There has been a simmering row over visa-free touring in the EU, following the post-Brexit trade deal.
Speaking in a House of Commons debate yesterday, Culture minister Caroline Dinenage said: “The EU did not offer a deal that would have worked for musicians.
“It’s quite simple, the EU in fact made a very broad offer which would not have been compatible with the government’s manifesto commitment to take back control of our borders.”
But Dinenage said the “door is open” for further discussions with the EU on an arrangement.
Musicians’ Union general secretary welcomed the debate but said it raised “more questions than it answers”.
We really need to see the details of the proposals made by the EU and the UK’s counter offer in order to identify where the problems lie,” he said. “It would be a tragedy if the livelihoods of so many performers and ancillary workers were to end up as a political football being kicked around by the UK and the EU. I urge the Secretary of State to step up and secure a deal that enables frictionless work permit and carnet free touring for UK and EU performers.”
Major artists have signed an open letter organised by the Incorporated Society Of Musicians calling for visa-free touring. Signatories include Elton John, Radiohead, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Nicola Benedetti, Roger Daltrey, Liam Gallagher and Glastonbury organisers Michael and Emily Eavis.
“The reality is that British musicians, dancers, actors and their support staff have been shamefully failed by their government,” stated the letter.
“The deal done with the EU has a gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be. Everyone on a European music tour will now need costly work permits for many countries they visit and a mountain of paperwork for their equipment.”