Over 300 creative organisations demand Prime Minister delivers on his… Jump to main content

Over 300 creative organisations demand Prime Minister delivers on his promise to fix the Brexit crisis for creative industry

An open letter coordinated by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has called on the Prime Minister to deliver on the promise he made to the Parliamentarians Liaison Committee (24 March) to fix the crisis facing the creative industry in the aftermath of the Brexit trade deal.

The letter has been signed by over 300 organisations from across the whole of the creative industry, including British Fashion Council, One Dance UK, Royal Shakespeare Company, British Arts Festivals Association, Glyndebourne Productions Ltd, Association of British Orchestras, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and UK Music. The coalition warned that if the Prime Minister failed to act, “work will be lost and businesses will go under”. In the “absence of a clear plan”, the Government was urged to:

  • negotiate a bespoke Visa Waiver Agreement with the EU for the creative sector, covering all creative professionals
  • negotiate bilateral agreements with key individual EU Member States that do not currently offer cultural exemptions for work permits, or with key states which are the most important financially for creative workers
  • provide an emergency funding package to compensate for additional costs they now face undertaking work in Europe
  • reduce the adverse impact of the new road haulage and cross-trade rules that has made it impossible for touring companies to facilitate pan-European tours

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said:

'It is extremely frustrating that despite the firm commitment made by the Prime Minister last month to fix the crisis facing the creative industry, we have not witnessed any real progress achieved by his officials to deliver on this pledge.

'Unravelling the huge bureaucratic obstacles preventing touring musicians and other creative workers from working in Europe is now an urgent priority as we look beyond coronavirus, otherwise work will be lost and businesses will go under.

'This letter should send a strong message to the Prime Minister that empty promises will not cut it, and to sort this mess out the Government must negotiate a bespoke visa waiver agreement with the EU as well as bilateral deals on work permits with key EU Member States.'

Notes to Editor

  • The open letter was covered by The Times
  • The Creative industries contributed more than £111bn to the UK economy in 2018. (UK Gov)
  • Music contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019 and employment in the industry hit an all-time high of 197,168 in 2019. (UK Music)
  • International touring represents an essential part of many musicians’ livelihoods, ISM research shows that:
    • 44% of musicians earn up to half of their earnings in the EU/EEA (54% in 2016)
    • 43% travelled to the EU more than five times a year (39% in 2018)
    • 32% spend more than 30 days in the EU for work (41% in 2018)
  • 76% of UK musicians say it’s likely Brexit will stop them performing in Europe. (Encore)
  • The arts, entertainment & recreation is the worst affected sector by coronavirus. (ONS)
  • 79% of musicians earn less than £30,000. (ISM)

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK's professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and protecting the rights of those working in the music profession.

We support nearly 11,000 music professionals across the UK and Ireland with our unrivalled legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services. Our members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds.

We campaign tirelessly in support of musicians’ rights, music education and the profession as a whole. We are a financially independent not-for-profit organisation with no political affiliation. This independence allows us the freedom to campaign on any issue affecting musicians.