Did you know that the creative industries are worth over £87bn in their contribution to the economy – more than oil and gas, life sciences and aerospace combined?
They are the fastest-growing sector of the economy, employing 1 in 11 people.
The UK has the largest cultural economy in the world relative to Gross Domestic Product and is the largest producer of recorded music in Europe and the second largest exporter of music (after the US).
That success relies on things like the ability to tour and trade easily with the UK’s largest export market. It relies on the ability to attract talent widely. And EU arts funding has helped fuel it.
Musicians are very concerned that the Brexit process may lead to the introduction of individual member state work permits and/or visas for British musicians touring and working across Europe. Most professional musicians and performers rely on touring and travelling for their careers and livelihoods and gigs are often organised at short notice. As some performers can be working in several different European countries over the course of a few days, the possible introduction of work permissions and/or visas for British musicians touring and working in Europe could be extremely detrimental.
Horace Trubridge, Musicians’ Union General Secretary says: “British musicians have long enjoyed easy access to touring in Europe, as UK venues and festivals have benefited from easy access to European performers. We know from touring in the US and elsewhere, that visas and other restrictions impose significant costs and administration, and occasionally considerable financial loss when visas aren’t processed in time. We are calling on MPs and the Government to help secure a deal that will ensure ease of movement for touring and performing post-Brexit”.
At an event in Parliament on Wednesday, Alex Sobel pledged his support for professional musicians and performers here in Leeds NW, and urged the Government to ensure that they can continue to be able to travel easily across Europe post-Brexit for touring and performing with minimum administrative burdens.
As Alex says – “We’re committed as a party to a ‘jobs first’ Brexit – and one which guarantees the ‘exact same benefits’ to workers and consumers as they enjoy now. It’s clear what that means for musicians. That’s why I’ve pledged my strong support for musicians here in Leeds NW – many of whom I know. They use our brilliant music spaces like the Woolpack, Hyde Park Book Club and Brudenell Social Club as a base -then tour across Europe. If we have restrictions like those in the US what happens if a band member becomes ill? How can the band go on tour if it takes weeks to arrange visas?”