A new survey by UK Music has revealed that the public think the government are not doing enough to help musicians overcome post-Brexit barriers to overseas touring.
UK Music commissioned the poll following a barrage of complaints about the extra costs and red tape involved in touring and working across Europe since Britain left the EU at the end of January 2020.
Of the representative sample of 2,080 people questioned on June 9-10 by pollsters Public First, a total of 58% of those quizzed agreed that “the government should be doing more to ensure musicians can work abroad post-Brexit” - against only 7% who disagreed with the statement.
UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: “For months, the UK music industry has been calling for an urgent solution to the challenges facing British musicians and crews wanting to work and tour in Europe. Now it’s clear that the public is behind us and voters want to see more action too.
“The government has just proved in its trade deal with EEA member states that the visa barriers can be removed when enough political will is applied. Now they must do the same in negotiations with EU member states and ensure British musicians can work and tour in Europe with ease.
“We also need a resolution to so-called "cabotage" rules, which impose restrictions on UK hauliers over the number of stops they can make in the EU, making touring impractical and unviable for many."
He added: “More broadly, we need a touring transition fund to mitigate the increased costs and red tape now faced by UK musicians seeking to tour the EU as well as establishing a Government-backed Export Office to help support international touring plans, and promote and back the UK music industry overseas.”
Asked if the government should be doing more to support the UK music industry, 56% agreed against only 8% disagreed.
Unless quickly tackled, the UK's pre-eminent position of suppliers of musical talent, equipment and services to our most important and closest international market will be severely diminished
Craig Stanley, LIVE
The findings come as UK Music steps up the pressure on the Prime Minister and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to reveal how talks with EU countries over removing restrictions are progressing.
In March, Boris Johnson pledged before the Liaison Committee of senior MPs that he was working “flat out” to address the issue and was having “plenty of conversations” with EU governments. However, hundreds of thousands of people have backed petitions to highlight the huge challenges faced by musicians and crew trying to work in the EU post-Brexit.
Craig Stanley, chair of the LIVE Touring Group, said: “LIVE and those working across the music sector are very disappointed at the slow progress made by the UK government to solve the major problems faced by the touring industry post-Brexit.
“Unless quickly tackled, the UK’s pre-eminent position of suppliers of musical talent, equipment and services to our most important and closest international market will be severely diminished.
“After nearly six months, there remains scant progress on a raft of issues from work permits to the free movement of UK based trucks and buses across Europe, as well as increased bureaucracy and many additional costs. The ball is very much in the UK government’s court to engage with Europe and deliver positive results on the Prime Minister’s claim that he was working “flat out” to address the issue.”
The cost of an individual Spanish visa is £232 per person or £189 for a fixed contract work visa.
UK Music is also calling for:
*European touring transition fund to mitigate the increased costs and red tape now faced by UK musicians seeking to tour the EU.
*A resolution to so-called "cabotage" rules, which impose restrictions UK hauliers over the number of stops they can make in the EU. They can only make one initial stop, with just two further stops before they must return to the UK, making touring impractical and unviable for many.
*A government-backed Export Office for the creative industries to help support international touring plans, and promote and support the UK music industry overseas.
*Expedite negotiations with the EU and individual Member States on reducing red tape and bureaucracy holding back UK artists looking to tour Europe.