The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) have written to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson following his appearance at the Liaison Committee on 07 July 2021 to lament the lack of progress in developing solutions to resolve the Brexit red tape the creative industries are facing as a result of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

The letter is a response following the Prime Minister’s previous appearance on 25 March 2021 when many in the creative industries were encouraged to hear that the Prime Minister was working ‘flat out’ to address the serious concerns such as mobility issues around visas, work permits and moving goods between the UK and EU.

The Prime Minister was unable to provide any details of the work that had been untaken during his latest session at the committee, some 15 weeks later, which the ISM said was ‘extremely disappointing’. Further, the letter warns that it is ‘now virtually impossible for many creative professionals to work in Europe on a short term or freelance basis.’

As some countries begin to ease Covid-19 restrictions, the prospect of touring in Europe should be returning for British musicians, however due to current Brexit obstacles, it remains an unlikely prospect for many.

With solutions required urgently, the ISM has proposed five main asks of the Prime Minister and his Government.

  1. Negotiate a bespoke Visa Waiver Agreement (VWA) with the EU for our sector, covering all creative professionals including technical and support staff as well as journalists.
  2. Negotiate bilateral agreements with key individual EU Member States that do not currently offer sufficient cultural exemptions for work permits, or which are the most important financially for creative workers.
  3. Provide comprehensive, accurate guidance on the Government website around visas, work permits, and movement of goods and people in Europe.
  4. Provide an emergency funding package to support creative professionals given the level of additional costs they now face when undertaking work in Europe.
  5. Urgently take steps to reduce the adverse impact of the new road haulage and cross-trade rules that have made it impossible for UK established touring companies to facilitate pan-European tours.

Commenting, ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said, “Musicians and those working across the creative industries are waiting with bated breath for the Government to implement solutions that reopen the door to Europe.
However, they have been left disappointed as the Prime Minister said he’d deliver on his promise but had no substance to back up those claims after more than three months.

Our solutions which include a Visa Waiver Agreement, bilateral agreements and emergency funding, will allow our world-leading musicians – many of whom have struggled for work throughout the pandemic – get back to work in Europe.
Musicians and creatives cannot be left in limbo anymore, they deserve urgent action so that our industry can look to the future with some certainty.”