UK’s Creative Industries Unveil Report Warning of Brexit Dangers

Loss of EU funding and movement restrictions for European workers are key concerns.

Demonstrators on an anti-Brexit March for Europe hold EU flags as they march to Parliament Square in central London. Photo JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images.

The Creative Industries Federation (CIF) has published a report on the potential impact of Brexit on creative industries in the UK, highlighting the dangers ahead for businesses and workers if the government does not take action to prevent potential restrictions of movement and loss of EU funding.

The report has been presented to Karen Bradley, the secretary of state at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and was put together after extensive consultation with over 500 leading members of the creative sector in the UK. The membership of CIF spans all creative industries, including computer gaming, theater, fashion, and music.

Short term measures proposed in the report include the establishment of a government-industry partnership, set up to tackle trade barriers and facilitate access to markets outside the EU; and that the UK maintain negotiations on the Digital Single Market regarding copyright, media regulation, and data, as internet regulation is changing fast and the UK don’t want to be left behind in the debate.

Another key request is that the government confirm “as a matter of priority” that EU nationals currently working at companies in the UK be able to stay in the country.

The art world in London is highly international and those working at institutions such as Tate, the V&A, or the National Gallery have been left in limbo as to whether they will need to apply for working visas in the near future. Many people living in London, one of the most international cities in the world, are waiting to hear if and how their lives may change as a result of the vote.

There are fears within the creative industries that if they lose their European staff that they won’t be able to replace them, as applicants may not have the specific skills they need for their businesses.

The report also calls for a new look at education, apprenticeships, and incentives for training for freelancers. It also asks for government commitment on issues such as creative industry tax relief; continuing participation in the European “cities of culture” project, which attracts a huge amount of funding; working out precise monetary losses through loss of EU funding; and planning regarding visa programs.

No one knows what the loss of Europe-wide funding and investment will really mean for the UK, and for an international industry such as the arts it could bring on big changes. This industry report is begging the government to work out what this will mean in real terms.

The CIF board, which was on the “Remain” side of the campaign, includes Tate director Nicholas Serota and Tom Weldon, chief executive of the publishing house Penguin. They also have an advisory council that includes Bestival founder Rob da Bank, and Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council.

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