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

Posts tagged ‘Kris Haddow’

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:

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”

Time to be consulted! Speak up about Public Entertainment Licence changes…

The public consultancy period – where you and I get to put our penny’s-worth in – has started on changes to the Public Entertainment Licensing Resolution of the City of Edinburgh Council. Below is a letter giving details about this (bold highlighting by me) and how to speak up about this important issue.

If you are not familiar with the campaign highlighting the affect of these changes on free events and expression, check out the posts in the category ‘Public Entertainment Licence Fiasco‘, in particular Keeping Track.

From solicitor for City of Edinburgh Council

“Firstly I would confirm that the advert advising of the proposed draft Public Entertainment licensing Resolution went into the Edinburgh Evening News on 16th March 2012. That has the effect of kick-starting the legal process for the consultation. The advert invites written responses, to be sent to the Director of Services for Communities, Licensing Section, 249 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1YJ.

In addition we have set up an email address for consultation responses –

Separately, arrangements are in hand for an online consultation and I understand that this is likely to be accessed on the Council’s website at the general consultations section, and also via a link from the Public Entertainment licensing section of the website. At the time of emailing the questions for the online survey were almost ready – so hopefully will be in place by the end of the week. Meantime, a couple of links which will hopefully be of some assistance to you:-

The details of the committee decision and the press release, etc are at the following link:-

The details of Public Entertainment licensing and the link to the online survey will be at the following address (which at the time of emailing was still to be updated):-  [the survey is now live – the above link leads to it, or you can go direct via]

For those who are anxious to ensure that their views are recorded, may I suggest that they make use of the email address as above, and/or write in with their comments? Once the online questionnaire is up and running, that will enable a more accessible means of responding to the consultation process – as I say, I think that should be ready in the next day or two.

Hope this assists in the meantime.


Crunch time for Edinburgh! Public Entertainment Licence meeting, 9th March

Show your support on the 9th of March

The public can view the City of Edinburgh Council Regulatory Committee’s meeting, where the Public Entertainment Licence changes will be discussed, and so show the support that the campaign against these changes is raising.

To attend, head for the Dean of Guild Court Room, City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh on Friday 9th March and meet there at 8.50am, for the 9am meeting start.

The general public cannot speak at this meeting, but there will be a “deputation at the meeting speaking on behalf of the campaign comprising Neil Cooper (journalist and writer for numerous publications) and Morvern Cunningham (organiser of LeithLate and active member of Edinburgh’s grassroots arts community).”

This quote is taken from the Council Regulatory Meeting – OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Facebook event, where you can find further information and leave comments on points you would like the deputation to cover.

A Scotsman article on the current plans of the council, already amended somewhat from earlier ones due to the strength of the campaign against these licence changes, can be found here:

There appears to be some good news, but there are still questions (see Morvern Cunningham’s remarks in the above article), and the actual legislation itself – at Scottish Government level – is still an issue, affecting all councils and the whole of Scotland.

Further information

See ‘Keeping Track’ post for help in understanding and keeping abreast with this PEL issue.

Keeping track – what’s happening with the Public Entertainment Licence changes?

Cartoon by 'Leithal Yak' Norrie StewartWith thanks to ‘Leithal Yak’ Norrie Stewart – – for this image

Keep up with what is happening:

This petition, to be signed if you’ve yet to do so, explains the problems with PEL changes that now affect free events and has a useful update section to help you keep abreast of what is happening:

Further campaign information can be found here:


While the following group includes ‘Edinburgh’ in its title, it covers much more –

April 1st sees unlicensed events across Scotland: get involved creating, documenting or spreading the word – and enjoy the events! –


Follow @scrapartstax; also search #scrapartstax

@DFActing also helps spread information


Wherever you are based, you can sign this petition

City of Edinburgh Council is currently consulting the public about changing its Resolution, for which there is a very quick  survey – be sure to make your opinion known!

Civil disobedience with panache! ‘A Little April Foolery’ is planned for 1st April – find out all about it: and ‘How to Participate‘ in it.


A meeting of the Regulatory Committee, City of Edinburgh Council, was held on 9th March and included the PEL changes issue. Members of the public were able to attend and view (though not speak) – in fact, the gallery was full – and a deputation – able to speak – put the case for the arts forward. Further information on the meeting: Discover Fine Acting Report and Result post. An article in the Scotsman:

Nicola Sturgeon, SNP deputy leader, answered questions for a live BBC webcast on 10th March, starting with Public Entertainment Licence changes “causing a bit of a stooshie”. You can view this here:

Further Information

The posts on this site related to the PEL changes can be found in the category ‘Public Entertainment Licence Fiasco’ and include information about the initial uproar that followed Glasgow City Council’s announcement of their plans, insight from petition creator Kris Haddow and a report on the Edinburgh public meeting of 1st March.

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:

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 –

Further info –

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 - 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

WTF!?! Paying licence fees to do a free event in a shop or cafe?

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

Glasgow City Council: Scrap Public Entertainment Licence FeesPlease read this: Words – Scribbled by Kris Haddow (who speaks further in this Discover Fine Acting Blog post) and the announcement which has sparked such outrage in the artistic / cultural world:

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 11th Feb. 2012

Tax on creativity paints a poor picture of Glasgow 11th Feb. 2012

Council moves to end new law threat to city art scene 14th Feb. 2012

Letters in response, incl. from Alasdair Gray

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 (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.

If any Equity member is experiencing any problems or has any concerns with the Licencing of a free event in any local authority area in Scotland, please could they draw this to the attention of staff in the Equity office.”

Further links:

(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)

Campaign against GCC Public Entertainment License Meeting (Sat. 18th Feb.)

Saturday 18th February Public Meeting has been confirmed: 12-3pm, Mac Lecture Theatre, Glasgow School of Art

FIGHT THE EVENTS TAX (telephone protest)  (Mon. 13th Feb.)

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

OPINION: Glasgow’s Tax on Creativity

Anarky’s Blog –

Further official info, related:

Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill

How to Apply for a Public Entertainment Licence –  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.

New Links:

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.:

Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 30-36 Dalmeny St, Leith, EH6 9DB
Thursday 1 March 2012, 7:30pm

Further information about Edinburgh campaign

If you know anything more, post in comments or get in touch (!

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