MU survey shows cost of Brexit to musicians

    Obstacles introduced by Brexit are turning British musicians away from European touring, cutting off a once reliable source of income and reducing creative interaction

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    The cost of Brexit to British musicians is highlighted in a survey carried out by the Musicians’ Union and the Incorporated Society of Musicians. Published on Monday, the survey indicates that only 43% of musicians are still planning to work in the EU in the future, 42% would consider relocating to the EU in order to continue working, and 21% are considering a change of career.

    The problems arise, says MU chief Horace Trubridge, from the UK government’s failure, when negotiating the Trade and Cooperation Agreement at the end of 2020, to protect performers from a sheaf of bureaucracy reintroduced by the UK’s departure from the EU.

    He continued: “As a result, we may lose a large chunk of the talent that underpins our £5.8bn industry. The PM needs to step in and sort this mess out now, just like he promised to when questioned in the house some weeks ago. The damage done to the UK music industry if the government does not act is immeasurable.”

    The impediments brought about by the so-called “free trade agreement” include work permits and visas for performers and customs documents for equipment as well as increased transport expenses due to new road-haulage requirements. Some of those surveyed expected the loss of free movement to add up to £15,000 to the cost of a European tour. One said “The current situation is a disaster for the UK music industry.”

    ISM chief Deborah Annetts said “Musicians are cultural ambassadors for the UK around the world and make an enormous contribution to the nation’s health, economy and global reputation, so the prime minister must deliver on his promise to fix this crisis.”