Brexit

From purely a health and safety perspective, Brexit did do the live music and events industry a huge amount of harm, especially to the European touring sector. I was never in favour of Brexit. Like most people in our industry, I voted remain. 

Until we actually left the EU most of the European regulations and Directives on health and safety had originated in the UK (not in Europe as many believe). The UK was looked upon as a respected leader in health and safety by the rest of Europe. 

Prior to Brexit our health and safety regulations were closely aligned with those of Europe, the idea was we could have a free exchange of work and labour as we had the same rules and regulations, that worked very well for us. 

I now understand that we can still adopt any new European Directives on health and safety and introduce them as our own and the Europeans can do the same with our regulations, that way we can still have some easy trading and tours taking place. 

Brexit certainly did do a huge amount of damage to our touring industry with the problems it caused to the transport sector (busses and trucking) that became not only a problem but an expensive problem, more time required to cross borders and clear customs, the need for carnets once again, visas and work permits. No more just jumping on a ferry in a splitter bus for small acts and then touring Europe with ease. We were promised by Government that it was all sorted and there would be no problems, they lied to us! But some good news has come in, UK splitter busses are now no longer illegal in Europe but the regulations in each European country will still apply. 

The other problem is known as Cabotage, a set of laws made by the Government of a country to prevent or limit the transport of goods or people within the country's borders by foreign vehicles, ships, or aircraft. In effect, this means that trucks on a European tour can only make three drops before they have to return to the UK with the driver. The equipment being carried is owned by UK sound and lighting companies etc. and is travelling under a Carnet, it is not delivered and left. Cabotage does not apply to splitter busses.  

It was clear that the EU intended to play hardball with the UK’s logistics industry. The EU’s stance was that not restricting UK haulage firms from roaming the EU picking up and dropping off loads would disadvantage EU hauliers.

The Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) confessed they’d failed totally to protect the UK touring arts industry.

The UK government argued for special dispensations for touring bands, orchestras, theatres and other arts groups and continued to tell the UK music industry that all would be well, with nothing to worry about.

However, it wasn’t until after the deal had been ratified by Parliament that the DCMS confessed they’d failed totally to protect the UK touring arts industry.

In a statement, the DCMS told the BBC, ‘The UK pushed for a more ambitious agreement with the EU on the temporary movement of business travellers which would have included musicians and others, but our proposals were rejected.’ The statement did not say for which other area the negotiators felt the touring music industry was worth sacrificing.

This news, on top of the onerous bureaucracy and expense of performing for money in the EU, is a hammer-blow for a vital UK industry, and exposes the lie behind the Johnson government’s promise of ‘friction-free movement for British creative artists and Johnson’s claim that, ‘The deal is fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK.’