Brexit losses

Senedd, Welsh Parliament, Cardiff Bay
13 May 2024

After a recent appearance before Wales’s Culture Committee, Charlotte Faucher has been rethinking our new relationship with Europe.

Scotland outlines ambitions to rejoin Creative Europe

The Royal Scottish Academy building decorated during the Edinburgh International Festival,
04 Apr 2024

The Scottish Government will review its international cultural funding and look into developing a support service for cultural export and exchange as part of a new International Cultural Strategy.

UK creative industries 'an export success story'

A person using a mixing desk
20 Mar 2024

Report highlights overall export growth but finds 'striking dichotomy' in the performance of trade in services versus trade in goods for the UK’s creative industries.

Scotland calls for action on culture visas

08 Mar 2024

Practical solutions need to be found to ensure the visa process for international artists coming to contribute to cultural events in Scotland is as smooth and straightforward as possible, Scotland's Culture Secretary Angus Robertson has said.

In a letter to UK Home Secretary James Cleverly, Robertson highlighted the vitally important contribution these artists make to the success of events in Scotland. 

He has called for an urgent meeting with the Home Office to discuss what can be done to remove barriers, which he said put extra financial and administrative pressure on cultural organisations and creative professionals.

"I am increasingly concerned that the Home Office’s procedures for processing visa applications are having a negative impact on the ability of international artists and creative professionals to contribute to cultural events in Scotland," Robertson said in the letter. 

"Each year we hear examples of creative professionals having their work disrupted or delayed, and festivals and events facing challenges programming international performers due to delays with the UK visa process. 

"Approaches to immigration can often lead to discriminatory outcomes for people from minority ethnic backgrounds through combinations of post-colonial legacies, unconscious and conscious bias, and systemic or institutional racism. 

"Stakeholders have repeatedly raised their concerns of this worrying trend and its impact on our culture sector."

Royal Academy of Music fears lasting Brexit 'damage'

21 Feb 2024

The UK's departure from the European Union may cause “terminal damage” to the UK’s music industry, the Principal of the Royal Academy of Music has said.

Speaking to the Scottish daily The National, Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood said the proportion of European students at the conservatoire has fallen by half since 2016 and warned that Brexit has “stopped the flow of talent coming in”.

“It has been a complete no-win situation, not just for higher education but actually for music higher education, and particularly an institution like this that was founded over 200 years ago by Europeans," he said.

“I think there will be terminal damage in an area where we have a world renowned reputation as educators and as people who make a difference worldwide in the creative industries.

“So at the moment, I think we're fighting against the tide and in some areas we're doing OK, but it's a colossal waste in terms of reputation, in terms of capability, in terms of possibility of things that Britain has always done incredibly well."

UK festivals struggling to book big-name headliners

04 Dec 2023

Festival organisers are struggling to book big names in the UK as they are no longer an appealing destination for headline acts, it has been claimed.

The Observer reports the situation has arisen due to rising costs, increased competition and Brexit. Organisers say US acts, in particular, are proving challenging to tempt over as their financial expectations in a dynamic pricing landscape exceed the £2m fee an A-grade festival headliner in the UK can expect.

“The UK just isn’t an attractive offer at the moment,” says Sacha Lord, co-founder of Parklife Festival and night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester. “When you’re booking these huge global artists, you’re competing with the rest of the world. It’s really tough out there.”

Audience expectations for high-production-value performances and the rising cost of putting a show together and taking it on the road were also cited as causing problems for both artists and promoters.

There are likewise concerns about increased competition from the proliferation of small-scale festivals in recent years as councils increasingly look to rent out their green spaces.

Lord says these issues have been compounded by Brexit, as previously, UK dates could slot into a European tour. With an increased risk of equipment being held up at the border, Lord said: “If that happens, you’re going to lose your headliners. It’s caused major issues in the industry.” 

Kelly Wood, national organiser for live performance at the Musicians’ Union, added that there aren’t as many acts coming to the UK as factoring in time for travel checks makes it less appealing.

UK art market supports over 50,000 jobs and businesses

22 Nov 2023

The UK art market directly supported 45,520 jobs and 7,800 businesses in 2023, the latest annual report from the British Art Market Federation has revealed.
Figures in the report estimate that the fiscal contribution made by the UK art market was nearly £1.6bn in 2022. It also suggests that last year, the sector spent an estimated £2.6bn on specialised services and products supporting a further 37,900 jobs in the UK.

Globally, the report indicated that the UK art market retained its position as the second largest international hub for trading art, behind the USA, with aggregate sales in 2022 of £9.7bn. However, market share has declined from 21% in 2016 to 18% in 2022, well below a high point of 34% in 2008.

The report cites the pandemic and the disruption to UK/EU trade generated by Brexit as causing the "deterioration" in the UK’s global position.

Warning that the UK risks "losing the battle to attract worldwide sales at the highest level of values" because of a decline in cross-border trade, the report determined that “London’s significance as an art market hub is not built on sourcing business locally but on the flow of works of art in and out of London", adding “there is strong empirical evidence that imports of art and antiques are highly correlated with the growth of the art market.”

Over 80% of UK musicians report loss of earnings due to Brexit

07 Sep 2023

A survey suggests that 82% of UK musicians impacted by Brexit have experienced a loss of earnings, with DJs and vocalists among the worst affected.

Commissioned by UK Music, the survey questioned 1,461 musicians, vocalists, composers, songwriters, lyricists, producers and DJs about the challenges they have faced since the UK left the EU more than three years ago. 

The results show that 30% of music creators have seen a change in their earnings during that period. Of those whose income had been impacted, 82% said their profits had decreased, while 18% said their incomes had improved post-Brexit. 

Nearly two-fifths of those hit by Brexit said it was no longer financially viable for them to tour EU nations. 

One of the biggest problems cited by artists affected by Brexit was securing visas and work permits, with 59% of respondents considering it a significant issue. 

Other barriers to touring in the EU cited by participants included administration costs (56%), transport costs (55%), shipping and logistics (54%), production costs (34%), carnets (32%), and cabotage (13%). 

UK Music Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl said, “Restrictions on visas, work permits, truck hire and merchandise sales along with excessive red tape are making touring simply unviable for many.

“The ability to tour internationally in the early stages of an artist’s career is crucial to their success and our sector’s ambition to grow British music exports amid fierce global competition. 

“We need the Government to make it a priority to secure a Cultural Touring Agreement with the EU to remove these barriers.”

Thangam Debbonaire made Shadow Culture Secretary

Labour MP for Bristol West Thangam Debbonaire
05 Sep 2023

Former professional cellist replaces Lucy Powell as Shadow Culture Secretary with less than 18 months to go until the next general election.

Commercial art gallery closes after 15 years

24 Aug 2023

A commercial contemporary art gallery in central London has closed due to "mounting debts" made worse by Brexit, inflation and a drop in sales.

FOLD, which was founded 15 years ago by Kim Savage, has gone into voluntary liquidation and all future exhibitions have been cancelled.

Savage said that "mounting historic debts, the fallout from the pandemic lockdowns, Brexit, inflation and a general downturn in sales" had resulted in the "sudden decision" to close the gallery.

FOLD was initially a project space in Hackney, east London when it first launched in 2008.

The gallery moved to Clerkenwell and then Fitzrovia eight years ago.

Savage added: "I am deeply saddened to make this announcement and really have tried my utmost to avoid this and to make it work, but I am afraid now the tank is empty".

Impact of Brexit damaging music sector

24 Aug 2023

ISM report says difficulty and expense related to touring in the EU is impacting the viability of working musicians and is undermining the UK’s soft power.

Labour commits to resolving visa issues for performers

Image of Lucy Powell and Anas Sarwar
10 Aug 2023

Shadow Culture Secretary says government “could have done a lot more” to support internationally touring performers and commits Labour to not resting “until we’ve got a solution”.

German punk band refused entry to UK in post-Brexit 'nightmare'

11 Apr 2023

A punk band from Germany claim they were refused entry to the UK for a seven-date UK tour due to confusing post-Brexit rules.

Trigger Cut, a three-piece band from Stuttgart, said they were turned away by the UK Border Force at Calais on last Thursday (6 April).

After having their passports confiscated, they were asked for a certificate of sponsorship (COS) from each of the venues they were due to play at.

They did not have the certificates and planned instead to enter under the permitted paid engagement (PPE) exemption.

Writing on Facebook, Ralph Schaarschmidt, the band's guitarist, said: “Months of planning, 1,750km of driving to Calais and back to Stuttgart, van hire costs, paid-for expensive customs declarations, ferry ticket – all for nothing.

"We are sitting in a deep dark hole emotionally right now, this is a nightmare … I’ve never felt so degrad[ed], sad and bad as I do today.”

Music agent Ian Smith, who campaigns to help artists work in the EU and UK, said artists are often refused entry to the UK from the EU because of post-Brexit requirements.

He said: “They are so bloody opaque and confusing.” 

A government spokesperson said musicians and performers are a "valued and important part of UK culture [which is why] we offer a dedicated immigration route for creative workers".

“All visa applications are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with the immigration rules."

Visa system needs urgent reform to ensure global standing of UK's creative industries

UK border control at Heathrow airport
04 Apr 2023

Without urgent reform there is a danger our creative industries – once the envy of the world – won’t be able to access the talent needed to thrive at a time when the sector should be booming, says Eliza Easton.

Creative industries 'missed out on £163m due to Brexit'

27 Jan 2023

The UK’s creative industries have lost out on £163m of European Union-level funding because of Brexit, according to analysis by the UK Trade and Business Commission.

The group found the UK’s creative sectors would have received an extra £163m from the European Union’s Creative Europe project, had the Conservative government decided not to pull out of the project during Brexit negotiations.

The calculation is based upon the percentage of funds the UK’s cultural industries received during the last funding cycle it was involved in.

Since Brexit, the European Union has decided to increase Creative Europe’s budget by two thirds, with £2.1bn set to be invested through the flagship project before 2027.

As first reported by the Independent, analysis from the UK Trade and Business Commission found the loss of Creative Europe funding means the UK now ranks below its European counterparts in arts funding per person.

Despite promises to match the lost funding, the government’s only successor scheme to Creative Europe thus far, the Global Screen Fund, provided £7m in its first year.

A DCMS spokesperson commented: “Our creative industries are a vital part of the UK economy and we are committed to supporting their success. Through initiatives like the Global Screen Fund we are supporting scores of independent productions as well as driving exports of UK film, TV and video games to new territories.”

The UK Trade and Business Commission met earlier this week to discuss the impact of Brexit on the culture and arts industries.

Fewer than three million visited Unboxed in person

22 Nov 2022

A £120m celebration of British creativity attracted a total of 2.8 million visitors, newly published audience data shows.

As well as 2.8 million people visiting free live events for the Unboxed festival, 13.5 million accessed digital and broadcast content and 1.7 million took part in learning, volunteer and community participation activities, organisers claim.

The headline figure includes the television audience of a special edition of the BBC programme Countryfile broadcast last month, which featured a 15-minute segment of content created by Unboxed.

The figures fall significantly short of a “stretch target” of 66 million set by the festival’s chief creative officer, Martin Green, who recently left Unboxed to run next year’s Eurovision song contest in Liverpool.

The National Audit Office is currently conducting an official probe into the value for money provided by the government-funded festival - widely dubbed 'The Festival of Brexit' - following a critical report by the DCMS Select Committee which concluded that the investment was "an irresponsible use of public money".

Stuart Andrew, the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Civil Society, said the festival had “taken culture to the doorsteps of millions in communities right across the UK” and “inspired people who attended events, got involved online or watched on TV”.

Since February, 10 free Unboxed projects have opened across the UK. These include a decommissioned gas platform called See Monster in Weston-super-Mare and a trail through the solar system called Our Place in Space in Northern Ireland, Liverpool and Cambridge.

Creative Scotland warns of cutbacks

06 Oct 2022

Creative Scotland has warned that a combination of rising costs, falling income and the impact of Brexit means it is likely to have to cut the funding it provides to arts and culture organisations.

The Edinburgh Evening News reports that the quango, which funds venues, arts organisations, events and festivals, has said that maintaining standstill funding is “increasingly unviable” because of soaring additional costs.

Instead, it said it may have to cut back the number of organisations it provides long-term funding to in the future.

In a submission to Holyrood’s culture committee, which is taking evidence on how the Scottish cultural sector is currently funded, Creative Scotland said: “At the time of writing, there is no certainty as regards the Scottish Government budgets that will be allocated to Creative Scotland. The indications are that significant cuts are likely.

"We anticipate we may have to fund fewer organisations on a multi-year basis, but aim to fund them at a more sustainable level."

Donelan: DCMS will prioritise economic growth 

Michelle Donelan speaking at the Conservative Party Conference
04 Oct 2022

In her first major speech as Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan pledges to drive growth within arts, culture and tourism sectors in order to 'create more wealth and prosperity'.

‘Reality of Brexit’ for musicians survey opens

25 Aug 2022

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has opened a survey into the reality of Brexit for touring musicians.

The music body is calling on all musicians with experience touring Europe since Brexit to share their views. 

The survey intends to gather evidence in connection with the impact of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) on musicians and the experiences of musicians working in Europe post-Brexit.

The ISM says the evidence provided will go towards informing its ongoing work with government regarding the impact of Brexit on musicians and form the basis of its next report.

The survey is available here.

Drop in British artists booked for European festivals 

15 Aug 2022

The number of UK musicians booked to play festivals in Europe has fallen, according to analysis by Best for Britain.

The campaign group calculated the average number of British bands playing three major European festivals - Benicassim in Spain, Sziget in Hungary, and Lollapalooza in Germany – between 2017 and 2019, and compared it to the number booked to play the same festivals in 2022.

The analysis found a decrease of 45%. While noting the small sample size, Best for Britain said the statistics remain “sobering” and enough to raise “concerns on the impact that Brexit might be having on the next generation of British musicians”.

The analysis follows calls from across the music industry for the UK government to do more to support UK musicians touring the EU post-Brexit.


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