Government must ‘not let the sun go down’ on the UK performers

Liberal Democrats have backed calls from Sir Elton John for the UK Government to urgently resolve the growing crisis facing the UK cultural sector.

At their national Conference today, the party has unanimously backed calls for swift action to address the red tape and paperwork that is stopping UK artists, performers, and musicians from being able to tour and perform in Europe.

Sir Elton has been a vocal critic of the Government’s failure to resolve this issue, which was caused following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU without a full scheme in place to enable paperless travel for performers.

Earlier this year, Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Paul Strasburger hosted a meeting between Sir Elton and Lord Frost, the Government’s chief Brexit negotiator and now Minister for EU Relations, to discuss the difficulties caused to the cultural sector by the current Brexit arrangements.

Alongside these calls, the party are also calling for the UK to rejoin the Erasmus Plus study scheme – something former Lib Dem Education Minister Kirsty Williams achieved in Wales – extending the Youth Mobility Scheme, and establishing a European Cultural Fund to ensure young people can access opportunities regardless of their backgrounds.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

This Conservative Government has zealously allowed their pursuit of Brexit at all costs to seriously undermine the UK’s world leading cultural sector.

Elton John is right. Unless Boris Johnson agrees to listen to the concerns of the industry and works to resolve them then thousands of young people and artists will be left unable to tour due to paperwork and additional costs.

1-in-8 jobs in the UK are linked to the cultural sector and the industry is worth over £110bn to the UK economy. Given we are already facing the monumental challenge of rebuilding following the pandemic, we cannot afford to put so many livelihoods at risk due to Government inaction.

The Government must not let the sun go down on UK performers. They must work to rebuild our cultural links with Europe and ensure everyone is able to travel, study, perform, and learn on the continent.

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3 Comments

  • Lorenzo Cherin 20th Sep '21 - 10:49pm

    This is excellent and very good to read. The addition of Layla Moran to the excellent paring already bringing this up is why the Liberal Democrats deserve some positivity from the media.

    Whatever the main thrust here, on Brexit, very important, Covid and its effect, is worse. And the answer is not to open up big venues in the market fast, but to support small players in the industry more.

    As a professional only to aware of the difficulties faced by those such as I am,. in the cultural sector, too much cannot be said, to emphasise these. i know it is those with the broadest shoulders in culture who get the most, whether investment from individuals or govt. The number who slip through the net is huge, the more well connected and in with the in crowd, the more you succeed.

    Andrew Lloyd Webber can bend the ear of the Secretary of state and disagree with him and paint himself a champion of the sector. some of us see through this knowing that they are the ones quick to sack, get public money and plaudits, all in one!

  • Antony Watts 25th Sep '21 - 8:43am

    Let’s come clean. Brexit is wrong, it has to be reversed. Freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital is a right and fundamental to participation in today’s European world.

    UK reject Brexit.

  • Peter Martin 25th Sep '21 - 10:09am

    How does wanting to tour in the EU compare with wanting to tour elsewhere in the world? Like the U.S.A. for example?

    This is a genuine question BTW because I don’t have any experience in the musical industry. Where I do have experience, I can say that exporting to the USA is a piece of cake but it isn’t to the EU. For example the courier picked up a consignment from our business premises last Monday and we received an email that it had been safely delivered on the Thursday.

    On the other hand we are experiencing undue delays with EU customs over the most trivial issues. I’m just hoping that this sorts itself out soon. Its probably hurting our EU customers, and therefore the EU economy, more than us. We still do get paid. Just a little late.

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