In a meeting scheduled for June 2021, the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee is set to question Cabinet Office Minister Lord Frost over the UK government’s failure to secure visa-free travel and Europe-wide work permits for UK musicians and their touring crew post-Brexit, according to an NME report.
In recent months, the government has come under heavy fire from high-profile artists and prominent producers across the music industry.
Pop icons, including Sir Elton John, have accused the government of causing ‘chaos and confusion’ after its Brexit deal with the EU failed to secure the necessary provisions for musicians, creatives and their crews to tour, perform and work across Europe without incurring huge additional costs.
There are increasing fears that the additional financial strain and barriers to touring Europe in the post-Brexit era could create a ‘glass ceiling’, which prevents up and coming artists from being able to afford to tour on the continent in the near future.
The government has also been warned that thousands of jobs and millions in income for crew, haulage and production companies could be lost amid the failure to negotiate a deal with the EU over the issue.
The DCMS committee will question Lord Frost on June 10 about what the government is doing to avoid ‘irreparable damage’ that is being caused to the performing arts sector and related businesses.
A press release issued by the DCMS confirmed that MPs on the Committee will be searching for answers on why, as it has been widely reported, the government was seemingly ‘content to allow the entire music industry to suffer when the EU refused to accept the opening offer’.
Minister of State for Digital and Culture
The planned meeting with Lord Frost comes after the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dinenage, appeared before the DCMS Committee back in February.
In its latest press release the DCMS states: “Ms Dinenage was unable to provide detailed information about what action the government has taken to find a solution to the issue of visa-free touring across the EU.
In March, the House of Lords released a report urging the government to pursue a ‘bilateral and reciprocal’ touring agreement with the EU.
Back and forth
The issue of visa-free touring for British musicians across Europe has been an ongoing saga, which intensified after it was revealed that no deal had been struck as part of the UK’s Brexit agreement with the EU.
This led to a tit-for-tat spat between Westminster and Brussels, with each blaming the other for the collapse of a deal that would guarantee provisions for touring UK musicians, creatives and their crews.
Both the UK and the EU have vehemently denied being responsible for failing to find a solution. Meanwhile, those involved in the music industry have continued to apply pressure on the government to find a resolution or risk doing severe harm to the future of British music.
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