Following yesterday’s Parliamentary briefing session and debate, Carry On Touring campaign organisers have been left “bitterly disappointed” by Digital and Culture minister Caroline Dinenage’s reaction, and written a letter to the Prime Minister.
The letter’s 285 signatories including Parliamentarians, artists and event industry professions, who are calling for Europe-wide, visa-free, work permits for UK touring professionals and artists.
The briefing session was followed by a Petitions Committee debate during which Conservative MP Giles Watling said, “Our performers are now facing a double whammy of an industry devastated by Covid and the loss of an entire continent as a venue. We must continue to raise the issue with our EU neighbours.”
Former Labour Party deputy leader Harriet Harman said it is “not a Brexit teething problem”. She told the committee the issue is “so important in so many ways, culturally as well as financially”.
The Government debate resulted from Tim Brennan’s petition to secure free EU movement for touring artists and professionals, which has been signed by more than 283,000 people.
In response, Digital and Culture minister Caroline Dinenage said, “The Government fully understands and recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other cultural professionals.
“Our proposals were very straightforward: they involved capturing the work done by musicians, by artists, by entertainers and their accompanying staff, through the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors. This would have meant performers and artists could have worked and travelled in the EU more easily and would mean that there were no requirements for work permits either.
“Quite simply, the EU rejected this proposal. There was no specific counter-offer from the EU concerning touring for musicians, or for the creative sectors.”
Campaigners said the minister’s response failed to recognise the scale of the problem and the urgent need to go back to the negotiating table.
The briefing session can be watched in full here.
The letter and a full list of signatories can be viewed here.
Julie Elliott MP for Sunderland Central
Hilary Benn MP for Leeds Central
Jamie Stone MP for Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross
Jeff Smith MP for Manchester Withington
Tracy Brabin MP for Batley & Spen
Earl of Clancarty
Lord Alastair Aberdare
Lord Berkeley of Knighton CBE
Lord Michael Cashman
Lord Clement-Jones CBE
Lord Foster of Bath
Lord Michael German
Lord Paul Strasburger
Nile Rodgers, guitarist, singer-songwriter
Sacha Lord, Night-Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester
Tom Kiehl, Deputy CEO, UK Music
Tim Brennan, Freelance Video Technician, Petition Creator
Rob Brydon, Band, BBC Actor and Theatre Producer
Ian Smith, UKE Arts Work & Frusion & Fizzion international music & allied arts agencies Gill Morris, Campaign Coordinator, Carry on Touring
Derek Dick aka Fish, Singer, Record Company Owner, Touring Artist
Eliza Carty MBE, Folk Singer
Horace Trubridge, General Secretary, Musicians’ Union
Howard Goodall Composer, Broadcaster, Conductor, Author
Jess Murphy, Freelance Violinist & Founder of Let Music Live
Louise Richards, Founder and Executive Director, Motionhouse
Rick Astley, singer-songwriter