House of Lords describes Bectu evidence as ‘compelling and persuasive’ in letter to Lord Frost

19 October 2021

After hearing evidence from a panel of witnesses including Bectu National Secretary Noel McClean, the Chair of the House of Lords European Union Committee has written to Lord Frost outlining serious concerns about the obstacles now faced by touring professionals as a result of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Lord Kinnoull opens his letter stating how the European Affairs Committee took evidence from Bectu, LIVE Touring Group and the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) and describes the witness as “persuasive and compelling”.

Bectu has consistently said, and it has now been recognised by the Lords committee, that not only will the Brexit Deal severely damage a key and successful sector of the economy, but that it undermines the vision of ‘Global Britain’ that the Government have pushed in recent years. Restricting free movement will inevitably result in a decline in soft power, cultural exchange, create a skills shortage that will affect the quality of performances around the world and seriously hamper the UK’s world-renowned cultural identity.

The letter also states the Committee’s concern that despite consistent lobbying from industry leaders, unions, artists and crew, the Government is ‘failing to engage with the industry in a constructive way, continuing to pursue headlines rather than deal with the very serious issues accurately and substantially.’ The Government’s reluctance to listen to a sector that needs its help is putting the livelihoods of UK performers and touring crews at risk, leading to thousands of job losses, and generating a sense of confusion and insecurity across the industry.

Based on the evidence presented by Bectu, LIVE Touring Group and the ISM, the Committee presents fourteen questions to the Government regarding engaging with the sector, creating an EU-wide visa waiver scheme, restrictions on inbound EU artists and further clarification of transport restrictions. You can read the full letter and the fourteen questions here.

Bectu welcomes the support of the Committee on such an important matter and will continue to lobby for a reassessment of the EU Trade Deal that guarantees free movement for all touring professionals.