A parliamentary inquiry has found that touring musicians face an “existential threat” to their careers from the huge costs and red tape imposed by the Brexit deal.
A stinging letter to Brexit minister David Frost prompts him to hear “compelling” evidence from performing artists who face being forced to leave their favorite industry.
Alarm is raised over the problems faced by artists coming to the UK to perform and on the transport of equipment across borders, over barriers to obtaining visas and work permits in the EU.
Backing an industry warning of an “existence threat”, the Lord’s European Affairs Committee warned that it was “so serious that many artists may be forced out of the field”.
The government is condemned for preferring to “be in the limelight instead of dealing with very serious issues accurately and realistically”.
And, the committee concludes: “This not only causes substantial damage to a significant sector of the UK economy, but also to the global UK’s ability to use its soft power to advance its interests internationally in the post-Brexit era.” It can also undermine the vision of the government.”
The criticism comes months after ministers refused to contact the EU to negotiate a visa-waiver scheme, which – as Granthshala Disclosure – Britain rejected last year.
The Society of Musicians has warned many tours are “infeasible”, with its survey showing that 42 per cent of artists would consider leaving the UK to save their careers.
Boris Johnson made a high-profile pledge to “fix” the crisis, but Lord Frost – the minister he had put in charge – appeared to be scrambling over the issue and declined to say it would be resolved .
Ministers were then attacked, including Elton John, who falsely claimed that 19 of the 27 EU countries were offering visa and work permit-free access when severe restrictions still existed. .
Labor has since vowed to end the impasse by opening its talks with the European Commission and other bodies to attempt to revive a deal.
The Lord’s Committee said in its letter that the music industry was ignored by ministers who “lacked an adequate understanding of the issues facing it”.
“The government is putting artists at risk and failing to take the necessary decisions and steps to support the creative industries,” it warned.
Yet they are of “comparable size to the UK construction industry”, with the music industry alone being valued at £5.8bn a year and employing over 100,000 people.
Lord Kinnaul, chairman of the committee, said: “The creative sector is vital not only to the economies of the UK and other relevant countries, but also to the enjoyment and well-being of the people.
“It is important that the government rebuild trust with the creative industries and provide them with the support they need to adjust to the post-Brexit era.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /