We are working flat out with the industry to support creative workers to tour the EU, and we have a dedicated DCMS-led working group to achieve that. Our priorities are to provide clarity for artists on any rules, to work bilaterally with other EU nations to ensure that the new processes are as easy and straightforward as possible, and to try to secure transitional funding support.
We are extremely proud of our Stockton International Riverside Festival, which, as well as attracting street acts from across the world, commissions its own work to showcase what our own talented people can do. Now those same people face those barriers of fees and all other manner of problems—and they are still barriers today—if they want to take their work into the EU. That is due to the Government adopting that attitude of “it’ll be alright on the night”. Well, it will not. I heard what the Minister said, but what guarantees will she give artists from Stockton and the rest of the country that the Government will sort out the travel problems soon and that we can share our art and culture with the world?
As I have already explained, we have been working non-stop since the transition period finished to make sure that we were working through those issues. We have confirmed that portable musical instruments do not require carnets. We have confirmed that touring artists will not be double-charged social security contributions, and we have published new guidance for touring to other EU nations. Through bilateral discussions, which have been taking place at official level between me and the Secretary of State and our opposite numbers in the EU, we have established that at least 17 member states allow some visa or work permit-free touring activities, and we are continuing to do that work on a daily basis.