The Prime Minister’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU saw workers from some professions being allowed to travel on business without the need to apply for a visa.
However, musicians and their crew were not covered in the deal, adding huge costs to future tours of the continent – as well as potentially preventing rising UK talent from being able to afford to do so.
The knock-on effect, it is feared, would be the creation of a potential “glass ceiling” which could threaten the stability of the £5.8 billion music industry.
While a petition calling for Europe-wide visa-free touring for musicians has been launched, a government spokesperson subsequently blamed the EU and told NME that they had rejected their proposals, before last weekend saw reports emerge that the UK government had actually turned down a “standard” proposal that would exempt performers from needing a visa to enter countries in the EU for trips under 90 days.
Addressing the commons at Prime Minister’s Questions this lunchtime (January 13), Boris Johnson vowed to meet with MPs in order to address their concerns surrounding the issue.
Responding to the meeting request from Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan, Johnson said: “I will of course ensure that there is a proper meeting with the honourable gentleman and his colleagues on this subject, which is extremely important.
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“I know that our friends in the EU will be wanting to go further to improve things for not just musicians, but business travellers of all kinds. There is a mutual benefit.”
His vow comes hours after Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden argued to NME that the government had “fought to get a good deal for British music precisely because we recognise how valuable this industry is to the country”.
Arguing that visa-free travel for artists and crew was mutually beneficial for both the UK and the EU, music industry bosses have also spoken out to claim that there was now “no excuse” for not finding a solution.
This week has also seen music industry insiders voicing their fears that the current Brexit deal could also prevent UK artists from being able to play in the US, claiming that if artists are unable to acquire “international recognition” through the usual channel of playing neighbouring European countries with ease, then this could make them ineligible for a visa.