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Creative industries issue warning on Brexit deal

The UK’s creative industries have issued a stark warning to the government regarding the Brexit immigration deal, which is currently being sought. Prior to the EU referendum in 2016, a survey conducted by the Creative Industries Foundation (CIF) suggested that a staggering 96% of its membership was concerned about the restriction of ‘free movement of talent’ throughout the EU, and the negative effects this could have on their businesses. An additional survey conducted by Media Business Insight (MBI) found that over two-thirds of respondents working in its sectors (media, marketing, TV, film and advertising) planned to vote ‘remain’ for similar reasons to the ones cited above.

Now, the CIF has issued an unprecedented warning to the government with regards to the potentially-troubling times ahead for this country’s creative industries. In a statement, the CIF’s chief executive John Kampfner warned that ‘without ease of movement, the impact on the UK economy and our position as global creative leaders will be catastrophic’. He went on to say: ‘from broadcasters powerless to employ staff with expertise in key export markets and new technologies, through to musicians unable to afford visa and equipment costs to play at our summer festivals, the effects will be far-reaching’, echoing the sentiments of many of his colleagues who work in the UK’s media, TV and film industries.

The Federation had previously welcomed the Brexit ‘implementation period’ (during which the implementation of Brexit would be phased and gradual), but it still feels that the position of freelance creative workers is still perilously unclear and needlessly prohibitive: ‘self-employed people and freelancers, who make up almost half the creative workforce, simply will not be able to come to work in the UK’.

The UK government did recently suggest a pair of freelance-worker-only visas (one for EU citizens, one for none-EU applicants), but the CIF rejected this proposal and countered with its own series of recommendations – which include the following:

1) The UK should remain in the single market (and customs union), in order to not prevent the free movement of international creatives

2) The UK government should allow creative industries to import international talent – either from within the EU or from outside of it

3) The UK government should likewise ensure that UK creative talent is able to work freely within the EU

4) The government should act to ensure UK creative agencies have flexible access to European and international freelance workers.


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