Last Thursday, along with my Pirate Party colleague Stephen Bathgate, I went to a public meeting about change to public entertainment licences and how they will affect the arts.
Currently, while large arts events have had to be licenced, small ones do not. The change is due to legislation by the Scottish government, which give local government the power (but not, in my opinion the obligation) to licence smaller events.
Councillor Rob Munn, who is convenor of the council’s Regulatory Committee, was at the meeting and explained that the council’s position is that arts events will have to apply for a license 6 weeks in advance of any event that they put on, but they won’t have to pay for the licence. So the red tape will be there.
Edinburgh Council takes the view that the new licences are required by law. However, other councils such as Glasgow, and Dumfries and Galloway, say they aren’t required by law and are not extending which events need to be licensed. If other council can choose not to require licences, so can Edinburgh.
Cllr Munn is a councillor for Leith Ward, and part of the Scottish National Party. Together with the Liberal Democrats, they form the ruling group on Edinburgh Council.
The Pirate Party has always had a strong support for freedom of speech. So we are against these new licences. The choice is between us, who want to see the arts thrive in Edinburgh, and the SNP and Liberal Democrats, who want to strangle them with bureaucracy.
Resource: Facebook page for the campaign against the licences