During the negotiations for the TCA (Trade and Co-operation Agreement), the Tory Government took an “ambitious approach” when trying to negotiate a deal for creative touring of the EU post-Brexit.
We know this because in all the answers we have received to the various letters written and questions asked on our behalf, there is the same old copy and paste statement from Julia Lopez MP, the minister for DCMS. (CMS)
In it the minister states that:
“The UK took an “ambitious approach” during the negotiations with the EU that would have ensured that touring artists and their support staff did not need work permits to perform in the EU;”
“Regrettably, these proposals were rejected by the EU”.
We also know that this is a somewhat spurious statement that they have repeatedly refused to provide the details for, even when Lord Clement Jones submitted a freedom of Information request, and an appeal which they also refused stating that it was a matter of national security.
Now, I say spurious because we have correspondence from the European Commission Directorate-General Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Johannsson, in response to our questions regarding work permit and visa free travel for touring professionals and artists.
“As you are aware, when it comes to the movement of persons, the UK has chosen to no longer allow the free movement of EU citizens to the UK.
“In the negotiations on Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), the UK refused to include a chapter on mobility in the TCA, despite the European Union offering to do so and despite both parties’ agreement – ahead of the negotiations – in the joint Political Declaration to establish non-discriminatory “mobility arrangements”.
Excluded joint declaration
Moreover, by refusing to include a bilateral visa waiver component in the TCA, the UK also effectively excluded agreeing on a Joint Declaration, something which usually accompanies that kind of commitment in the EU’s international agreements.
Such a Joint Declaration could have enumerated the categories of activities that cannot be subject to a visa requirement for the purpose of undertaking a ‘paid activity’.
Consequently, the possibility for the UK nationals to undertake “paid activities” during their stay in a Member State will depend on the law of that Member State.
A Member State may subject the undertaking of a paid activity to obtaining a work permit; it may also decide to request a visa – even in the case of short-term stays – when such stay includes the undertaking of “paid activities” (cf. art. 6(3) of Regulation 2018/1806).
While it is true that the Visa Handbook recommends that this exception should be interpreted narrowly, please note that the Visa Handbook does not create any legally binding obligations upon Member States.”
You can read my original blog post about this here:
You can see that I’m just a bit sceptical when I see the Tories use the word “Ambitious”.
It normally means it’s just a hollow empty promise to grab a headline, usually to distract from whatever catastrophe has befallen them that day.
So, when I saw this headline this morning, I knew it had to be a joke, but as usual not very funny one:
“Ambitious plans to grow the UK economy and boost creative industries by £50 billion”.
Link to said article.
Let’s break down some of the quotes and claims in the article.
Rishi Sunak is quoted as saying:
“THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES ARE A TRUE BRITISH SUCCESS STORY, FROM GLOBAL MUSIC STARS LIKE ADELE AND ED SHEERAN TO WORLD-CLASS CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS LIKE THE NATIONAL THEATRE.”
That was the case before Brexit.
Now we have been burdened with enormous amounts of red tape,
“THESE INDUSTRIES HAVE A SPECIAL PLACE IN OUR NATIONAL LIFE AND MAKE A UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION TO HOW WE FEEL ABOUT OURSELVES AS A COUNTRY.”
They have consistently ignored the issue we face, instead as I mentioned above, keep reminding us of their Ambitious approach.
“WE WANT TO BUILD ON THIS INCREDIBLE SUCCESS TO DRIVE GROWTH IN OUR ECONOMY – ONE OF MY KEY PRIORITIES – AND TO ENSURE THAT UK CREATIVE INDUSTRIES CONTINUE TO LEAD THE WORLD LONG INTO THE FUTURE.”
Whoa, have they suddenly realised that there is a £5.8bn hole in the UK economy where the creative touring industry used to be?
“BACKED UP WITH SIGNIFICANT NEW FUNDING, THIS AMBITIOUS PLAN WILL HELP GROW THE SECTOR BY AN EXTRA £50 BILLION WHILE CREATING ONE MILLION EXTRA JOBS BY 2030.”
Yet the failure to support the 3 million UK freelancers that were Excluded from the furlough funding or/and financial help for that matter.
The Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:
“FROM FIRST DAYS AT SCHOOL TO LAST DAYS OF WORK, WE WILL NURTURE THE SKILLS NEEDED TO BUILD A LARGER CREATIVE WORKFORCE TO HARNESS THE TALENT NEEDED FOR CONTINUED SUCCESS.”
The ISM (Independent Society of Musicians) is campaigning because Arts and technology subjects are in serious decline in English secondary schools.
Seems the exact opposite of what Lucy Frazer said above.
Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said:
“OUR CREATIVE INDUSTRY ISN’T JUST ABOUT THE GLITZ AND GLAM OF THE RED CARPET IN LEICESTER SQUARE. IT BRINGS IN £108 BILLION A YEAR TO HELP FUND OUR PUBLIC SERVICES, SUPPORTS OVER 2 MILLION JOBS, AND IS WORLD RENOWNED.”
Now a lot of tours coming into the EU from the States and other markets, no longer use UK based equipment suppliers and freelancers as they used to do, because of the additional red tape and risk that doing so would involve.
“THAT’S WHY WE’RE BACKING IT AS AN INDUSTRY TO DRIVE OUR ECONOMIC GROWTH, KEEPING THE UK AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD’S CULTURAL CHARTS WITH A MULTI-MILLION POUND BOOST.”
Coming up to 2.5 years after the end of the transition period, its too little too late for a lot of creatives, many have left the industry because they can no longer make a viable living from creative touring.
We have been campaigning constantly during that time, and we have had various promises of this and that, that have never got off the ground.
I could go on, but if you have made it this far, I think it’s only fair to end here.
It’s just another Ambitious gaslighting project to grab a headline that will never see light of day.