Licence rules

I sympathise with the community groups, charities, arts organisations and others left at best confused and at worst out of pocket by the current entertainment licenses’ farrago.

Sadly, this situation is not new or unique. It is a direct consequence of a fundamental problem with Scotland’s regulatory approach.

The Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland has argued long and hard that every new set of regulations needs to be implemented in a consistent, proportionate manner by local government. Further, the Scottish Parliament needs to develop a better eye for legislative detail so that it can draft better, less ambiguous, legislation.

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There will always be specific circumstances which might require a more tailored approach, but general agreement between councils about the circumstances that would or would not require fees across Scotland would seem a sensible way forward.

Beyond this, the disparity in fees charged by different councils for different regulatory activities is also a cause for concern – largely due to the perceived lack of transparency around “cost recovery”.

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With the Scottish Government proposing to introduce a Better Regulation Bill, now is surely the time to face up to these questions and begin a constructive discussion on how we improve our regulatory environment.

Andy Willox OBE

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Federation of Small Businesses

Berkeley Street

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