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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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