Yesterday, the Prime Minister gave evidence to MPs and said the Government was working ‘flat out’ to find a solution to mobility issues around visas, work permits and moving goods between the UK and EU.
When questioned by the Liaison Committee of MPs, Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the creative industries and said that challenges around touring and cultural exports ‘must get ironed out’ as part of ‘a two-way street’ with the EU. Johnson also said that the Government was working ‘flat out’ in bilateral conversations with EU member states. This is crucial for securing visa-free touring and work permit exemptions for musicians and other creative professionals.
These comments followed questions from Julian Knight MP, Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee who also highlighted the challenge faced by the industry in particular relation to COVID cancellation insurance. In response, the Prime Minister praised the work of his Government colleagues in supporting the return of the sector.
ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said:
“The Prime Minister’s commitment to fixing the crisis for the creative industries is fantastic news for a sector facing a mountain of red tape and huge new costs to tour in Europe. It is extremely encouraging that the Prime Minister is working ‘flat out’ with individual EU member states to address issues with visas, work permits and moving goods.
“With musicians unable to work for most of the past year and now finding it virtually impossible to work in Europe, we urgently need the Prime Minister to deliver on these commitments and sort this mess out. This can only be achieved by negotiating a bespoke visa waiver agreement with the EU and bilateral deals on work permits with key EU Member States. With the sector now looking beyond the pandemic, UK musicians are already losing work so negotiating a solution cannot be delayed any further.”
MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge said:
“The MU is greatly encouraged by the PM’s response to questions from Julian Knight MP regarding the plight of musicians looking to tour in the EU post-Brexit. We are hoping that his words will enable Ministers to achieve a relaxation in the regulations that will enable frictionless touring for musicians sooner rather than later. After the misery of COVID which has brought about the cancellation of all live performance, musicians desperately need to feel that there is some light at the end of the tunnel and we welcome that the PM has signalled that a light might be shining from the EU side. Now that the PM has spoken, we will be looking to hold the Government to deliver on his promise.”