:
Latest – EDINBURGH PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT LICENCES: Public Meeting
Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 30-36 Dalmeny St, Leith, EH6 9DB
Thursday 1 March 2012, 7:30pm