The Government’s Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill – also known as Protect Duty – was included in the King’s Speech today, 7 November, indicating that it is the Government’s intention to lay it out before Parliament in coming months.

In response to King Charles III’s reading of the Government’s legislative agenda, the live music industry umbrella organisation LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment) called for the draft Protect Duty Bill to be revised.

The Bill is widely referred to as Martyn’s Law, as a result of the lengthy campaign for anti-terrorism legislation orchestrated by Figen Murray, the mother of Martyn Hett – one of the 22 killed in the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing.

The 56-page Bill includes a range of measures with the aim of protecting the public from terrorist attacks at live events and venues. The set up and ongoing cost of Martyn’s Law is expected to be around £2.7 billion.

Two tiers of venues are laid out in the draft Bill; standard and enhanced.

  • The standard tier – Premises with a maximum capacity of 100 or more people are required to undertake “low-cost” activities such as terrorism protection training.
  • The enhanced tier – Premises with a maximum capacity of 800 or more people are required to invest more time into counter-terrorism measures, such as appointing a designated senior officer for the review of venue security.

The Bill also introduces a regulator, with the power to inspect and enforce the requirements for each tier. The regulator has the power to hand out sanctions and penalties for non-compliance. Fines for non-compliance are up to £10,000 for those in the standard tier and up to £18m, or 5% of the person’s qualifying worldwide revenue, for those in the enhanced tier.

Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE, a federation of 16 live music industry associations representing 3,159 businesses, said it shares the assessment of the Home Affairs Committee which identified serious concerns about the proportionality of the Bill and a range of unfinished provisions. LIVE said the Bill has been “rushed through pre-legislative scrutiny stage and lacks any thorough impact assessment which risks leaving the Bill in a sub-optimal state. Not least in the treatment of grey space in public areas outside of venues and events”.

Collins said, “The Committee’s report vindicated our members’ view that the draft Bill is impractical, misses its core aim, and, through the excessive penalties it proposes, would create existential risk for live music venues. Government must urgently redesign the Bill to ensure it is workable, places no disproportionate burdens on venues and crucially delivers greater reassurance and safety for concertgoers. We will continue to engage with Government and Parliamentarians to ensure the Bill is appropriately revised and strengthened as it goes through Parliament.”