The ISM, the UK’s professional body for musicians, has called for an urgent statement in the House of Commons after the Independent reported (just hyperlink story rather than separate para) that the Government rejected a proposal from the EU to exempt UK touring musicians and other performers from bureaucratic work permits for 90 days.

The ISM has stated that the reports were ‘shocking’ and if true, resembled a ‘serious breach of trust’. From 01 January 2021, UK musicians now face a mountain of red tape and extra costs, which threaten the viability of working in the EU. Not only does this harm the value of the music industry (which generates £5.8bn a year to the UK economy), but also individual livelihoods at a time when large parts of the music workforce have had no source of income since March 2020 due the pandemic.

Responding to the ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said:

‘The ISM and the rest of the music sector are appalled by shocking reports that the UK Government rejected an offer from the EU to waive bureaucratic work permits for British touring musicians, in direct contrast to statements made by Ministers in Parliament last week.

‘If these reports are true then we are looking at a serious breach of trust after the Government provided multiple assurances throughout 2020 that they understood the importance of frictionless travel for UK musicians and would be negotiating an ambitious agreement to achieve this objective.

‘We join the call with leading UK businesses that trade negotiations with Brussels should restart to address the serious regulatory challenges facing many industries, and a better deal for UK musicians should be included in those talks. We need complete transparency on what was discussed during the negotiations and an urgent statement in the House of Commons outlining what steps the Government are taking to protect our world leading performing arts sector.