UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has welcomed prime minister Boris Johnson’s promise to fix the work permits crisis facing touring musicians.
DCMS Select Committee chair Julian Knight MP questioned Johnson over the issue when he appeared before the Liaison Committee at Westminster yesterday, 24 March.
Knight told the prime minister that workers in the creative industries now faced “uneconomic visa fees”, struggled to move instruments and kit and were losing work to those with EU passports. He asked: “Why were these sectors allowed to suffer a no deal Brexit?”
The prime inister replied that talks were under way with the UK’s EU partners and he was “passionate” about the ability of artists to be able to tour freely, citing a group called the English comedians who performed Hamlet in German in 1620.
The PM said the Government was working “flat out” to find a solution: “I want to say how strongly I share the frustrations of the sector. This is a massively important part of the economy that contributes many of billions of pounds to the economy and jobs and to the general joy of the nation. It is hugely important and they are also a massive export industry. We must fix it.”
Njoku-Goodwin said, “It’s very welcome to hear the Prime Minister highlight the importance of the UK music industry and promise to resolve the huge challenges musicians and crews are now facing when it comes to working in Europe.
“It is also good to hear that the Government is ‘working flat out bilaterally with countries’, and we look forward to hearing of more progress on this front soon. We stand ready to support Government in these negotiations with different member states, which must be an utmost priority.”