UK & EU flags
UK & EU flags

Many constituents who are musicians have contacted me in the last year with deep concerns on how Brexit will impact their travel in Europe. For many, this has meant that they can no longer spend months at a time touring and playing around the continent and for others, the sheer level of red tape for travelling with instruments means that they can no longer accept jobs abroad.

The creative industries employ over two million people in the UK, and Britain is lucky to be the home of so many talented and hardworking performers, many of whom live and work in and around Hornsey & Wood Green. Before the pandemic hit, the creative industries were one of our biggest exports, contributing at least £115.9 billion to the UK economy and serving as cultural icons around the world.

The Tories promised time and time again that they would deliver for British creative workers and ensure that they could continue to travel to and perform in the EU after Brexit. However, during the negotiations the UK chose not to negotiate any deal that would reinstate the previous visa-free working arrangements. I was hugely disappointed at this decision and I am angry that British creative workers are now at a disadvantage because the government failed to stand up for them, at a time when their livelihoods are already being battered by the effects of the pandemic.

In November 2021, Nadine Dorries MP, Secretary for Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), tweeted: “We’ve been working closely with the Spanish government to make touring easier – and they’ve just confirmed that musicians no longer need visas to go on short-term tours”. That’s welcome but major issues still remain, particularly cabotage (the transport of goods or passengers between two places in the same country by a foreign operator), which makes many tours impossible. Many European festival promoters have previously said they are likely to book fewer UK acts due to the cost of visas, which would deal a huge blow for crews still reeling from the pandemic’s impact on the industry.

The Tories have had 5 years to work this out and they have failed.

As part of Labour’s Shadow Foreign Office Team, I will continue to hold ministers to account on the barriers now preventing British creative workers from freely travelling to and performing in the EU and urge them to do everything they can to support them at this crucial time.

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