U.K. Music, the umbrella trade organization for the British music industry, has reacted with dismay after the government refused to act on recommendations for the live sector by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

In their review of the 2003 Licensing Act, MPs on the committee had recommended in May that the government exempt small scale venues from needing to obtain a license for live music. They also called for the abolition of the controversial form 696, which requires extensive details about performers to be supplied to police 14 days in advance as part of any license application.

MPs concluded that form 696 "goes beyond the Act and its guidance to impose unreasonable conditions on events and recommends that it should be scrapped."

But in its official response to the committee report, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said form 696 was a matter for the Metropolitan Police, which is reviewing the format of the process.

On the issue of exemption from live music licenses for venues with a capacity of 200 or fewer, the government stated: "DCMS has considered exemptions for small venues, but has not been able to reach agreement on exemptions that will deliver an increase in live music whilst still retaining essential protections for local residents."

There is a new process designed to help venues add live music to their licenses "quickly and cheaply," the DCMS said, and it has agreed with the Musicians Union and local authority representatives to look at exemptions again in a year's time.

However, U.K. Music chief executive CEO Feargal Sharkey said the government was failing to support small venues - which have found licensing procedures costly and bureaucratic - and new artists.

"After six years of legislation, eight consultations, two government research projects, two national review processes and a parliamentary select committee report, all of which have highlighted the harmful impact these regulations are having on the British music industry, government's only reaction is yet another review," he said in a statement.

U.K. Music said that the government's own research indicates a 5% decrease in the number of venues available to aspiring young musicians and performers.

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