‘Musicians in the West Midlands need clarity about Brexit’, Union leader reacts to last night’s Commons Brexit vote

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Uncertainty over Brexit is leaving musicians in Birmingham and the West Midlands with little idea how to plan for trips abroad.

The Musicians Union is a trade union which offers its services to over 30,000 members they also offer support for musicians within the Midlands and all over the UK. They are currently fighting for the freedom of movement and a touring visa as leaving the EU will make things difficult for musicians when touring outside the UK.

Euphoria of fans at a concert (Pixabay)

Artists also face the worry of allowing instruments and equipment to cross the border due to fear of a carnet being put in place this means it will be much harder to get the equipment they need when going on European tours.

The Musician Union has been calling for Article 50 to be revoked as we need to address our main concerns because anything less than access to the single market and a customs union will add barriers in the sector.

Stephen Brown, West Midlands Musicians Union

Stephen Brown, Midlands Regional Organiser for Musicians Union told Birmingham Eastside “The Musicians Union has not really taken a formal position on the vote last night but our members want clarity. It’s safe to say that things have not really moved along in a positive way. We still don’t have any idea what we might end up with.”

Stephen went on to say “A delay with Brexit causes uncertainty for both individual musicians, bands, tour organisations and orchestras, planning tours or work in the European Union as they don’t know whether when they plan tours what additional costs or issues might be. 

Essentially because they have no certainty about whether they will be impacted in anyway by whatever the outcome of Brexit is.  We are aware of musicians organising tours with fall back options or whether to progress at all if there is a no deal or unfavourable deal.”

The Musician’s Union has been calling for Article 50 to be revoked, as we need to address our main concerns because anything less than access to the single market and a customs union will add barriers in the sector. For instance, it will cause issues in the sector for tours (carnets/permits etc) and trade in goods like merchandise, CD’s etc.”

The UK’s music industry contributes over £4.5 billion to the economy and over £1 billion in live music. The government’s post-Brexit demand for workers from the 27 EU members states to be earning a minimum of £30,000 when they work here, could cause issues for international artists. On average most artists earn up to £20,504, therefore this could have a big impact on the music industry and will also make it harder for UK artists to tour in the EU.

“A no deal or bad deal will make UK bands and product (music) more expensive affecting our ability to compete restricting our members’ ability to forge international careers in the EU. It will also mean issues for EU musicians coming here. You only have to look at the problems getting into the USA to tour to see what restrictive practices can lead to.”

Whether Brexit is delayed or a deal does finally get made, there will still be issues for the music industry and musicians, and those campaigning for this sector is urging the government to act now in order to protect the music industry.

For more information on services and advice visit https://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/Home/About-Us/Who-is-Who/Midlands

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