Could This Labour-Backed Plan Save Post-Brexit Touring…?

Harriet Harman speaks out...

Labour MP Harriet Harman is set to propose a new 10 step plan for UK musicians to tour the EU following Brexit.

The politician has introduced a 10 point plan detailing the proposals, which come with the approval of industry bodies such as the Musicians’ Union, UK Music and the Incorporated Society of Musicians.

Speaking to the Guardian, the Labour MP criticises the “unnerving silence” on the issue from those in government.

Currently confusion surrounding the post-Brexit landscape is causing untold damage to the music industry, with a House of Commons survey in 2020 finding that around 80% of musicians were considering halting all European touring plans due to the impact of leaving the EU.

Harriet Harman is proposing an idea similar to the so-called “elite” visa announced at the 2021 budget, while urging the government to negotiate new agreements with key touring nations such as Spain, Italy and Portugal, which do not currently offer cultural exemptions for work permits.

Discussing these issues with the broadsheet, Harman blames a culture of "complacency" around the issue, alongside the Conservative party's reluctance to admit that "they have cocked it up…"

She comments: "There’s the assumption that somehow it’s going to be perfectly all right because [musicians] always have been, and they’re so successful so they’ll be fine. And also partly: oh well, it’s just a few middle-class people. Which is completely wrong."

"The financial necessity of [touring] being part of the business model of UK musical activity is absolutely beyond doubt. But there are also artistic issues because music thrives when there’s a cultural interchange and artists are able to collaborate. And that generates even more artistic creativity."

She adds: "At the moment there doesn’t seem to be any plan to do anything because we don’t know who it is we’re all supposed to be rallying behind. It doesn’t seem as if anybody’s taking responsibility."

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Related: Five Ways Brexit Is Already Impacting On British Music

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