PPL. the music royalties collection agency, has extended the submission deadline for its controversial plan to reform charges under its Specially Featured Entertainment (SFE) tariff until the end of the year, and revealed that more 400 licensees have responded so far. PPL has also promised to shift back implementation date of the new charges from April 2012 to 1 January 2013, should they go ahead with the planned hike. PPL has been roundly criticised from the pub and club industry for its plan to reform SFE fees that could see charges increase by up to 4,000%. The group has has now written to all licensees who pay the SFE charge saying more than 400 responses to the consultation have been submitted, along with formal responses from the main trade associations. “I would like to express PPL’s thanks for the time and effort taken by our licensees in preparing their responses, all of which will be taken into account as PPL reviews the tariff position,” the letter says. “Whilst the official deadline for responses to the consultation of 14 October 2011 has now passed, if you have not yet responded you may still do so, and we will take account of all responses received through to the end of 2011. The consultation paper and response forms can be downloaded from the PPL website (www.ppluk.com/en/Music-Users/SFE-Consultation/).” The letter added that the first meetings with four trade bodies have been scheduled, “to consider the results of the consultation process and the specific issues raised by the representative bodies in their own responses”. The trade groups are the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), the Bar Entertainment & Dance Association (BEDA) and the British Hospitality Association. PPL stressed that this is a “genuine consultation”. “We are anxious to determine the views of our licensees and their representatives and to hear their thoughts on the economics and development of the late night entertainment industry, particularly in the current economic climate. “The review process has been underway for a number of years now and we envisage a further substantial period of dialogue with all sections of the industry before any conclusions are reached. We look forward to playing a positive and constructive role in this process.” PPL said it would be in touch again once the consultation with trade groups and licensees is concluded. The SFE tariff applies to events where music is a featured element, such as DJ sets and discos. BBPA, ALMR and BEDA have already raised a £200,000 fighting fund to challenge any increased fees. The proposed new charges are based on a calculation of how much extra customers would likely spend when an SFE event takes place, with fees based on average attendance, plus the number and duration of SFE events.

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