An open letter, coordinated by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), has called on the Prime Minister to deliver on the promise he made to the Parliamentarians Liaison Committee (24 March) to fix the crisis facing the creative industry in the aftermath of the Brexit trade deal.
The letter has been signed by over 300 organisations from across the whole of the creative industry, including British Fashion Council, One Dance UK, Royal Shakespeare Company, British Arts Festivals Association, Glyndebourne Productions Ltd, Association of British Orchestras, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, UK Music and Theatre Workout. The coalition warned that if the Prime Minister failed to act, “work will be lost and businesses will go under”. In the “absence of a clear plan”, the Government was urged to:
negotiate a bespoke Visa Waiver Agreement with the EU for the creative sector, covering all creative professionals
negotiate bilateral agreements with key individual EU Member States that do not currently offer cultural exemptions for work permits, or with key states which are the most important financially for creative workers
provide an emergency funding package to compensate for additional costs they now face undertaking work in Europe
reduce the adverse impact of the new road haulage and cross-trade rules that has made it impossible for touring companies to facilitate pan-European tours
Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said: 'It is extremely frustrating that despite the firm commitment made by the Prime Minister last month to fix the crisis facing the creative industry, we have not witnessed any real progress achieved by his officials to deliver on this pledge. 'Unravelling the huge bureaucratic obstacles preventing touring musicians and other creative workers from working in Europe is now an urgent priority as we look beyond coronavirus, otherwise work will be lost and businesses will go under. 'This letter should send a strong message to the Prime Minister that empty promises will not cut it, and to sort this mess out the Government must negotiate a bespoke visa waiver agreement with the EU as well as bilateral deals on work permits with key EU Member States.'
Read the full letter here.
It is worth noting that The Creative industries contributed more than £111bn to the UK economy in 2018. (UK Gov). Music contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019 and employment in the industry hit an all-time high of 197,168 in 2019. (UK Music).
The UK is a world leader for creative culture, with music, theatre, dance, TV drama and films among the UK's biggest and most lucrative exports, making international touring an essential part of any artists career. BREXIT rule changes will disproportionately affect UK artists ability to compete and work. This will have a detrimental impact on the industry, already severely impacted by COVID-19.