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Liverpool City Council are bringing in a highly restrictive new policy around street entertainment that will prohibit street performance or busking of any kind, unless performers sign up to a compulsory and highly restrictive licencing scheme. According to Ged Gibbons, CEO of the Business Improvement District (who is one of the major driving forces behind the new policy, and looks after the high-rent paying major retailers in the city centre):
The new policy places a large number of restrictions on street performing, many of them arbitrary and crushingly strict. For instance, any posters must be A4 or smaller, performers cannot occupy a radius greater thean 1.5 metres, no under 18s allowed. The list goes on.
The policy stipulates where, when and whether performances can happen. It states how long they can happen for, and that even approved performances can be stopped for any reason at the whim of a council offficial or police officer. It removes all spontaneity from street life, and, in our view, represents a clear attempt to empty the major streets of all but a few, officially sanctioned performers. It will make it much harder to earn a living from street performance in Liverpool and will discourage good acts from performing in the city.
Currently, visiting acts from all over the world head out onto the streets to perform ahead of their gigs in the city. Often they are only in the city for a day or two and would not meet the onerous criteria required for a licence such as passport photos, proof of address, public liability insurance (Typically £100 per annum and requiring UK residency), proof of age and eligibility to work in the UK and a £20 annual fee. Instead, they will simply be stopped from performing and visitors to Liverpool deprived of cultural enrichment by a self-defeating maze of red tape.
Keep Spontaneous Street Performance Alive!
LIVERPOOL CITY Council is to scrap its controversial new busking policy, Liverpool Confidential can reveal today. The decision comes three weeks after campaigners applied for a High Court injunction, barring its enforcement, saying it was unlawful, unreasonable and irrational.
Then the council suspended the policy while it held a review. Today it has gone one further and thrown it out all together, with one councillor admitting it was “never enforceable”. A whole raft of new rules to “benefit buskers” sparked an outcry when they were introduced in July.
They required acts to obtain £20 work permits, compulsory public liability insurance costing over £100, a ban on under-18 performers and the Simon Cowell clause which would allow any civic or police official the power to pull the plug on a performance if they judged it not to be good enough.
Liverpool busking policy thrown out
Originally posted by Freeborn
It has also been the learning ground for many performers who have gone on to more recognised success.