Melissa Bradshaw

ISM calls on government to cover additional costs for musicians in the event of a no-deal Brexit

10:49, 14th August 2019

Today (Wednesday 14 August) the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) calls on the government to cover any additional costs that musicians will incur when travelling to the EU27/EEA for work in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The ISM has calculated that musicians who travel to the EU27 and carry an instrument will incur additional costs of up to £1,000 or more in a no-deal scenario. Musicians will be required to purchase carnets – temporary international customs documents allowing instruments and sound equipment to move temporarily outside the UK – which cost in the region of £500 – £700 depending on the value of goods. This will be a significant extra cost to musicians touring the EU27, many of whom are freelance and on low earnings.

Other additional costs faced will include:

  • Private medical insurance due to the cessation of the EHIC
  • Musical instrument certificates, which are currently free and required for instruments containing endangered species according to CITES (including ivory, rosewood, tortoiseshell) but are set to incur a charge in 2020
  • Musicians who drive to the continent will need to purchase an International Driving Permit costing £5.50
  • If A1 forms become obsolete on 1 November, musicians must ensure that they are not liable for double deductions of social security payments in other EU countries
  • If visas are introduced to work in the EU27/EEA this is likely to cause considerable financial and administrative burden to musicians

Dr Jeremy Huw Williams, President of the ISM, said:

‘As revealed in the ISM’s report, Impact of Brexit on musicians, a large proportion of musicians’ earnings comes from working within the EU. Therefore in the event of a no-deal Brexit there would be significant uncertainty over the terms under which musicians would be subject to when travelling to the EU for work …. As detailed, there will be significant additional costs that musicians, who operate on slim margins, will not be able to afford. We call on the government to fully cover these costs in advance of 31 October, or at the very least provide a full compensation scheme to support musicians in the first three years following Brexit, at the very least.’

Violinist Tasmin Little OBE commented:

‘A musician’s life is based around travel therefore ease of movement is an essential requirement. Any country that values a rich cultural and musical life understands that diversity is only possible if musical communities remain international; and this can only happen if there is absolute freedom to travel, both with regard to planned tours as well as last-minute engagements. It is as essential for musicians from the UK to travel abroad with ease as it is for artists from outside the UK to enter the country to work.’


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