DCMS Minister Baronness Barran dug the Government heels in, insisted many times the fault is with the EU not the UK, insisted also that UK is doing its best to fix the problem, provide clear information for artists, smooth the way, “the door is open” and also, when The Excluded were raised, insisted twice that individual musicians have been looked after by the UK Government through the crisis.

Rough notes on the full debate

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara: Problem stems from Red lines between DCMS and Home office.  Will the minister place all copies of UK/EU correspondence in the library?  Will they fix the problem, acknowledge tht the short term visitor system is not the solution, we need a 90 day plan?  What was the original proposal, will she set out what it is now?

Baroness Barran (minister) The red lines were with EU and UK not the Ministries.  Digital & Culture minister Caroline Dineage committed to sorting it out.  We are consulting extensively with the sector what the sector needs to thrive once we leave the pandemic.

Lord McNally: That explanation does not fit in with  all the briefings about what really happened – which was the inflexibility of the UK Govt for fear of the ERG and Brexit zealots anxious to protect the purity of Brexit..  UK Govt has to go back to table.  Music should mobilise supporters in their millions, particularly the young who should be outraged. (!)

Minister: UK was not inflexible but tried to stand up for Britain’s brilliant cultural sectors, and to deliver what sector requested.  Perhaps blame lies elsewhere.

Baroness Bull – EU has agreements in place with 27 countries to allow 90 visa-free travel in a 180 day period and specifically includes ad hoc working; ad hoc does cover touring,  could the UK negotiate a similar deal?  Was  the UK Govt’s intention to make conditions worse for UK musicians than for those from Tonga, St Lucia or the Federated States of Micronesia?

Minister: Thinks the EU offer was not as Baroness Bull described.  We should not raise hopes, the sector says it wants clarity not recrimination.

Baroness Nicolson – does govt acknowledge music’s importance in recovering from the pandemic in terms of mental and physical health?  If so will minister persuade all departments to support music? UK music is one of our greatest assets.

Minister: Yes UK music one of our greatest success stories, generating nearly £6bn gva annually.  Have collaborated to set up the Thriving Communities Fund will help recovery.

Baroness Bakewell: Many musicians are freelancers, as such taxpayers who have fallen through the net.  Will the government at least explain why UK Govt can’t at least support them in this way?

Minster: Continuing to explore routes through.  Assures that direct funding has gone through ACE to freelancers & benevolent societies that support them.

Lord Vaizey: Understands free movement vs Musicians, no doubt there is blame on both sides. A practical suggestion: as it’s now the same for musicians travelling to EU or united states, could UK initiate and commit resources (officials and money) to create a one-stop shop for musicians to navigate the bureaucracy in order to travel to Europe

Minister: Each member state has its own regulations.  Our ambition is clear.

Lord Wigley: This turns back clock 50 years, leaves musicians especially freelance soloists blocked from working in Europe unnecessarily. Is this not narrow minded  & shows how inward looking post-Brexit Britain is becoming?

Minister: UK did everything in its power, disappointed in EU not accepting nor proposing a tailored deal for musicians.

Baroness McIntosh of  Hudnall: Minister often says government committed to supporting musicians.  From personal experience they do not feel supported.  They feel shocked and Scared.  The EU trade deal harms their interest and they don’t understand why.  Meanwhile, will Minster confirm UK will now engage with EU and member states to ensure no more damage to musicians?

Minister: Culture Recovery Fund has already dispersed over £168mil to over 600 musical groups and venues.  Support for musicians is clear.  EU: Labour AND Tories voted for the deal that includes all this.  Govt offer still stands (door still open), and they are pursuing simplification and clarification.


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