There is much to do to make sure that our buskers can go about their business free of red tape!
See the debate during the Second Reading of the Deregulation Bill in the House of Lords when I advocated the repeal of Part V of the London Local Government Act 2000 and Paragraph 14 of the archaic 1839 Metropolitan Police Act 1839. This week we will be proposing an amendment to that effect in Grand Committee.
“We have the issue of busking. The Mayor of London has rightly been fulsome about the place of busking in London life. In the Bill we should explicitly remove Part 5 of the London Local Authorities Act 2000, which provides for busking licensing schemes at individual London councils’ discretion. We should also remove Section 54(14) of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839, which was recently used against buskers in Leicester Square.
As I explained to the House, the King’s Parade, the winners of the mayor’s busking competition, were interrupted by the police mid-song as they performed in Leicester Square and informed that they were in breach of Section 54 of the archaic 1839 Metropolitan Police Act. They were bundled into a van by eight officers and held at Paddington police station for more than six hours. This 174-year-old piece of legislation, which also—I think the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, would be pleased by this—prohibits kite flying, sleigh riding and doorbell ringing, was used to justify the arrest.
There are more than adequate powers under separate legislation to deal with noise nuisance and anti-social behaviour. For example, there is the Environmental Protection Act 1990 or the Control of Pollution Act 1974. There are also powers to make by-laws available to local authorities with respect to street nuisance. Camden, under the London Local Authorities Act, has banned street music at any time, amplified or unamplified, except through a special busking licence. Camden’s approach runs completely counter to the arguments heard and accepted by government and Parliament during the Live Music Act debates.”
See the Petition organised by Keep Streets Live Campaign