To suit the Action to the Word, the Word to the Action

Posts tagged ‘Glasgow City Council’

Take simple action to keep up fight against Public Entertainment Licensing Changes…

Continuing the important fight to keep free events licence-free, without all the restrictions licences would require…

“Dear all,

Thank you for supporting our campaign on Public Entertainment Licences in Scotland. You might be aware that City of Edinburgh Council already conducted a public consultation on the issue. Glasgow City Council have now followed suit, and we’d like to encourage as many supporters as possible to complete their survey and ensure that your voice and opinion is represented.

You can complete their short survey here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PEL2012

We are continuing to campaign on behalf of artists, community organisations and venues across Scotland. We are particularly keen to hear from anyone in areas outside Glasgow and Edinburgh interested in forming a network to keep us updated on developments in your area, such as events that may have been forced to pay, events that might not have taken place, no matter how large or small. Please contact us via the petition website. It is important that we have a better picture of what is happening across the country as we form a national strategy for the campaign.

Best regards,

Kris Haddow”

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As I write, poets, performers and artists sit in prisons…

“As I write, poets, performers and artists sit in prisons and under house arrest across the globe (as a visit to Amnesty International will inform), because they encourage society to think. Art is as necessary in a democracy, as food and water, if there is to be quality of life. Quality of life comes from knowing one has the power to change, contribute, be heard and to hear why things are as they are or how they could be within our communities.”

Wise words from Gillian, leading to why A Little April Foolery is so important, in the ‘Crunch time for Edinburgh!’ comments.

See Gillian’s comment in full – and add your responses too!

Keep up the fight against Public Entertainment Licence changes!

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONTINUE WITH THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT LICENCE CHANGES

Confusion is hardly surprising given that councils have different Resolutions and it is these which require amendment to follow the Scottish Government wishes for councils to deal reasonably on this matter.

The legislative change at government level was made in 2010. Amendment of a Resolution (which lists events to be licensed) by removing certain events requires a 28 day consultancy period. Amendment of a Resolution that makes additions (does that cover putting in exemptions?), or re-words it completely – stating what IS to be covered (probably a superior method of approach) – requires a 9 month consultancy period.

Any Council that claims it was against the changes to the legislation at the time they were made (i.e. Glasgow) should not now require a period of review / consultation, etc. as they have had plenty of time since 2010 to go through even the long consultancy period.

That the issue has only now come to light as a problem shows the lack of attention being paid to this piece of legislation.

The Scottish Government has either not prepared councils fully or has been ignored by councils – either situation is disgraceful. The legislation as it stands places a huge onus of work and of trust on the councils and it allows regional discrimination.

The legislation itself must be reviewed.

The councils have had time to put a workable and reasonable Resolution in place that deals with this legislation and there are major councils – Edinburgh and Glasgow to my definite knowledge – that have not done so.

No council (take note, Edinburgh) should now put the onus on the public to apply for licences, free or otherwise, which are only required because certain councils have not dealt with their Resolutions in time to handle this legislation despite the legislation having been passed back in 2010. This, too, is disgraceful.

The April 1st events have huge importance throughout Scotland

Whatever the situation with each local council and its Resolution, the April 1st events will help to highlight the fact that neither Scottish Government nor major local Councils paid proper attention to this legislation: not to how it would be handled; not to how it would actually affect the people of Scotland.

This is not good enough and now is the time to act! You can do this with April 1st events and through the online survey for the City of Edinburgh Council.

[Not sure what the Public Entertainment Licence changes are all about? Read more and keep track!]

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The above is slightly amended from a comment I made below a Scottish Times article, and shows why support and engagement with A Little April Foolery! events is incredibly important.

News: Edinburgh Public Entertainment Licensing Meeting announced

If you have not yet heard about the current consternation over new legislation related to Public Entertainment Licensing in Scotland, read about the furore caused by Glasgow City Council’s ‘Briefing Note’ and the further insight provided by Kris Haddow, creator of the petition against this legislation.

While the new legislation – somewhat aptly due to come into effect on April Fool’s Day! – came under the arts and communities microscope in Glasgow earlier this month, the law actually covers the whole of Scotland and local councils will then determine how it is to be put into effect, with what level of licence fees and which, if any, events / organisations will be exempt.

Now the spotlight hits Edinburgh, with a public meeting called:

“EDINBURGH PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT LICENCES: Public Meeting
Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 30-36 Dalmeny St, Leith, EH6 9DB
Thursday 1 March 2012, 7pm

The cultural life of Edinburgh is under serious threat due to changes to Public Entertainment Licences. These proposed changes will impose new fees and place an unworkable administrative burden on free admission arts centres and grassroots cultural initiatives across the country. This will affect visual art, music, performance, community and charity-led events and many other forms of public event.

Join us for a public meeting to discuss this issue, featuring a panel discussion comprising councillors, MSPs and representatives from the local arts community.”

Event info – http://www.facebook.com/events/241346532620578/

Further info – http://www.facebook.com/groups/178277778942301/

This is your chance to find out what is happening and influence the discussion – either here in Edinburgh, or by getting in touch with your local MSPs / councils (further information on how to contact MSPs can be found in this blog post).

Further insight into this ‘tax on creativity’ from Kris Haddow, creator of petition

Kris Haddow - http://about.me/krishaddowKris Haddow is a playwright, poet and performing artist, and the person who created the ‘Glasgow City Council: Scrap Public Entertainment Licence Fees’ petition. This petition is also aimed at the Scottish Government because the act on which the questionable amendment is based affects the whole of Scotland (see end of post for further information on this).

Kris has kindly agreed to my reproducing his response to a query about how the licence fees amendment might affect professionals within theatre. (This is from a discussion on SCOT-NITS, the Scottish National Internet Theatre Symposium, hence a mention of ‘Nitters’, an informal reference to members of this highly useful forum).

This is Kris’s understanding, based on the information currently* available online:-

“In the main the changes to the legislation will have the biggest impact on small or free events such as readings in bookshops and cafes, exhibitions, poetry recitals etc that currently take place in independent venues not covered by a licence—though it will also affect professionally engaged events taking place outwith our permanently licensed “theatres with walls”. The wider implication is that events such as scratch nights, murder mysteries and small-scale productions mounted in pubs, coffee shops and pop-up spaces could effectively disappear. Small business owners are unlikely to be able to afford to bear the cost of the fees to take out permanent licenses as this is not their regular domain, meaning that individuals or companies using these spaces will need to apply for a temporary licence at a minimum of £124-£600. Depending on how the Licensing Board decide to enforce it, they could put a stop to all types of public performance and exhibition of work, from singing in restaurants and poetry recitals to photography displays and flashmobs.

I personally have read poetry at scratch nights and performed excerpts of my plays while they’ve been in development, all at small independent cafes that quite simply will need to draw an end to these types of evenings.

It’s worth noting that Glasgow City Council are simply the first council to announce their feescale and the petition has now also been targeted at the Scottish Government who have set the legislation centrally—it appears to have been passed in 2010 as part of a crack down on money laundering, with public performances and exhibitions having been deemed an effective way for criminally obtained funds to be banked. An overwhelming number of the people who have contacted me via the petition site agree there is a need for licensing for many types of events that are not covered at present to ensure public safety, but it is the level of fees that will be imposed, including on free events, that is causing the greatest outcry. It is effectively a tax on low/no budget events and can only result in the stifling of creativity in Glasgow and beyond.

The fact that the entertainment and the arts in Scotland are to be generally licensed as an activity under a subset of the “Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act” is a rather chilling prospect. It harks back to the 18th century when theatre was illegal.

Hope this clarifies the position a bit and how it might affect Nitters here on the forum. Regardless of who it might have the bigger impact on, whether it be artists, writers, photographers or actors, I think as a community all artists from all sectors should present a united front and show support as it has the potential to prevent us all from creating new work on the fringes of that which is licensed in the mainstream.”

For further information on the petition, including links to official pages, see the previous Discover Fine Acting Blog post WTF!?! Paying licence fees to do a free event in a shop or cafe?, where I am collating information I can find on this issue.

*as at 12/02/2012

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