UK Music urges new PM to avoid ‘cliff edge’ Brexit

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UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher has urged new prime minister Boris Johnson not to throw the music industry ‘over a cliff’ with a no-deal Brexit.

In a keynote speech at the Musicians’ Union (MU) conference in Brighton today (Tuesday), Dugher outlined how Johnson must act to safeguard the music industry, which contributes £4.5bn a year to the UK economy.

He said: ‘My explicit message to our new government on Brexit is this – you may be prepared to see a no-deal Brexit at the end of October. You may be happy to leap off the edge of a cliff, but please, please don’t throw the British music industry over there with you.’

He also called on the new Tory leader to take swift action on a range of issues, including business rate cuts for grassroots venues, inclusion in the workplace and music in education.

Elsewhere, Dugher used his speech to ‘gently remind’ Johnson that supporting the EU Copyright Directive was government policy when he was foreign secretary.

He added: ‘The government must stand up for music creators when faced with the likes of Google who continue to make billions of dollars by exploiting the content made by others without paying fair rewards to music creators.

‘The Copyright Directive presents an important potential opportunity to address the value gap and UK Music remains committed to its implementation. Yet we know that with a no-deal Brexit and without a transitional phase or the withdrawal agreement, implementation of the Copyright Directive won’t happen.

‘That’s why UK Music has called on the government to set out an urgent roadmap to spell out how it will implement that directive in the event of a no-deal Brexit.’

Dugher’s intervention came just moments after the former foreign secretary was revealed as the victor in the Tory leadership race after defeating Jeremy Hunt.

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