Chapter 5 – Section 6
© ‘Life in the united kingdom: a journey to citizenship’ material is reproduced under Open Parliament Licence.
Information about theatre, cinema, music and exhibitions is found in local newspapers, local libraries and tourist information offices. Many museums and art galleries are free
Film, video and DVD
Films in the UK have a system to show if they are suitable for children. This is called the classification system. If a child is below the age of the classification, they should not watch the film at a cinema or on DVD. All films receive a classification, as follows
U (Universal): suitable for anyone aged 4 years and over.
PG (parental guidance): suitable for everyone but some parts of the film might be unsuitable for children. Their parents should decide.
12 or 12a : children under 12 are not allowed to see or rent the film unless they are with an adult.
15 : children under 15 are not allowed to see or rent the film.
18 :no one under 18 is allowed to see or rent the film.
R18 : no one under 18 is allowed to see the film, which is only available in specially licensed cinemas.
Television and radio
Anyone in the UK with a television (TV), DVD or video recorder, computer or any device which is used for watching or recording TV programmes must be covered by a valid television licence. One licence covers all of the equipment at one address, but people who rent different rooms in a shared house must each buy a separate licence.
A colour TV licence currently costs £ 131.50 (2006) and lasts for 12 months. People aged 75, or over can apply for a free TV licence. Blind people can claim a 50% discount on their TV licence. You risk prosecution and a fine if you watch TV but are not covered by a TV licence. There are many ways to buy a TV licence including from local Pay Point outlets or on-line at www.tvlicensing.co.uk . It is also possible to pay for the licence in instalments. For more information telephone 0870 576 3763 or write to TV Licensing, Bristol BS98 1TL.
Sports, clubs and societies
Information about local clubs and societies can usually be found at local libraries or through your local authority. For information about sports you should ask in the local leisure centre. Libraries and leisure centres often organise activities for children during the school holidays.
Places of interest
The UK has a large network of public footpaths in the countryside. Many parts of the countryside and places of interest are kept open by the National Trust. This is a charity that works to preserve important buildings and countryside in the UK. Information about National Trust buildings and areas open to the public is available on: www.nationaltrust.org.uk .
Pubs and night clubs
Public houses, or pubs, are an important part of social life in the UK. To drink alcohol in a pub you must be 18 or over. People under 18 are not allowed to buy alcohol in a supermarket or in an off-licence either. The landlord of the pub may allow people of 14 to come into the pub but they are not allowed to drink. At 16, people can drink wine or beer with a meal in a hotel or restaurant.
Pubs are usually open during the day and until11 p.m. If a pub wants to stay open later, it must apply for a special licence. Night clubs open and close later than pubs.
Betting and gambling
People under 18 are not allowed into betting shops or gambling clubs. There is a National Lottery for which draws, with large prizes, are made every week. You can enter by buying a ticket or a scratch card. People under 16 are not allowed to buy a lottery ticket or scratch card.
Many people in the UK have pets such as cats and dogs. It is against the law to treat a pet cruelly or to neglect it. All dogs in public places must wear a collar showing the name and address of the owner. The owner is responsible for keeping the dog under control and for cleaning up after the animal in a public place. Vaccinations and medical treatment for animals are available from veterinary surgeons (vets). If you cannot afford to pay a vet, you can go to a charity called the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals). To find your nearest branch, visit www.pdsa.org.uk .