UK musicians’ fears over Brexit hit new levels

A new study highlights the rising concerns of musicians over Brexit, with almost 50 percent of respondents identifying an impact on their professional life since the 2016 referendum.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has just published its fourth report, Impact of Brexit on Musicians, and the findings highlight the widespread concerns of more than 2,000 British music-makers.

Almost 50 percent said their work had been impacted since the start of the Brexit process, with 95 percent saying it was negative. This is up from 19 percent in 2016, 26 percent in 2017, and 40 percent last year.

A further 63 percent cited difficulty in securing future work in EU countries as the biggest issue they face – with more than one in 10 reporting that offers of work have been withdrawn or cancelled, with Brexit given as a reason.

This sentiment comes as 85 percent of respondents said they visit EU countries for work at least once a year, with 22 percent visiting more than 11 times per year and more than a third (35 percent) spending at least a month per year working in Europe.

One in seven musicians have less than a week’s notice between being offered work and having to take it.

Deborah Annetts, ISM chief executive, said: ‘Impact of Brexit on Musicians demonstrates how much the music workforce depends on EU27/EEA countries for professional work, and reveals a profession who are deeply concerned about the future as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

‘Musicians’ livelihoods depend on the ability to travel easily and cheaply around multiple countries for work in a short period of time. If freedom of movement is to end, the government must ensure that free movement rights are maintained for musicians or introduce a two-year multi-entry visa for British musicians working in the EU27 – which 95 percent of respondents preferred over the Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE). PPE is not the answer.

‘This report also demonstrates how much the music workforce relies on UK-EU mechanisms – for example, the EHIC scheme and A1 certificate – to support and enable them to work in the EU27/EEA.

‘At a time of great uncertainty, musicians need to know their jobs in EU27/EEA will be secure once the UK leaves the EU. Therefore, we call for the government to take action, using the recommendations outlined in this report, to protect musicians’ livelihood and the all-important music and wider creative industries.’

Lord Jay of Ewelme added: ‘This new report from the ISM clearly demonstrates the reliance musicians place on freedom of movement to work and tour in the EU27 at short notice, without the need to demonstrate the level of their earnings or their qualifications, and I echo the ISM’s call for a multi-entry visa. The value of the music industry is growing year upon year – now worth £4.5bn to the UK economy – and deserves protection.’

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