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Brexit & UKMusic

Northern Ireland has no Government, Scotland has given the green light for a second independence referendum and following months of speculation and hand wringing, Prime Minister Theresa May has triggered article 50 and made Brexit official.

The recent exchange between Hilary Benn and David Davis regarding the Government’s assessment (or lack of) of leaving the EU without a deal filled many with creeping dread. Elsewhere, the Prime Minister seems to have taken empty rhetoric to new lows, stating that Brexit will simply bring the UK closer together.

Putting that aside for a moment, lets zoom in on the music industry. The process is likely to be fraught with uncertainty, in particular for the live business.

Will it now become more complicated for musicians and crews to work across borders? What will the impact be on touring musicians, especially emerging artists in terms of visas and other issues? Will the framework be generally less stable? How will the currency situation play out in terms of continuing to attract international talent to the UK?

On a  more positive note, the Prime Minister has committed to offering an ‘early sector-deal’ to the creative industries and it was one of five key areas that the Government committed to in its industrial strategy document, positively marking the sector as a pillar of post-Brexit growth. It’s crucial that groups such as UK Music and the Creative Industries Federation continue to push Government on this.

More questions than answers remain but we should take comfort in the fact that the UK music industry continues to punch above its weight globally, producing superstar acts that sell one in six albums worldwide, and world leading festivals and tours. These are our calling cards. The creative industries now accounts for one in 11 jobs in the UK.

The time to lament Brexit has clearly passed and the two year countdown has started- it’s vital that the industry are involved in informing Government approaches and forging practical relationships between the UK and the EU.

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