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UK associations respond to election results

Industry associations welcome Britain's new government, with prime minister Boris Johnson returning to office at the head of a Conservative majority administration

By IQ on 13 Dec 2019

Prime minister Boris Johnson has the largest majority since Margaret Thatcher in 1987

Prime minister Boris Johnson has the largest majority since Margaret Thatcher in 1987

image © Velislav Nikolov (EU2018BG)/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The major UK music industry associations have given their verdict on yesterday (13 December)’s general election, which saw the Conservative party under Boris Johnson win the largest majority since Margaret Thatcher in 1987.

Johnson’s victory also ends the deadlock in parliament over the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union, with ‘Brexit’ now almost certain to go ahead as planned on 31 January 2020.

Michael Dugher, the outgoing CEO of umbrella organisation UK Music, congratulates the new government on its victory and outlines his key music-industry concerns ahead of Johnson outlining his legislative agenda.

“Congratulations to the newly elected government. Hopefully this will now deliver the stability we need to get things done, including a new and comprehensive strategy to support music,” says Dugher.

“It is vital that the Prime Minister makes securing a trade deal with the EU a top priority. That deal needs to ensure that artists, creators and everyone involved with the UK music industry can move around the EU to do their jobs. It must also make sure that we have a legal framework to make the UK the world’s best place to make content. Copyright should be protected and enhanced in any new trade deals. […]

“Ministers also need to make good on their pledge to help protect small music venues by delivering on their pre-election promises to cut the soaring business rates bills faced by so many venues.

“Ministers need to make good on their pledge to help protect small music venues”

“We look forward to the speedy appointment of a new secretary of state for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. We desperately need some continuity in that post and UK Music stand ready to work with them to ensure our world-leading music industry goes from strength to strength”.

The Creative Industries Federation, which represents the UK’s creative-industry businesses, says it will also “continue to work tirelessly” alongside the incoming government “to ensure that they act on the areas that matter most to the UK’s creative industries and our country’s emerging talent.”

On the Conservative party specifically, Alan Bishop, the federation’s chief executive, similarly notes that its manifesto includes promises to introduce “business rates relief for music venues and cinemas”, as well as to continue to support for existing creative-sector tax reliefs. “We look forward to working with government on these commitments, ensuring that industry is able to shape these initiatives so that they develop in the right way for the creative industries,” he says.

In the recorded music sector, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) emphasises that the UK must maintain its commitment to protecting music copyrights when it leaves the EU on 31 January.

“The UK has a strong copyright regime. It is essential that this remains stable and the framework is not reopened in the event of the UK leaving the European Union,” reads a statement from the organisation. “The UK should bring forward measures to resolve the value gap in the UK and should ensure that the UK regime is an environment that will encourage investment in new recordings. […]

“It is essential that trade deals maintain a strong copyright regime”

“If any trade agreements follow as a result of the future arrangements between the UK and the EU, it is essential that trade deals maintain a strong copyright regime. It is critical to resist ‘fair use’ rules such as those found in the USA.”

The BPI also calls on the new government to commit to “reciprocal arrangements [with the EU countries] on visa-free travel, including for work purposes, [which] would ensure musicians will be able to work, tour and collaborate across the EU.”

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, which represents the UK’s record label community, and the Brit Awards, welcomes the new Johnson ministry, says he looks forward to working with ministers on music industry related issues.

“This clear result should help move the country beyond the Brexit impasse and provide the UK with a much-needed period of political stability,” he comments. “We hope the government will use this platform to deliver a trade deal with the EU that minimises barriers to trade, including simple travel arrangements for UK performers, and new trade deals with third countries to boost our music exports.

“The UK music industry is a fantastic success story both here at home and around the world. If the relentless creativity and commercial ingenuity of our artists and labels can be backed by the incoming government with some simple but effective support, we can take this success to the next level, growing our international trade, supporting access to music in schools, and boosting the industry’s contribution to employment and the economy by better protecting the valuable IP we create.

“We congratulate the new administration and we will be actively engaging with them on this agenda.”

“We urge the incoming government to listen to the music sector”

Paul Pacifico, of indie label body the Association of Independent Music (AIM), says the Conservatives’ “strong majority” presents the opportunity for a “fresh start” as Britain prepares for its EU exit. “We know from this result that the process towards Brexit will now accelerate,” he explains. “It is AIM’s priority to ensure our members are as prepared as possible. The unfortunate truth is that the grassroots SMEs and entrepreneurs of our economy face the greatest impact [from Brexit] on their businesses, so we call on this new government to give our members the support they need to ensure we avoid a Brexit that just suits big business.

“With a strong majority and the opportunity for a fresh start, we look forward to engaging with the new government across our key issues for creative entrepreneurs in music, including copyright and support mechanisms for small business in our sector, which is so important to the UK both in terms of commerce and culture.”

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), draws attention to the associations pre-election ‘Manifesto for Musicians’, which said the UK must strike a deal with Europe “which will protect every aspect of the musician’s working life post-Brexit”.

“This,” she says, “includes everything from a two-year, multi-entry visa, to ensuring that musicians can take their instruments easily across the channel to work in the EU.”

As only reported this month, the music industry is continuing to grow and is now worth £5.2bn,” Annetts adds. “We urge the incoming government to listen to the music sector and ensure the future of this prosperous industry is protected.”


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