Edinburgh Fringe venues fear closure as cost of licences soar

May 2006

Live Event Industry

Fringe venues might be forced to shut down because of “crippling” increases in their licences introduced by Edinburgh City CouncilOrganisers at Fringe venues believe the move will jeopardise the very existence of the Festival, discouraging artists from performing in Edinburgh. The amended licensing law will affect not only performing and outdoor Fringe venues, but also a wide range of businesses across the city, as varied as riding schools, sex shops, zoos, indoor sports or late-hours catering. For small venues of fewer than 200 seats, the fee for a temporary performance licence has jumped to £440 from £127 in 2005. The fees will increase to £620 next year and will then jump to £800 in 2008. Larger venues of more than 1,000 seats will pay £1,320 this year, compared with £295 in 2005, while in 2008 they are expected to pay as much as £2,400. Edinburgh City Council said the authority had been operating at a deficit of £177,000 and had to recover the losses. The Council has pointed out that that following the Civic Government (Scotland) Act, which came into force in 1998, licensing schemes had to operate on a cost-recovery basis The Scotsmanwww.Scotsman.com 8 th April 2006

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