LONDON – British musicians are demanding that the UK government faces the music after new post-Brexit regulations failed to consider their unique work lives and left them in the lurch.
Nearly 260,000 people — including U.K. artists Laura Marling, Louis Tomlinson and Biffy Clyro — have signed a petition for the British government to negotiate a review of the rules for musicians touring in the 27-nation European Union.
After Brexit U.K. citizens can no longer live and work freely in the bloc. Tourists don't need visas for stays of up to 90 days, and some short business trips are allowed under a new deal between Britain and the EU. But artists and musicians have not been included — incurring extra costs and hassle — and both sides disagree about who is to blame.
British musicians wanting to perform in Europe face a range of hurdles, including the extra cost of buying a customs document — known as a carnet — for the movement of equipment, and the possibility of additional work permits required in certain countries.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman, Jamie Davies said London had sought reciprocal rights for musicians and support staff to tour without work permits, “but that offer was rejected by the EU.”
“We will continue to make the case for an arrangement that makes touring easier, and our door remains open to the EU if they change their mind,” Davies said.
Even though the pandemic is currently preventing tours, the ability to plan now is vital, said Paul Pacifico, CEO of the Association of Independent Music, which represents the U.K.’s independent music sector.
Red tape around sales tax alone will force smaller outfits to face a mountain of additional bureaucracy and expense, Pacifico said.