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ISM: Govt must cover musicians’ Brexit costs

The UK’s Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is calling on the government to cover additional costs incurred by musicians travelling to EU countries for work, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The ISM, a professional body for musicians, has calculated that additional costs of up to £1,000 per year will be levied against artists bringing instruments into the European Union.

Temporary international customs documents, or carnets, allowing musicians to move instruments and equipment outside the UK will set artists back £500 to £700. Currently, no extra cost is incurred when moving goods between countries.

Industry associations including UK Music and the UK’s Musicians’ Union have repeatedly pushed for a ‘touring passport’, which would allow musicians and their crews to move freely post Brexit .

If Britain leaves the EU, UK musicians will also have to purchase private medical insurance, costing £70 per year or up to £320 for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Other costs include musical instrument certificates for instruments containing endangered species (such as ivory, rosewood or tortoiseshell), international driving permits and, potentially, visas.

“The majority of musicians do not have the capacity to absorb additional costs in the event of a no-deal Brexit”

According to the ISM, whose Impact of Brexit on Musicians report shows 95% of artists will be negatively impacted by Brexit, the “lack of transitional arrangements” in a no-deal scenario will result in “chaos” for musicians touring in the EU.

ISM president Dr Jeremy Huw Williams says “this uncertainty threatens the livelihoods of thousands of UK-based musicians who rely on touring in EU countries for work”.

Williams urges the government to “fully cover [extra] costs” in advance of the Brexit deadline date of 31 October. Failing this, the ISM president states the government should “provide a full compensation scheme to support musicians in the first three years following Brexit, at the very least.”

“The majority of musicians do not have the capacity to absorb additional costs in the event of a no-deal Brexit,” comments ISM chief executive Deborah Annetts. “These costs would be impossible for most freelance musicians, who earn on average around £20,000 per year.

“They would simply be unable to allocate up to 5% of their earnings to additional costs in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”

Through its Save Music campaign, the ISM aims to secure either freedom of movement for musicians or the introduction of a two-year working visa dedicated to musicians post Brexit.

 


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Report: Brexit negatively impacts 95% of musicians

The UK’s Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has published its fourth report into the effects of Brexit on music professionals, identifying future work in EU countries as a key issue for musicians post-Brexit.

Impact of Brexit on Musicians, builds on previous surveys to reveal the concerns of more than 2,000 musicians. Almost 50% of respondents identify an impact on their professional work since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016. Of these musicians, 95% report the impact has been negative, up from 19% in 2016.

Over two thirds of respondents state the difficulty in securing future work in EU countries is the biggest post-Brexit concern, with one in ten musicians stating employers cited Brexit when cancelling or withdrawing work offers.

“I’ve had ensembles questioning me as to whether it’s feasible for them to employ me post-Brexit,” comments a survey respondent. “They’re turning to me for guidance and there is nothing I can offer them.”

Out of the musicians surveyed, the vast majority visit the EU for work at least once a year and 22% work in EU countries on a regular basis, clocking up more than eleven visits per year.

Freedom of movement for musicians post Brexit has been a key concern across the industry, with associations including industry umbrella organisation UK Music and the UK’s Musicians’ Union calling for the introduction of a dedicated ‘touring passport’ for musicians which would act as a waiver for visas and permits.

A proposal of setting a minimum £30,000 salary requirement for skilled workers post-Brexit sparked major concerns in December. UK music chief Michael Dugher pointed out that the migration rules would exclude many musicians, songwriters and producers, who earn an average annual salary of £20,504.

“Musicians’ livelihoods depend on the ability to travel easily and cheaply around multiple countries for work in a short period of time”

In a letter sent to Dugher, department for Exiting the European Union minister Robin Walker stated that artists would not face the effects of migration restrictions until the end of the implementation period in December 2020. Walker also offered assurances that the safeguarding of touring musicians would be a priority post-Brexit, but did not specify the ways in which the government would do so.

In case of the loss of freedom of movement, ISM’s Save Music campaign advocates the introduction of a two-year, multi-entry working visa tailored specifically for musicians. 64% of those surveyed stated that such a visa would alleviate concerns relating to EU-based work in the future.

The report also recommended more resources be made available for musicians seeking guidance on mobility issues, urging a government department to set up a hotline for this purpose.

Impact of Brexit on Musicians demonstrates how much the music workforce depends on EU27/EEA countries for professional work, and reveals a profession who are deeply concerned about the future as the UK prepares to leave the EU,” says ISM chief executive Deborah Annetts.

“Musicians’ livelihoods depend on the ability to travel easily and cheaply around multiple countries for work in a short period of time.

“At a time of great uncertainty, musicians need to know their jobs in EU27/EEA will be secure once the UK leaves the EU. Therefore we call for the government to take action, using the recommendations outlined in this report, to protect musicians’ livelihood and the all-important music and wider creative industries.”

 


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