Westminster: Joint Statement

Joint Statement on Westminster City Council’s new proposals for the licensing of busking

 

We stand firmly against the proposals to criminalise unlicensed busking in the Westminster area, including Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Oxford Street and Trafalgar Square. 

 

We have attempted to engage with the council throughout the process and suggested proven, viable alternatives. It will have a devastating impact on the livelihoods of street entertainers in the area and their families if the proposed licensing scheme is introduced.

 

When people think of Covent Garden, they immediately think of the world-class levels of entertainment that are on offer in the form of street performers. When people think of the West End, they think of the amazing artistic and cultural scene that exists here. But these restrictions will make the West End essentially a “no-go zone” for buskers.

 

Anti-social busking benefits nobody, and we are not suggesting a free-for-all. But current legislation can easily be used against buskers causing a genuine nuisance. There are laws in place against amplification being used late at night, for example. The council claim a lack of resources and yet are setting aside over £200,000 over the next three years to implement a licence scheme that could be better spent on implementing the laws they’re currently ignoring.

 

During the worst crisis for the arts in living memory, we call on Westminster Council to scrap their plans for licensing and work with street performers to create a system that works for everyone. 

 

Signed by:

  • The Musicians’ Union
  • Equity
  • Keep Streets Live
  • Covent Garden Street Performers Association
  • Westminster Street Performer Association
  • The Busking Project
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