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Written by on 13/06/2012

Argyll & Bute Council is to discuss its hefty fees for Public Entertainment Licences at a meeting tomorrow 14th June 2012. These were implemented by the previous Argyll & Bute Council .

The new Council is being asked to rescind this decision forthwith especially for small events to avoid the extinction of community and voluntary events in the future

The previous council have clearly given no thought to the impact on the creative and entertainment industries in Argyll at a time when economic development could not be more important nor had they thought about the negative impact on the quality of community life,  especially this, the year of Culture, The National Mod in Dunoon and other Cultural events can bring to Argyll & Bute.

All Scottish councils are being urged in a national campaign to urgently review and if they have not already done so, to scrap the proposed fees, particularly those to be imposed on free events and on temporarily licensing small venues.

This campaign and subsequent on going petition was in response to the announcement that from 1st April 2012, a licence will be required in Scotland to hold free events such as exhibitions and performances. Previously a licence was only required for events charging admission.

The petition states that while an understanding  that legislation is necessary for larger events, the current wording of the bill could potentially damage a thriving infrastructure of grassroots events in all art forms, as well as small-to-medium scale cultural organisations.

Support for the new Argyll & Bute Council to rescind this decision  has come from all sectors of the Argyll & Bute community including as recently reported on the Web site.

Norman Bissell, the poet who is also a member of the Isle of Luing Community Trust recently successful in attracting major funding from BIG Lottery Scotland for their proposed Atlantic Islands Centre, has also called for public action on this now, with the council meeting tomorrow.

He says, on his Facebook page: ‘Argyll & Bute Council is to discuss its hefty fees for Public Entertainment Licences at a meeting tomorrow. These were implemented by the previous Council against  government recommendations.

The new Council should rescind them forthwith for small events to avoid a wipe out of community and voluntary events in the future. Edinburgh and Glasgow City Council have exempted events of 500 or less, why not Argyll & Bute?

We would ask councillors, even those who voted for  this  before the May election, to think carefully about the cost/benefit of what this regime would bring to Argyll and Bute and to come to a considered conclusion tomorrow.

There is only evidence of a positive attitude in thinking again and thinking better.