With licencing requirements stopping children joining brass bands across Wales, Janet Finch-Saunders, Shadow Minister for Children and Young People, championed their cause in questions to the First Minister, and secured a promise that local authorities will be monitored so to establish whether the arrangements do act as an unnecessary barrier.
Speaking after receiving the First Minister’s commitment, Janet said:
“The implementation of the law requiring a licence for child performers is a major obstacle to child participation in bands across Wales.
“Locally, I know that the licence has increased the administrative burden for a voluntary organisation which does so much for children in the area, such as provide free tuition, instruments, and uniform.
“Elsewhere, bands are considering stopping children from joining, depriving them of the fantastic skills gained from playing musical instruments and performing as part of a group.
“Whilst I appreciate that local authorities have child safety at heart, it has to be questioned whether the enforcement of the licence is proportionate as it can be seen as threatening one of our most famous traditions and challenging children’s rights.
“I welcome the fact that the First Minister will be monitoring local authorities’ application of the licence, but do believe that he needs to be ready to take action should children be unreasonably blocked from bands”.