UK Music host expert panel on what Brexit could mean for music at Labour Party conference, Brighton

Chaired by Horace Trubridge, we discussed the potential threats that Brexit poses to the UK music industry.

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27/09/17: Visitors to the 2017 Labour Party conference packed out UK Music’s panel event on Tuesday to hear our panel of experts give their predictions about the potential impact Brexit on the industry.

The line-up of senior Labour parliamentarians and industry figures were led by Horace Trubridge, General Secretary of the Musicians' Union and included Sharon Hodgson MP – co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music, Kevin Brennan MP – Shadow Deputy DCMS Secretary and Stewart Wood – a Labour peer, a former Number Ten adviser on Culture, Media and Sport.

Horace challenged the panel to each think of one positive outcome of Brexit by the end of the discussion. Although suggestions were made, such as the creation of music tax credits and expanding trading opportunities, all panellists warned of the negative impact they fear Brexit will have on the £4.4 Billion industry.

The meeting heard a number of questions from the audience on topics including the impact of Brexit on music education, travelling with musical instruments, freedom of movement for artists and the potential impacts on diversity within music.

Co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music and Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West, Sharon Hodgson MP, discussed the potential skills shortages and freedom of movement that Brexit could bring, with a particular focus on music education cuts and what that will mean for the industry.

Sharon said: “10% of music industry workers are from EU countries and we need to ensure they are not bargaining chip”.

Stewart Wood echoed Sharon’s comments and warned of four key areas of threat for music after Brexit: The need for continuing existing EU legislation, the many impacts Brexit will have on touring, cost & exchange rates.

Stewart said: “Travel is crucial to music and we need certainty in regulations” and warned of the big impact Brexit will have on diversity and concentration of power in the industry.

Stewart added that once an initial Brexit deal over budget responsibilities is done there is strong case for the music industry to push for special circumstances to provide certainty and a comprehensive package of support.

Kevin Brennan MP, Shadow Deputy DCMS Secretary and Cardiff West MP discussed the impact of Brexit on music, before a series of questions from the audience.

He shared Stewart’s views on the effect Brexit may have on the international relationships UK artists have with overseas musicians. Kevin concluded: “Talent is everywhere. Opportunity isn't”.

Kevin called for a more joined up approach from the Government to ensure the music industry is fully integrated within decision making, expressing disappointment for the silo approach Ministers currently operate within.

The event was superbly chaired by The Musicians Union General Secretary, Horace Trubridge, who following our event went on to host an MU stall within the conference, supporting their petition for free movement of musicians post-Brexit.
CEO of UK Music Michael Dugher supported the campaign by signing their petition, which you can also do via this link.

The meeting followed an article by UK Music CEO Michael Dugher published in HuffPost calling for a transition deal to avoid a damaging cliff edge departure from the EU as a result of Brexit. Read the article here.

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