Music industry may not survive Brexit and coronavirus without support, claims report

PUBLISHED: 10:22 13 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:22 13 May 2020

The union flag colours projected onto 10 Downing Street as the UK leaves the EU. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA.

The union flag colours projected onto 10 Downing Street as the UK leaves the EU. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

The UK music industry may not survive a double-whammy threat of Brexit and the coronavirus without government help, the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has warned.

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The professional body for the UK’s musicians is calling on the government to follow Germany and France in providing “robust financial support for their cultural industries”.

In a new report into the impact of the UK’s exit from the EU on the music profession iit said the sector was “at a crossroads” and in “clear need of support from the government to secure its survival”.

The coronavirus outbreak has had “disastrous consequences for the music sector with cancellations, closures and the loss of work and livelihoods overnight,” the body added.

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The ISM is also asking the government to maintain support for musicians who are faced with hardship amid the crisis and calling for an extension of the transition period for two years beyond 2020.

Other suggestions include negotiating for cheap touring visas and ensuring UK copyright laws are not undermined in post-Brexit trade deals with the US or other countries.

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the ISM, said: “The UK music sector, which contributes £5.2bn to the economy each year, is facing ruin from the dual threats of Covid-19 and Brexit.

“For many years, the ISM has been highlighting how essential it is for professional musicians to work easily across the EU. In this time of great uncertainty, musicians need to know that their livelihoods will be protected.

“Going straight from Covid-19 to the end of the transition period without ensuring enough time to negotiate new trading agreements will be devastating for the music profession and the wider music and creative industries.

“Therefore, to avoid irreversible damage, we call for the government to recover some of the time lost to Covid-19 by requesting an extension to the transition period.”

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