The UK Government must take urgent action on its commitment to fix the Brexit crisis for the creative industries, arts and cultural bodies have warned.
The Museums Association (MA) was among more than 300 creative and cultural sector organisations to sign a letter last week warning prime minister Boris Johnson that “work will be lost and businesses will go under” if nothing is done to resolve the issues caused by the current Brexit deal.
Organised by the Incorporated Society of Musicians, the letter called on the government to make progress on its commitment to “to address the range of issues which have arisen as a result of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement in relation to visas, work permits, moving goods and people”.
There is “deep frustration” in the creative and cultural sectors over the terms of the deal, the letter said, which make it virtually impossible for many creative professionals to work in Europe on a short-term or freelance basis.
“We are extremely concerned by the lack of progress which has been achieved over the last three months to unravel the mountain of costly bureaucracy and red tape which now faces the creative industries,” the letter continued.
The government has been urged to take a number of measures to “ensure the survival” of the sector.
These include negotiating a bespoke visa waiver agreement for all creative professionals; creating bilateral agreements with key individual EU member states that do not currently offer cultural exemptions for work permits; and putting an emergency support package in place to support creative professionals until those measures are implemented.
The letter also called on the government to “urgently take steps to reduce the adverse impact of the new road haulage and cross-trade rules that have made it impossible for UK established touring companies to facilitate pan-European tours”, warning that touring companies have already started leaving the UK as a result.
“We are aware that a lot of museums want to work with colleagues in Europe and the current rules are a real barrier,” said the MA’s policy manager, Alistair Brown. “We want to make sure that museums are part of this conversation and if any waiver or solution is being considered by the government, that museum workers are included in it.
“The government says it is doing everything it can to solve the problem and we want to see evidence of that.”