Labour plans to carry out its own talks with the EU to obtain a new agreement for UK musicians, who have been forced to say goodbye to tours because of Brexit.
Visa-free visits and the removal of massive new fees and red tape to transport equipment will all be discussed, in a bid to make the government finally act.
Big name musicians have praised the move towards a visa-waiver scheme, which Britain rejected last year, according to The Independent.
UK’s music industry ‘in grave jeopardy because of Brexit’
It comes as The Society of Musicians told a parliamentary inquiry that UK’s music industry is “in grave jeopardy because of Brexit”, and 42 per cent of its touring musicians would consider quitting the UK to save their careers.
Although prime minister Boris Johnson promised to fix the crisis, Brexit minister David Frost refused to say when the problems will be solved.
Alice McGovern, Labour’s shadow culture minister, told the newspaper that “poisonous red tape” is preventing UK artists from working and touring across European countries.
McGovern, together with shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman and shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens, are set to visit the European Commission this autumn.
The EU has always said that it was Britain who refused to engage in talks about the “mobility chapter” and that the offer has always been there – but last week, the government ruled out a rethink of the current situation, saying it is up to the EU to agree UK’s proposals, which the bloc deemed unworkable.
‘We are losing 27 countries’
Earlier this year, mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly, told The London Economic she is “furious” about the situation musicians are in post-Brexit, but said she predicted it.
“I have demonstrated outside Westminster for Brexit awareness for years. I wrote to my Labour MP about the situation and he changed his mind on Brexit as a result,” she said.
She added: “The sad reality is that young performers are not given the opportunity to work in Europe, they can’t get a foothold there. “We are losing 27 countries, while Europeans are only missing out on Britain.
“However, I will also miss Europeans here because they add to the diversity.”
“European students are not going to choose the London Conservatoire anymore. London is no longer going to be one of the artistic capitals of Europe, because already European students are no longer coming here. It’s all going to become very myopic.”
Less work available
And Leon Berger, opera singer and stage director, said he can now only be abroad for a maximum of 90 days under post-Brexit rules, but some contracts are bound to be for a longer time.
What’s more, a lot of his work was done as a “jump in”: “Someone falls ill and you’re expected to be on the next plane or train to replace them and be performing at three-four hours notice.
“No visas, permissions or clearance – just a passport and go.
“Now all work requires prior notice and visa applications.”
He has been doing lecture-recitals with a pianist which requires taking musical equipment through customs – but he said this is no longer free.