Motion to Take Note
My Lords, the impact on the arts of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union will be dire. From every corner comes hard evidence that Brexit will do great damage, yet we are told that the referendum cannot be challenged. We are told that it was the will of the people—in my view, of crucially underinformed people. Even so, 48% were against the withdrawal, a minority far greater than those minorities that have altered our society for the better over the centuries in the matter, for instance, of the slave trade, the trade unions, women’s suffrage and much else. These original minorities became the lasting will of the people and reflected the best of us; the majority was originally mistaken.
A referendum is not a sacred document. We do not do that here. For centuries, millions of people in this country have fought to establish our democracy. One fundamental tenet of it is that a few years after we have elected people we can kick them out if we do not like their programme. Who said that in this country a referendum should become a God-given, unassailable document? We are better than that. It was conceived as a cynical short-term fix and executed with embarrassing ineptitude. Its begetter, David Cameron, instead of staying on to fight the day for remain, failed to fight for his belief and just scuttled off. He should not be forgiven. But why should we follow his pusillanimous example?
The creative sector employs more than 2 million people in this country, many of them in niche highly-skilled jobs. It contributed £91.8 billion to the UK economy in 2015-16 and showed an increase of twice that of the UK economy as a whole. Its growth has been uninterrupted since the end of World War II, but Brexit will reverse that growth.
I shall give a few instances of our strengths. The three most successful film brands in the world come from the work of British novelists: JK Rowling, Ian Fleming and Tolkein. Under Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh we challenged and, at times, overtook the great American musical. We are the only nation that has a regular showing at the Oscars apart from the Americans, and we alone take on the mighty American pop industry. The arts have proved the best engine to dynamise failing cities, rebuild communities and re-energise schools. They blaze British talent around the planet and are a major asset for the new Britain.
What is it about the destructiveness of those set in authority over us, starting perhaps with Henry VIII and Cromwell, who destroyed an enviable system of monasteries that nourished industry and cultivated the arts and education, as well as providing the spiritual guidance thought to be needed at the time? Every now and then since, our rulers swing another wrecking ball. Only a few decades ago, the north British powerhouse of manufacturing was allowed to fall away and then encouraged to destruction by the Conservatives, when other post-war north European countries were so successfully rebuilding their manufacturing base. Why did not we? Now they seem intent on doing the same with two of our greatest new intellectual and cultural success stories, science and the arts, both of which are severely threatened by Brexit.
We know the Brexiteers do not like experts, but here are some inescapable facts from an industry that is remarkably efficient and has gathered in outstanding talents from many new generations since 1945. Richard Corbett MEP has pointed out that only 2% of people in the music world thought Brexit would be good for the industry. Today our musicians travel freely; connections are essential in the global creative world. Post Brexit there will be no guarantee of free movement across Europe. In 2016 our orchestras made 96 visits to 26 different EU countries—impossible to imagine post Brexit.
The post-Brexit visa system will result in a situation that has been graphically described in a well-researched article by the composer Howard Goodall. His work takes him all over Europe at a day’s notice by means of a ticket from Heathrow. This will now take him weeks to organise, and that will deter many of those in this country from going to Europe by reason of expense. The reverse is also true. Musicians from the EU play a crucial role in the day-to-day make-up of UK orchestras and are often called on at a couple of weeks’ notice, which the new system will make impossible. Between 20% and 25% of musicians in some orchestras are from other countries in the EU. There are around 14,000 EU citizens in the UK music industry. Given the restrictions that will be put in place, the future of that proportion looks bleak, and import duties will have to be paid on every instrument. Imagine that, with the LSO going one way and the Berlin Philharmonic going another.
This is not just about great orchestras and conductors. School jazz bands and youth orchestras will be subject to restrictions and expense. Young musicians from Britain will no longer be able to participate in EU-wide schemes such as the European Youth Orchestra, which is moving from the UK to Italy as a result of Brexit. That is a great shame for us and for them. Horace Trubridge of the Musicians’ Union has described the way that musicians hop regularly between Europe and Britain and said:
“If every musician has to get a visa and carnet for every country they visit, it would make any work in Europe impossible to schedule ... My members are already moving to Europe because they worry about their future work”.
We are not just talking about classical music. Peter Gabriel has expressed his alarm after a number of international artists were unable to perform at the WOMAD world music festival after visa issues. Gabriel, who founded WOMAD, said:
“It is alarming that our UK festival would now have real problems bringing artists into this country … [many of whom] no longer want to come to the UK because of the difficulty, cost and delays with visas, along with the new fear that they will not be welcomed”.
This year marks the first time that artists declined invitations to perform at WOMAD.
This is echoed in Alan Bennett's new play “Allelujah!”. At the end of the play, a young Asian doctor decides against “joining us”. He says—this is a short extract, which he delivers in an impassioned way which I cannot replicate:
“Why, I ask myself, should I still want to join? What is there for me here? ... There is nobody to touch you, but who wants to anymore? Open your arms before it's too late”.
Open them to what another Northern artist, John Lennon, in his song “Imagine”, called “the brotherhood of man”, to which all artists instinctively belong, and need to be part of now as never before.
In an open letter to Theresa May published in the Observer a few days ago, Bob Geldof voiced the opinions of a vast range of people from the music world. He wrote:
“Imagine Britain without its music. If it’s hard for us, then it’s impossible for the rest of the world. In this one area, if nowhere else, Britain does still rule the waves. The airwaves, the cyberwaves, the soundwaves. It is of us. It is our culture. We dominate the market and our bands, singers, musicians, writers, producers and engineers work all over Europe and the world. In turn, Europe and the world come to us”.
Geldof’s characteristic authority and passion ought to be a red alert. Unlike those who talk about building bridges across the Irish Sea, he and his colleagues know that of which they speak.
I have more hard facts. In 2016, the Arts Council commissioned surveys from 992 arts organisations on the impact of Brexit on the arts: 73% said there would be a negative impact on bringing objects, exhibitions and artists into the UK; 73% said there would be a negative impact on cross-border projects with EU partners; and 70% said there would be a negative impact on future touring within the EU. These are the voices of committed, professional, often modestly rewarded people, a planet away from the wishful huffing and puffing of fact-free Brexiteers.
Dance will be heavily affected, too. Tamara Rojo, a prima ballerina and the artistic director of the English National Ballet, moved to the UK from Spain more than 20 years ago:
“Attracted by the growing diversity”,
she told me,
“of the dance that was being created in this country, the consequence of transparent and stable institutions here as well as the newly open borders that brought freedom of movement for individuals like me from Spain”.
The English National Ballet has dancers from 23 different EU countries and it thrives. She also said:
“On a personal note, I am for the first time considering leaving the UK, which has been my home for more than 20 years. As yet I do not know what my rights will be post-Brexit”.
This would be a terrible loss.
Then there is the question of copyright. Howard Goodall points out:
“European copyright laws have during my 40-year career as a professional composer been far more protective towards me and my fellow creators than our own UK government”.
He gives examples. The first wave of copyright piracy was in the day of cassette recorders in the 1980s, when the music industry losses to cassette copying were seismic. The EU backed a proposal that a small levy be placed on the sale of every blank cassette to remunerate composers and musicians. The Tory Government of the day refused to grant the levy. He continues:
“The EU also responded to creators’ requests for the granting of … rights to writers, composers and copyright holders, so that, in an era where media were increasingly being … re-distributed, the original makers of a work would have to be acknowledged”.
If the EU does not succeed in protecting copyright holders, then, as 3D printers become readily available, all copyright material will be rip-offable on the internet without consequence or remuneration. This will be a massive setback for our design and manufacturing industry.
Our theatre is currently the richest on many levels in the world. James Doeser wrote in the Stage:
“EU structural funds have helped build and rebuild the theatre infrastructure of the UK (Sage Gateshead, Liverpool Everyman) and Creative Europe has helped instigate—and lubricate—international collaborations across the continent”.
James Doeser is wholly pessimistic about the UK Government’s promise to fill those gaps.
Finally, there is the British videogame industry, which began with brilliant young individuals in back bedrooms and garages and has evolved into a thriving sector that employs over 12,000 full-time workers in more than 2,000 businesses. Games made in the UK are played around the world and sales are growing prodigiously. It is now a major talent pool for young people. More than 80% of videogame industry professionals supported remain in the referendum.
The disregard of the basic needs of the cultural economy is the canary whistling in the mine. The whistling means danger, not only for that industry but for so much that has helped reconstruct this country. After a century of devastations in war and peace, we have regrouped ourselves to seek out and find a European and world role dependent on the freedom and enterprise that people so evidently show in the arts. It has been something of a miracle, and that has happened inside the EU. To surrender these gains on the basis of a single referendum and condemn especially the younger people in this country to leave Britain or to restrict their imagination beggars belief. We face a certain prospect of closing down when we are so successfully opening up.
Brexit will be a bar to the future of the fastest-growing, most democratic sector in this country. It will be a clamp on the imagination and the freedoms that younger generations have found to surmount the decline and wreckage of the past.
The arts inside the EU promise ever-enriching landscapes. Outside will be a smaller and smaller patch of increasingly barren ground. What sort of a legacy is this for our generation to pass on? I beg to move.
My Lords, having listened with interest to the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, on Radio 4’s “In Our Time” this morning about Shakespeare, I am happy to hear from him again this afternoon on this important theme, and thank him for his comprehensive introduction to our debate. In saying that, I deplore the need to have such a debate as a very reluctant Brexiteer.
I am also sad that we cannot today hear a contribution from my noble friend Lord Lloyd-Webber, since he has followed the new system of retirement from active duty in the House of Lords—a system which I also deplore, as it puts pressure on people who can rarely attend the House of Lords because of their professional activities and makes them feel that they should retire. We are therefore robbed of their expertise. I take this opportunity to put on the record my thanks to my noble friend for all he did to contribute on issues relating to the arts and the theatre. I feel sure that, were he still here today, he would have added weight and insight to our arguments.
Nevertheless, today’s list of speakers demonstrates considerable and broad expertise, and I look forward in particular to hearing from one of our newest Members, the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, for reasons that will become obvious in my remarks.
It is well-known that our cultural and creative industries have grave concerns about the future ease of movement of talent and funding and about Britain’s reputation around the world in the context of Brexit. I am encouraged that the Government’s EU White Paper recognises the importance of mobility for professional performing artists and creatives, who make up our £92 billion a year creative industries, but I should like to bring focus to the dance sector in particular. I declare an interest as co-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dance.
The UK benefits enormously from the dance sector’s contribution. It is vibrant and diverse. It is a flagship UK creative industry. It boasts world-class companies, such as the Royal Ballet, Akram Khan Company, Hofesh Shechter Company, Rambert and many more, who bring a wide range of dance to audiences across the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. I believe that dance is at the heart of our UK creative industries and, as well as being a celebrated UK art form, has a unique and important role to play in education, health and well-being, community cohesion, technological advancement, social mobility and diversity. Most recent statistics show that the UK dance sector is made up of a 40,000-strong workforce employing not only dancers but artistic, administrative and technical support staff, as well as educators, musicians, health professionals and a wide supply chain of individuals and businesses supporting the sector.
According to a recent report published by the dance sector body One Dance UK that sets out the UK dance sector’s outlook on Brexit, if the right safeguards are not put in place after the UK leaves the EU, there will be a detrimental impact on the UK dance sector, including on dance artists, companies and the art form itself.
There is so much to say in a short time, but clearly visa requirements are key. There is a continued need for people working in dance to be able to move freely across Europe. Companies and goods also need that ability. Special consideration must also be given to the significant number of freelance dance artists.
A recent House of Lords EU Committee report, Brexit: Movement of People in the Cultural Sector, recommends that a multi-country, multi-entry, short-term “touring visa” for UK citizens, and a reciprocal commitment for EU citizens, could support touring when freedom of movement ends after Brexit. This would enable self-employed people in the cultural sector to travel for short-term visits between the UK and the EU, to tour and work on short-term contracts. I hope the Government are giving serious consideration to this recommendation.
Short-term touring is essential to the business model of many self-employed artists, and the EU 27 countries are their principal destinations. A visa system that permits short-term visits to multiple EU countries is widely supported by the cultural and creative industries. This system would ideally be a quick, easy and either no-cost or low-cost, long-duration, multiple-entry arrangement for creative and cultural workers in particular.
I also urge the Government to explore whether after Brexit they could extend certain existing arrangements for non-EU workers to EU citizens, such as the permitted paid engagement visas, which allow professionals to stay in the UK for up to one month, and the permit-free festival scheme, which allows artists to perform at certain UK festivals without a work permit.
An exemption for temporary import of cultural goods, theatrical effects and any related technical equipment needed for production would also help the sector. Professional equipment—as well as sets, costumes and so on—temporarily moving across borders must not be subject to burdensome documentation requirements and levies. More clarity is needed from the Government on these issues.
The UK must try, post Brexit, to maintain its participation in EU funding programmes such as Creative Europe. A commitment is also needed to increased investment in real terms in dance education now. A lack of clarity about the arrangements post Brexit is already having a direct impact on the ability and confidence of dance artists and major organisations to plan future work and productions, recruit and establish partnerships.
International cultural exchange is the lifeblood of our art forms. It fosters creativity and must be maintained to allow dance and the arts to flourish in the UK. I thank all those who have provided briefings and acknowledge the important work done by so many organisations, including, perhaps especially, the City of London. I urge the Government to take into consideration how we can ensure that our rich cultural sector continues to thrive after we leave the EU.
My Lords, it is a great pleasure to support my noble friend Lord Bragg. We are close to each other for many reasons: we are both grammar school boys from the county of Cumberland; and I have the great pleasure of representing on Cumbria County Council his hometown, Wigton, of which he is not just a distinguished son but already, in his lifetime, the patron saint. When my noble friend gets up to speak about something like this, I believe the nation will listen. Just as millions listen to his radio programmes every week, so too should the Government listen to what he has so ably set out as the threat to the cultural sector posed by Brexit. I will not pretend to be an expert on the cultural sector; I will try to talk about why I think the Government’s policy on Brexit has got us into the situation of threatening this vital sector.
We have heard a lot in recent weeks, with virtually nothing else in the media, about Mrs May’s commitment to her Chequers deal. It has some merits, but it has one huge defect: that it completely ignores the service sector of the economy. As my noble friend Lord Bragg has explained, the service sector is the most vibrant part of Britain. How can we cast aside this most vibrant part of Britain without thinking about its future at all? For manufacturers, yes, Europe is their home market. But for artists and people working in the cultural field, Europe is their home stage, their home gallery, their home concert hall. If we do not think in terms of being part of a Europe in which they can fulfil their professional lives, there will be a huge loss. I would say to anyone, including members of my own party in the other place, that if you think you are doing a good job of preventing a hard Brexit by supporting Mrs May’s Chequers deal, remember who you are forgetting—you are forgetting the large sector of the economy that is dependent on services.
My second point is that fundamental to the success of this sector is the thing most despised by many people about our membership of the European Union: the principle of freedom of movement. Surely it is time for all of us in leadership positions to start explaining to the British people why freedom of movement is not only a wonderful thing in itself, in the freedoms that it gives to people, but it is essential to their professional and artistic fulfilment. It is high time that we tried to change the debate about Brexit.
There will be a lot of talk—I am sure that we will hear this in the Minister’s response—about visas and how a visa regime can substitute for the absence of freedom of movement. I am a bit sceptical about whether that is so. An awful lot of people who work in the cultural sector would not qualify in terms of their salary for the kind of special treatment that the Government seem to envisage. This is a fundamental point. When you are young in the creative sector, you are not earning over £30,000 per year—you are probably not earning £20,000 per year—yet you need that ability to accept the job opportunity that comes up in Lyon at two days’ notice.
Let us hear from the Government how they propose to address this. My view is that there is no means of addressing it other than stopping the madness of Brexit. By stopping the madness of Brexit, we will not only strike a blow at the negative English nationalism that lies behind the leave vote—that is what a lot of it was: negative English nationalism. We will be striking a blow for the future of our country, for tolerance, diversity, being full participants in European culture; that is what, in the remaining weeks, we now have to do.
My Lords, I join in thanking the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, for introducing this debate. I was listening to “In Our Time” this morning, when he talked eruditely, as ever, about Shakespeare. It made me think of:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”,
and that is what I think about this debate. We live in a golden age of British art and British creativity but Brexit is lurking.
The creative industries, fed by the arts, are, as the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, said, a hugely important sector for the rest of the UK economy, but art has a function that goes beyond and is more important than the economic one. It stimulates our imagination and enables us to empathise. It promotes well-being and aids both physical and mental health. Arts and culture lead to urban regeneration, as I have seen first hand—here I have to declare an interest as a trustee of the Lowry in Salford. The creative industries, the arts and our cultural institutions are an essential part of promoting the UK around the world—a soft power. Therefore, supporting and protecting this vital, vibrant sector is of paramount importance, and our creative industries massively benefit from our membership of the EU.
All speakers so far have talked about the free movement of people and I shall continue to do so. The ability to work and travel across Europe without the need for visas has both facilitated and fuelled the exchange of culture, creativity and expertise, and it has generated commercial and great artistic opportunities. So why has the Prime Minister announced the abolition of Article 45, which grants freedom of movement to EU citizens? She has said vociferously that she wants to bring in a new immigration system that ends freedom of movement once and for all.
As the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, said, this weekend we heard an impassioned plea from musicians, led by Bob Geldof, who pointed out that this is an area where,
“Britain does still rule the waves”.
However, Brexit threatens this through its impact on access to talent, the ability to tour and copyright legislation, which my noble friend Lord Foster will talk about more. To quote a great friend and a great drummer, Robert Henrit, “It was something of a nightmare before we joined the EU. It was bliss after we joined. And I have a sneaking suspicion it will be much more of a nightmare after we leave”.
Returning to the subject of skills, the fact is that, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Liddle, mentioned, creative skills do not easily sit alongside the traditional qualifications that the Home Office uses to evaluate visa applications. Many creative jobs are for freelancers in SMEs, which do not have the resources and back-up of big businesses, which will be competing with them for visas, and that will happen not just in the world of music. According to a Screen Business report published yesterday, the tax breaks introduced by the coalition Government for film and high-end TV have led to a boom in the UK’s visual effects industry. This has created value in excess of £1 billion per year for the British economy—great news—yet it is a sector that is particularly reliant on the skills of EU workers. Around 40% of VFX professionals are from outside the UK. The UK’s film, TV, games and advertising sectors are also booming but, again, with this comes the need for certain skills, and yet again, as BECTU has pointed out, they are reliant on EU workers. Therefore, without the right deal on movement of talent and skills, the creative industries will face huge challenges. Can the Minister give an assurance that the Government understand this?
Then there is the matter of EU cultural and educational funding. To give some examples, £48 million of ERDF funding was invested in the Connecting Cumbria project, providing 12,000 SMEs with broadband access. Of the top 15 disciplines with the highest amount of funding from the EU, 13 are in the arts, humanities and social sciences. I could go on. It is essential that the Government either secure or replace the funding from such EU schemes if our creative industries are to continue to flourish post Brexit. Does the Minister not agree that the Government will need to negotiate an agreement with the EU that maintains participation in programmes including Creative Europe, Horizon 2020 and Erasmus? And does he not acknowledge the warning of the Creative Industries Federation that if this does not happen we will be looking at a bad situation?
Back in July, I asked a Question about country of origin—the principle by which a broadcaster licensed in one member state of the EU is permitted to broadcast into other member states. If we lose country of origin, the UK will lose its leadership position as a world-class international broadcaster and we will lose a considerable number of jobs. Can the Minister update us on what the Government are doing about this very serious matter?
According to the Evening Standard’s analysis of almost 150 polls, a majority of Britons now want the country to remain in the EU. That is not surprising considering the chaotic, incoherent place we find ourselves in and the daily revelations of what Brexit actually means, not least for the arts. I echo the noble Lord, Lord Bragg: the British people deserve a final say when and if a final deal emerges. We are a democracy. Our Governments call elections to test the will of the people but now we need a people’s vote on Brexit. It is the people, not the politicians, who deserve the final say.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, has put his finger on a vital issue—one that is causing wide concern in the arts world. The Government have repeatedly acknowledged the financial and social contribution that the creative industries play in our lives, and I am sure that the Minister will do so again today. This country has a huge amount to be proud of in the field of arts. However, as we prepare to exit the EU, that contribution is at risk. I do not think anybody is exaggerating when they mention with great passion their concerns. I will concentrate on details that affect my area of expertise—that is, music and music education, on which I hope the Government might be able to reassure us somewhat. To this end, I have canvassed various bodies for assistance and questions: the London Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Opera House, the Royal Academy of Music and UK Music. As we will hear this afternoon, there are many concerns, but I will narrow them down. The main thrust of what I have heard and continue to hear is to do with the limitation and difficulty of movement, and in many cases our exit from the EU only exacerbates existing problems.
The arts depend on a cultural exchange of ideas, physical presence, artistry and creativity—an intercourse of thought and technique, whether that technique be dancing or instrumental. Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, the principal of the Royal Academy of Music—my alma mater—was passionate in his concerns that there should be no single pedagogy but open thinking and dialogue. To that end, it is vital that he can attract an international range of collaborators. For example, one teacher comes from Paris every week for two or three days, and there are cultural exchange programmes for students and teachers with Vienna, Freiburg and Berlin. The UK offers considerable value for money to students whose input, both financial and creative, is part of the lifeblood of the institution. As I speak, the academy has more EU students than ever before.
The Royal Opera House—of which my noble friend Lady Bull has enormous experience, having graced both its stage and its administration—frequently has to find artists in Europe at very short notice to cover sudden illness. Sometimes these roles can be performed only by a handful of people throughout the world. To see them step in, as I have been privileged to do, and take over a role without even rehearsing with the orchestra—sometimes they arrive at lunchtime on the day of a performance and will be stepped through it by the assistant director—is to marvel at their sheer professionalism and dedication.
If, in common with the orchestras, a production or a concert is financially possible only because it is being seen or heard in London one evening and in Paris or Berlin the next day or the next week, then any hiatus in transport—not only for the artists but for all the instruments and, in the case of ballet or opera, the sets and props—can throw the whole endeavour. I gather there used to be a special office at the Home Office to help with visiting artists and their visas. Will the Minister kindly update us on the status of this office, since clearly there is going to be a real and valuable role for it in the coming months?
Stephen Maddock of the CBSO makes a further telling point, and one to which I can attest from my experience as artistic director of the Cheltenham Festival. Mr Maddock points out that many soloists and conductors come to this country at approximately half the fee that they command in parts of Europe. If they further have to negotiate complex visa and work documentation, there is a real risk they will say that it is simply not worth the candle. That would hugely impoverish our cultural landscape.
If you couple these concerns with the statistics published in the Guardian this week on the number of 15 and 16 year-old students taking arts exams falling to the lowest level in a decade—the noble Lord, Lord Black, will doubtless deal with this in his debate next Thursday on the state of music education in schools—it is small wonder that the arts world is in some despair. And I choose those words advisedly. Perhaps the Minister will be able to give all of us great cheer and show us that we are being unduly pessimistic. However, despite my great admiration for the noble Viscount and his evident fondness for the arts, I rather doubt it.
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, for the opportunity to consider the vital and pressing question of the impact that Brexit will have on the arts, in which we are internationally recognised as a world-class leader.
The arts can be misrepresented as an elitist and London-centric field. That view should neither pass unchallenged nor be allowed to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is a complex but demonstrable link between the arts and tourism, which in 2016 contributed £66 billion to the national economy. The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, ALVA, has noted that across the tourism industry there has already been a fall in the number of EU workers, resulting in staff shortages and the use of staff who lack essential skills. ALVA has called for tourism to be considered favourably by government in any arrangement that would allow certain industry sectors to have preferential access to EU labour markets.
This makes sense for an industry dependent on soft skills—people skills—to ensure the quality of service. But, in recognition of the vital contribution of the arts to tourism and the creative industries, I hope that the Government will also ensure that there is a similarly preferential provision for free movement for those who work in music, theatre and the visual arts—as many other speakers have already indicated—to ensure that the UK sustains its place as the leading cultural centre of Europe.
The complex economic link between tourism and the arts is exemplified by Glyndebourne, in East Sussex, in the diocese that I serve, with its famous summer festival and equally important touring opera programme. The potential loss of free movement is one of the greatest threats to its capacity to plan long term and to sustain its international status and attraction. Securing the best singers requires forward planning of three to four years. The uncertainty of a Brexit agreement, with the risk of additional costs in administration and the impact of a fall in the value of the pound, add significantly to the potential damage that Glyndebourne faces in its future planning—and it is not alone as an opera company in facing this. Equally, the same concerns have been expressed by Opera North, which, like Glyndebourne, is an important counterbalance to the concentration of artistic resources in London.
The inspiration to live and work as an artist on the international stage is often sparked in childhood. Schools that participate in the significant financial investments of, for example, our cathedrals and universities in the teaching and making of music are an important supplier of future artists. In the diverse musical life that Chichester Cathedral is presently able to sustain, we are aware of the cultural cross-pollination from which we benefit in the contribution of musicians from the EU and the formative experiences of choir tours in Europe, with the result that many of our musical ensembles are regarded as the best in the world. Restrictions due to additional costs and administration would threaten our capacity to attract and perform at the levels that we do, which would be weakened by the loss of such tours at an early and formative stage.
It is inevitable that we should express our concerns through reference to statistics and to arts administration and some other external things that shape the life of this sector. But the arts challenge us to be more intuitive and capable of naming a reality that is not a commodity. So I wish to quote an artist, Maciej Urbanek, who wrote to tell me what the impact has already been on him personally. He is from Poland, he grew up in a mix of cultural influences and places and he is now proud to be teaching photography at the Royal Academy Schools here in London, where he graduated with the gold medal award in 2010. He describes the announcement of the referendum result as the immediate start of a new social order. In the RA Schools a colleague joked, “What are you still doing here?” He is an international artist—an emerging leader in his field. Like many of his peers in the creative industries, he senses:
“London is becoming gradually less important”;
Glasgow is becoming popular, and definitely Berlin. To counter this, Tim Marlow, the Artistic Director of the Royal Academy, identifies the need for help with visas and travel for students, and the need for ways of circumnavigating trade barriers and borders for works of art being lent and borrowed. He said:
“I’m not as optimistic as I have been for most of my working life”.
The details of legislative process must not prevent us attending also to the noise of social discourse and its capacity to damage the culture and environment in which we sustain those who bring artistic and intellectual enrichment to us at every level of our society. I hope that government will be attentive to combating that noise with the provision of clear and hopeful signs for the future for those who work in the arts. Commitment to free movement would be one of the signs of government attention. Commitment to the retention of artists’ resale rights, which are like musicians’ royalties, would be another sign. Commitment to continuing our full participation in Creative Europe, which funds so many vital arts projects, would be yet another sign.
To conclude, the leader of a major art fund wrote to me to say that creativity is generally stimulated by adversity, and protest is a powerful muse. In the face of the adversity that the arts world is facing, I hope that the Government will commit to the arts as a muse that can continue to inspire us as a nation to be more expansive, inclusive and creative—and more fully alive.
My Lords, whether it is the arts, film, television, music, radio, photography, crafts, advertising, which we use a lot in my own business, design, libraries—you name it—we in Britain are the best in the world and we are proud of it. Our cultural sector accounts for 2% of our jobs, and the value of our exports runs into billions—nearly £8 billion. Great thanks are due to the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, who is an expert in this field, for bringing up this debate at this time. The noble Lord, Lord Liddle, clearly said that this was about the service sector, which makes up well over three-quarters of our economy. Where leaving the European Union is concerned, the issues will be losing our funding, the free movement that many noble Lords have spoken about and of course the whole issue of copyright laws.
The funding is huge. Hundreds of millions of pounds are at stake. The Government have said that they will ensure that everything that is in place now will be honoured, but what about after that? Will we continue with the level of funding that we have from the European Union? The reason for the funding, from the European Union point of view, is to improve skills and address the shortages and, in particular, to help SMEs. Will the Government focus on helping SMEs in this sector in the future with the funding that they will require?
Of course, the House of Commons committee has written report after report saying, for example, that Creative Europe,
“has been a catalyst for unlocking further private investment”.
This is not just about government investment; it is a catalyst for private investment. Does the Minister agree that that is the case? There is also the European Capitals of Culture programme. Will the Minister tell us what will happen to that? We have participated in and won that. It has helped us. Will we carry on?
My friend Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of the Arts Council, has also asked whether we will continue to subscribe to Creative Europe, which noble Lords have mentioned, or leave the system. Where will the money come from to replace that? Will the Minister please answer those questions? Survey after survey of creative professionals show that 87% of respondents believe that the audio-visual, creative and cultural sectors would benefit from continued participation in Creative Europe. What does the Minister have to say to that?
What about EU workers working within this industry? In certain areas such as dance, some 58% are from the EU, with some 36% in music. Those are huge numbers. But it is also the other way round: our musicians and performers travel freely to Europe without any visa requirements. That is also something that the European Union Committee found.
What about securing social security co-ordination? What will happen to that? Here is a myth: we are told that there is unlimited free movement. But actually, will the Minister reassure the House that a 2004 regulation allows us to repatriate any European Union national who has come here under free movement who does not have a job after three years? Other European Union countries use that, but we are told that we have no control over our borders. The public have been conned—Macron was being kind when he said “lied to”.
On visas, the Government have now said that all people will be the same—European Union or not. So what will happen to all of these performers who have been coming here with free movement who will now have to apply for visas? What about the salary threshold of £30,000, only for the highly skilled? Who is highly skilled in this area? Who is low-skilled in this area? These are all brilliantly skilled individuals.
Then there are the billions that the arts bring to London, which is phenomenal. What has happened? The sad thing is that we have just lost our number one status as the world’s financial centre to New York once again, thanks to Brexit.
What about the arts students that come into our universities? I am chancellor of the University of Birmingham. Some 130,000 EU students come here and are allowed the loans and domestic fees that our students are allowed and are allowed to work freely after they graduate, which non-EU students are not allowed. What will happen to those 130,000, particularly in the creative industries, who are such a wonderful pipeline to increase our competitiveness?
An ICM survey by the Arts Council found that a large majority of stakeholders—some 93%—are concerned about the uncertainty and two-thirds report that they have undertaken at least one type of international activity. These are international organisations that host and send artists. Half of them report that artistic exchange is really important. The conclusion of the report is that,
“There is widespread negativity on the issue of Brexit”.
Artists will suffer. Ending free movement will result in a substantial loss of skills. One after the other, people like the composer Howard Goodall, have talked about this, and of course there is the famous letter from Bob Geldof. What about our art market? Brexit will threaten one of the best art markets in the world. Surveys of musicians show that Brexit has already had a negative impact on their work. Even so, our Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright, says that the creative industries account for 11% of total UK services exports. Wow, but what are we doing about that?
Bob Geldof went on to say that with Brexit we are exposing ourselves to the equivalent of a “cultural jail”. In his letter he talks about “serious madness”. There is talk about taking back control, but he speaks of taking back our future and ends his letter with:
“Let’s rock Europe and let’s save our music, our musicians, our music jobs and our songs. Let’s save our voice”.
I conclude by asking: why are we doing this to ourselves? We do not have to go through this madness. After two and a half years, Brexit is completely out of date. Some 1.5 million youngsters, including two of my children, who were not old enough to vote then are now old enough to do so. It is their future that is being taken away from them. Everything we look at, whether it is the arts industry or the Northern Ireland situation as discussed earlier, is a disaster. I am in business and I change for the better; I do not change to become worse off. We do not have to do this. The most democratic thing to do would be to save our creative industries as well as every aspect of our economy and our citizens by allowing people a say: deal, no deal or remain.
My Lords, my thanks go to the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, for securing this important debate on a crucial issue.
Two weeks ago, I was at a reception for the creative industries where representatives were going to voice their support for the people’s vote. Musicians, dancers, actors and artists queued up to express their concerns about what the future holds for them and their sectors. They had no doubt that damage will be inflicted by Brexit.
Of course, some of their concerns were economic, as we have heard already in the debate. There is no shortage of statistics to show how both individuals and sectors will suffer significant damage in the event of Brexit. However, their fears go much deeper. They believe that leaving the EU would lead to a narrowing of horizons, that we would become impoverished culturally and attitudinally as well as financially. The noble Lord, Lord Bilimoria, has just referred to the letter written by Bob Geldof. The way he put the issue in that letter is very frightening:
“We have decided to put ourselves inside a self-built cultural jail!”.
Why would any of us wish to do that?
The arts have thrived in the UK and they will survive this potentially huge political misjudgement, but they will flourish less and, as a result, the people of this country will flourish less. Stephen Deuchar, the director of the Art Fund, has said that that organisation is “deeply concerned” about the impact that leaving the EU will have on culture in the UK, in particular on museums and galleries.
It is a great sadness to me that, in August this year, my tenure at the British Museum came to an end—you are allowed only eight years—but my concerns for that institution and others like it remain deep. The British Museum employs people from all around the world. It is a museum of the world for the world, but after the Brexit vote those people encountered racism on the floor of the museum for the first time. I have spoken to people from all over the world working there who now feel less comfortable being in this country than they did and they are seriously considering whether they really want to be here, whether or not we are kind enough to allow them to stay.
It is inevitable that film, which is a major earner in this country, is going to suffer. Foreign studios spent £1.7 billion in the UK in 2017, double what they did four years ago. But if we leave the EU, we will lose valuable crew members and the industry may not be able to function as it does now, where people can just pop across the Channel and film on location. Indeed, some scenes for “The Crown” are being filmed in Europe. That will be much harder in the visa regime that may or may not come to bear.
The noble Lord, Lord Bragg, spoke eloquently of the effects of Brexit on the music industry, and Bob Geldof’s letter on that was very eloquent too. Award-winning composer Howard Goodall has been cited already this afternoon. He is very passionate about this. He said:
“There’s no easy way to say this but Brexit is a disaster for the Creative Industries in general and music in particular”.
The House of Lords EU Select Committee’s report on this issue concluded that being able to move between the UK and the EU was,
“integral to the business model of many cultural sector organisations”.
I hope my noble friend the Minister will be able to reassure us all that moves are afoot to secure the visas that will make life at least possible for those in the industry. The flexible visa that the committee recommended would be a start, but it would not deal with the narrowing horizons that the very prospect of Brexit is already imposing on this country.
A recent survey by the North East Culture Partnership found that, since the 2016 vote, European collaborations with their institutions in the north-east had fallen by 14%. That is before the EU funding that currently plays such an important part in this country has vanished. What is more, the regions will suffer far more than London. As a commercial centre for the arts, London will thrive, but it will be people in the regions—who, in many cases, felt most strongly about leaving the EU—who will reap the worst results, as they will in so many ways.
Already, there has been a big blow delivered to those cities such as Leeds, which had high hopes of being designated European Capital of Culture in 2023. Alas, Liverpool won that designation in 2008 and it made a huge difference to the city, not just financially but psychologically. Perfectly understandably, the EU has ruled that, in 2023, no British city will be eligible to be a European city, let alone European Capital of Culture. The most stringent Brexiteers will find that good news; I do not. I think it consigns us perilously close to the little England that I really do not want my children or grandchildren to grow up in.
As others have said, this is not what the majority of this country want, so I fully support the call for a people’s vote on the outcome of the Government’s negotiations. That seems to me to be the ultimate in democracy. We should be asked to give our informed consent. The people who supported remain at that reception two weeks ago are putting their money where their hearts are, and are sponsoring coaches to bring people to London cost-free for the march on 20 October. People including Natascha McElhone, Patrick Stewart, Ian McEwan and Steve Coogan are all sponsoring coaches—there are a few more available, should anybody here wish to do so. I applaud what they are doing. In conclusion, I ask everybody to be there on 20 October.
My Lords, my noble friend Lord Bragg has done so much to foster the nation’s culture and creativity. His speech today was another great contribution.
One in 11 jobs are now in the creative industries. Our creative industries have built their success on Britain’s place in the EU. According to Arts Council England, 70% of our arts and culture organisations work in the EU, and the EU makes up 60% of all international activity by the English arts sector. British arts and cultural organisations rely on European artistic talent not being constrained by national borders. As last week’s joint letter from British musicians to the Prime Minister said,
“it is the much-mocked freedom of movement that so effortlessly allows our troubadours, our cultural warriors, to wander Europe and speak of us to a world that cannot get enough of [them], and which generates countless billions”.
It is vital to appreciate that free and frictionless trade and movement throughout the EU are integral to not only the success but the very existence of much of the creative sector. The majority of arts companies are small organisations whose creative projects often last only a few weeks or months, so even small entry costs or administrative delays quickly become prohibitive. Touring Europe is an essential part of many British artists’ incomes made possible by freedom of movement, the customs union and the single market.
The UK urgently needs more, not fewer, creative workers from the EU. More than half of the creative firms in the UK already report serious skills shortages, with job titles including dancers, musicians, animators and graphic designers on the shortage occupation list. One in five of all British orchestra members are from the EU and the Association of British Orchestras is deeply alarmed by the Brexit talent drain. Mark Pemberton, director of the association, said:
“Musicians starting out in a career in an orchestra are not earning £30,000 a year. We are highly skilled but not highly paid. Sometimes, the people at the Home Office do not understand that. They assume that high skills equals high pay, and it does not in the creative sector”.
This is not just about EU artists coming here. The EU has informed us that it would impose reciprocal migration arrangements, so the Prime Minister’s proposed abolition of freedom of movement will restrict British artists’ ability to work and travel across Europe. The Incorporated Society of Musicians reports that its members are already losing work due to fears about the Government’s post-Brexit migration policy. The brilliant, award-winning composer, Howard Goodall, says that Brexit could be,
“a death-blow to our music industry, choking off the current ease with which creators and musicians tour, study, work and promote to the market where we sell 60% of all our music”.
Brexit will also entail a devastating loss of EU funding for British arts. Through the European structural and investment funds and Creative Europe, the EU has invested hugely in the UK’s arts and cultural institutions—a resource that will no longer be available. The noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, mentioned the European Capital of Culture programme which, as she rightly said, was transformational for Liverpool in 2008. A joint bid between Belfast and Londonderry/Derry was among the proposals for a British city to host the programme in 2023. I cannot think of a single place where the programme could have had a more beneficial impact than those two cities, but it will no longer be available.
As my noble friend Lord Bragg said, the EU’s powerful global position has also been critical to protecting the intellectual property of British artists. Much of that protection will fall away if we do not remain in the single market and continue to adopt EU policy in this area. There is a common theme to all this: Brexit is about shutting ourselves off from Europe, whilst our arts have thrived on the openness and internationalism that the EU enshrines.
There is one final, ironic twist. The anthem of Europe, much hated by Brexiters, is the “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s ninth symphony. That symphony was commissioned in 1822 by the Royal Philharmonic Society of London.
My Lords, I also want to talk mainly about the music sector, which is the one I know best. I thank the Association of British Orchestras and the Incorporated Society of Musicians for their briefings. I declare an interest as a current trustee and the original chair of trustees of the VCM Foundation at the Gresham Centre. We do both education and performance: two ensembles perform in Britain and, in the coming months, will perform in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, China, Japan and the United States.
Yesterday, I was talking to our chief executive and our head of education, who are currently in Paris leading a seminar for French teachers on musical education in schools. We are part of Britain’s soft power, which we risk losing. As part of our musical education, we bring choirs from different countries together. The last-but-one concert I went to at the Gresham Centre in Gresham Street had an American choir and the choir of the Shoreditch Academy, most of whose members have never been out of London, singing together. That is, again, part the way in which the arts can expand people’s sense of where they are. The Voces 8 Method—our method of teaching people in schools who have never come across music before—has now been published in English, French, German, Japanese and Mandarin. That is the sort of spread which, in all sorts of ways, we have with the arts in this country, and which is at stake.
The uncertainty is the biggest problem we face, and I ask the Minister a specific question: the White Paper, The Future Relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, published in July, says at paragraph 76:
“Given the depth of the relationship and close ties between the peoples of the UK and the EU, the UK will make a sovereign choice in a defined number of areas to seek reciprocal mobility arrangements with the EU”.
That was written nine months before we are due to leave, and 15 months after the referendum, and we are now less than six months from leaving. The idea that we are still “seeking” reciprocal mobility arrangements, when orchestras and other organisations have to plan three or four years ahead, is part of the reason for the frustration he is hearing all around the Chamber. Can he tell us what progress is being made on that, and when the Government may be able to tell the cultural sector what reciprocal arrangements they hope to achieve? Paragraph 79 of the White Paper says that,
“mobility is a key element of economic, cultural and scientific cooperation”.
Yes, it is—we need to make sure that people can plan ahead.
It is the incoherence of the Government that is most frustrating in all of this, not only in cultural but scientific co-operation, on which I am also doing some research at present. DCMS is, I am sure, thoroughly committed to this, but the Home Office, meanwhile, is blocking things. It is promoting a “hostile environment” for foreign visitors. The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, asked what has happened to the special office within the Home Office that used to deal with visas. I am sure it has been outsourced to a private provider by now, possibly one outside this country.
A number of noble Lords have already noted how much the costs of visas are already a deterrent. The Home Secretary suggesting that imposing non-EU rules and practice on European visitors and workers is where we go from here really does suggest that the largest single number of exchanges we have—with our geographical neighbours—will suffer from the same sorts of frustrations that Australians, Canadians, Americans and others have in pursuing cultural exchanges. We have heard already about repeated short-term visits in both directions, for opera singers and orchestral musicians, and how these often take place at short notice. We have also heard about health insurance, VAT, copyright and the like. It is the accumulation of obstacles that deters people from making the attempt to exchange. The atmosphere in which culture flourishes or fades is created by such obstacles, and that is what the Government are now doing.
The rhetoric of “global Britain”, with an underlying tone of closed borders and an inward-looking England, is part of what is happening. The most disgraceful thing the Prime Minister has said on all this, is to talk about the “people of nowhere” compared to the “people of somewhere”. If you are in the cultural field, you are unavoidably one of the “people of nowhere”—you travel, exchange and learn. UKIP and the Brexiteers love singing “Land of Hope and Glory” and “Jerusalem”. I did a quick Google to remind me of where Elgar looked for his musical experience, which of course was Germany. He wanted to study at the Leipzig conservatoire, but managed only a summer there and in Paris. Parry, much the same, thought that German music was the best. The “Enigma Variations” premiere was conducted by Hans Richter and Elgar’s “Violin Concerto” was commissioned by Fritz Kreisler. These exchanges are not new. The quality of British culture and music depends on a network. That sort of international network requires rules and openness. If global Britain and open Britain mean anything, this is one of the things that the Government must achieve and they must carry their cultural sector with them.
My Lords, there is a lot of artistic talent around this House. We are all grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, as one of our leading practitioners, for introducing this debate, which persuades me that the evidence is overwhelming that we will lose money from Brexit, especially from the arts.
Arts and culture are, as all of us know, critical to our society and our economy, and their contribution is inestimable. Yet they are viewed by some as somehow additional and expendable. They are therefore always vulnerable to sudden change, whether to loss of funding, local authority cuts, or to the menace of Brexit in all its forms. Most arts projects routinely have to struggle to find money these days both for capital and for running costs.
At this point I pay a very brief tribute to the city of Dundee and all the other backers of the new V&A museum there, including government. My wife and I visited it last month. It is spectacular architecture in a compelling setting on Tayside—indeed, a tribute to the city’s industrial past—and it is attracting thousands of visitors, showing that even during austerity there are people who can stand up for the arts and ensure that it receives proper funding.
On the crucial question of free movement, the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, and others have already mentioned the ICM poll that showed that nearly two out of three of our arts organisations currently work inside the European Union. Nearly half of those need regularly to move equipment and objects between the UK and the EU and they say that artists need to work at short notice in either jurisdiction. In the case of dance organisations, more than half employ EU nationals. Film companies expressed their concern this week. One company, Framestore, said that it would have to pay £3,000 per person, including legal fees, to obtain visas for its 300 European staff. Many speakers have already mentioned the position of the lower paid.
As the noble Baroness, Lady Hooper, said, our own home affairs sub-committee reported on the movement of artists post Brexit. I stress its repeated conclusion that the Government,
“pursue preferential arrangements for UK-EU migration”.
I am confident that this Minister appreciates this, but I am not sure that it fits into the PM’s latest announcements on migration or the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee. She well knows, however, that our culture is a European culture and most of us cannot conceive of a new offshore world that ignores this obvious fact.
The Arts Council has outlined the general problem of Brexit, referring to negative feelings and the economic uncertainty arising from the referendum, but we do not need to demonstrate the consequences of Brexit—some of us feel it in our bones. I have to express the emotional side as well. I was brought up to enjoy and experience literature, music, opera, theatre and dance originating in Europe. In my own career, after studying languages I trained with Piper Verlag in Munich and Gallimard. At the time of the first referendum I spent a year co-founding a journal called the European Gazette, which summarised the European press.
When I heard the second referendum result I immediately emailed friends in France, Belgium and Germany—most of them in fact involved in the arts—to apologise for the appalling so-called democratic decision that was actually advisory, not binding on government, and in any case was based on several false alarms about migration and the NHS. I was sorry that we had not remained as one of the EU’s architects to reshape the Union and that, worst of all, we were going to suffer considerable losses from our close association with fellow members. As far as my friends and I are concerned, we were part of Europe and our separation is retrograde. All these friends appreciate the value of European arts and culture and the huge advances made over centuries in common interpretation and exchange of experience. The Minister may say that these will remain, but he must accept that Brexit, if it ever comes to pass, could be an earthquake as far as funding and scholarship are concerned.
What will continue, of course, are the landmark occasions. I have been lucky, like many others, to hear Simon Rattle conducting Mahler in Berlin and to visit the great museums in Vienna and Amsterdam, and these things should not be affected. What may not survive is the experimentation, the work of younger artists, the regional theatres and other smaller-scale projects which have benefited from European exchanges or funding.
I will stray briefly into culture and heritage, because my wife was on the HLF for the south-west and I was once on the ITV “Telethon” in Plymouth. Through this, I came to understand the importance of local identity and pride in local buildings as well as arts projects in the West Country. There are some magnificent examples of regeneration through these funds and through EU regional funds. More recently, European regional funding has helped my son with the conversion of a 17th century coach-house as a venue for weddings and arts events. All these projects might not or would not have happened without the EU, yet they bring huge advantages to the national and local economy. There is little sign that the HLF or Historic England are going to make up the shortfall—rather the reverse. The Minister may argue that the UK will get its money back, but can he say today that more money will flow into the arts and culture? Of course he cannot, but I wish he would.
My Lords, I thank my noble friend for securing this debate. During this period of uncertainty it gives us a welcome opportunity to highlight just what is at stake for the arts in the UK. I want to talk about mobility and I make no apology for echoing others in the debate. We know from the many reports and witnesses to inquiries held since the referendum that it is essential for many cultural sector organisations and for self-employed artists that they are able to move between the UK and EU countries at short notice. As the British Council has pointed out, the cultural sector, along with education and science, is by nature international and mobile. Success depends significantly on the ease of movement of people and assets. Large-scale performing arts, such as opera and ballet, draw on global talent, much of it European, both long term and at very short notice.
Current arrangements enable EU citizens working in the arts to work in other EU countries without either having a visa or paying into two social security systems. EU artists do not need a visa to tour in the EU or for one-off or short-term engagements. Post Brexit, all that will change. Instead of free movement, the July White Paper outlines future mobility arrangements that allow for the movement of talented people and enable young people,
“to benefit from … cultural exchanges such as Erasmus+”.
It also proposes “cooperative accords” that would allow for,
“the UK’s participation in individual EU programmes”.
“The UK is open to exploring participation in”,
the excellent Creative Europe programme and the successor to Erasmus. What does that mean? We do not yet know: there are no details, nor are there commitments to participation beyond the transition period. This lack of commitment and clarity is deeply frustrating and damaging. We need assurances that the proposed new visa system will take the sector into account. Salaries, as required for tier 2 visas, are not an appropriate proxy, as others have said, for skill in the creative and cultural sector which, while it relies on highly talented individuals, often pays salaries less than the UK median.
Like other noble Lords, I am very concerned about this potential impact of Brexit on the movement of skilled but low-paid people in the creative industries. More broadly, I am concerned about the impact of that loss of movement on our own world-view. Isolationist tendencies in the UK can only have a negative impact on prospects for young people post Brexit. By way of illustration, I am grateful to the House of Lords Library for drawing to my attention a recent article in the Guardian by Franz Fischler, former European Union Commissioner and now president of the Alpbach forum, the European festival of ideas. This annual event brings together thousands of international experts and offers 700 scholarships for young people to take part. This year, UK applications plummeted; there were fewer than 10 British student participants. In voicing his dismay at this, Mr Fischler reminds us that while Europe is much more than the EU, the EU is the main institution to improve our social and cultural connections, as well as our economic ones.
What is at stake here is not just economics and making deals. As we know, some 73% of those under 24 are estimated to have voted to remain in the EU. As Fischler says, we owe them the best possible future, enriched by an understanding and connection with Europe. I believe this is best ensured by free and open access to our European neighbours. Funding those connections is crucial. The benefits of EU-funded programmes such as Erasmus, Horizon 2020 and Creative Europe must continue if we are to ensure that young people in the UK and other European countries have the opportunity for intercultural and international experience, whether through study, work, performances, research or language learning.
As the British Council says, such experiences develop skills, create opportunities, broaden horizons and build much-needed trust and understanding between nations. I was heartened by a set of recommendations from an event hosted by the European Cultural Foundation and the British Council in Brussels earlier this month. This brought together more than 60 experts from the cultural and creative sectors across Europe, and articulated their concerns about freedom of movement, funding and partnerships—all central to the future UK-EU relationship. They are asking for specific arrangements allowing artists, cultural and creative industries professionals, their teams, material and equipment to move freely across borders in the UK and the EU. If artists, musicians and dancers are restricted in their movement between the EU and the UK, we are all the poorer. Can the Minister give an assurance that the UK will support the principle of free movement for creative industries professionals?
Free movement is vital to the UK’s arts and cultural sector. It plays a great role in promoting the UK abroad—something that will arguably be even more important post Brexit. We have more active cultural partners than any other European country. We must keep touring, collaborating, exchanging and inviting.
Continuing UK participation in programmes such as Creative Europe and the EU cities of culture will help both the movement of creative professionals and students, and the reach of British culture into the world. Will the Minister commit to making it an objective of negotiations to secure the UK’s ongoing participation in Creative Europe? Does he agree that the arts can help articulate who we are as a country, both to ourselves and beyond, as we negotiate our new place in Europe?
My Lords, with so many critical issues still to resolve, some people might ask where the arts should come on the Brexit agenda. Let me address that head-on by clarifying what I mean when I talk about “the arts”. Yes, I mean our world-class institutions, dancers, musicians, writers and composers, about whom we have heard so much today, but I also mean the 90% of arts organisations that are micro-businesses, employing just a handful of staff. I mean an army of freelancers: 47% of creative workers are self-employed; for musicians, it is 90%. I mean the 79% of the UK adult population attending arts events, so far absent from today’s debate. I mean the 10 million people taking part in voluntary arts activity, from local orchestras to crafts. These everyday artists are a vital part of a cultural ecology that is mutually reinforcing. They are the context in which our national organisations, the world-famous artists, SMEs and freelancers flourish. That is what I understand by “the arts”. Taken together, it is a sector that leads the world in creativity, provides 2% of total UK jobs, and exports services worth £7.6 billion and goods worth £10.5 billion—a sector growing at double the rate of the rest of the UK economy.
This is a sector that matters, not just for the art itself and its impact on society, which I will come to later, but because it makes a major contribution to our nation’s success. It is a sector that has grave concerns about exiting the EU. I know from personal experience that artists and the art itself are enriched by international exchange. But reductions in freedom of movement, as we have heard, would also have practical and financial consequences. Applying the tier 2 salary threshold in this low-paid sector would present what the Creative Industries Federation calls an insurmountable challenge. Musicians are often booked at a few days’ notice, as we have heard. This is barely time to get to grips with the score, let alone get a visa. Visa arrangements would also need to protect the right of freelancers to undertake additional work between gigs. This is the work that pays their rent and puts food on the table.
The sector is also concerned, as we have heard, about the loss of EU funding, which benefited one in three artists in 2017. Significant cultural infrastructure has been built on EU money, not least the International Convention Centre in Birmingham—home last week to a rather unexpected dance debut. It is a painful truth that this loss would hit hardest the regions that voted leave. In the decade to 2017, the four areas with the highest proportion of leave voters received double the EU culture funding received by regions with the lowest leave vote. Redcar & Cleveland’s Hub and Beacon and Middlesbrough’s Boho Zone are not just spaces for creativity; they drive the local economy. It was particularly poignant last weekend to see The Giants return to Liverpool and to recall the massive social and economic impact on the city of an opportunity for which the UK is no longer eligible to apply.
Then there are the regulatory and legal issues. Howard Goodall, who has already been mentioned, has spoken eloquently about the challenges of composing in an international digital domain in which copyright piracy is endemic. Creatives have more chance of standing up to the illegal marketplace, not to mention the mighty global corporates, as part of the unified group that is 28 nations. Goodall points out that—as we have heard—what are currently creative sector issues are everyone’s future, since 3D printing makes it possible to copy other people’s intellectual property at will.
A badly managed exit from the EU risks long-term damage to one of the UK’s most consistent growth sectors and I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, on raising this important issue. But there is another issue, equally important, that we need to consider: not the impact on the arts, but the impact of the arts in a post-Brexit society. If we are to be the truly global Britain that has been promised, we will need new ways to connect and foster understanding between nations. The arts are a powerful ambassador for the UK, promoting a positive image that attracts tourism, inward investment and foreign students, but we will not be able to project a positive image globally until we have mended the roof here at home. Brexit is a story of division: a complex range of geographical, social and cultural differences; of inequalities; of communities that saw no benefits of globalisation flowing on to them.
Immediately after the referendum, the arts sector began to question what part might have been played by the disparity in public investment in culture between post-industrial cities, seaside towns and metropolitan centres. Analysis by ArtsProfessional confirmed this correlation between leave areas and reduced arts engagement. There is strong evidence that arts participation can catalyse the development of communities and encourage integration, cross-cultural understanding, empathy and tolerance, so the sector began to consider its own responsibilities to address the divisions that the 2016 vote exposed. Organisations such as Battersea Arts Centre are exploring their roles as community centres, using shared creative experiences to strengthen and upskill local communities. One hundred arts venues nationwide have come together to form a Co-Creating Change network, working with local communities to drive social change. Just last weekend, 384 Fun Palaces across the UK demonstrated how such arts venues can open up to put communities at the heart of culture. Organisations such as London’s Roundhouse have built twinning relationships to redress the imbalance in cultural provision across the country by partnering with Gloucester. These are just a few examples of the arts sector taking action to address continuing community concerns about unity, civic life and inequality.
I said at the start that in my definition, it is the interconnected ecology of institutions, SMEs, freelancers and everyday participants that constitutes the arts in the UK. If this ecology is nurtured, the arts will continue to contribute to our global reputation, to economic success, to equalising opportunities and to the cohesion of our communities. Damage one part of the ecology and the rest will suffer—and, post-Brexit, I truly believe that we are going to need the arts more than ever before.
My Lords, when I first saw the announcement for this debate, I asked myself what it was about. Was it about revisiting the controversy about Brexit or no Brexit? There is a danger of doing that, but the decision has been taken: the country wants to get out of the European Union. Therefore, any attempt by us to point out what damage getting out will cause to our arts will not influence that debate because it has already been settled.
This debate is important, however, because it can influence another issue: the terms on which we get out. We are therefore debating not whether to get out of the European Union but the benchmarks in the field of art which the negotiators in the European Union should bear in mind. When the deal finally comes to Parliament—as I hope it will—Parliament should have criteria on which to decide whether to accept the deal. Here, we are laying down some criteria by which it can decide whether to accept the deal. It is in that spirit that I want to approach this question: it is not about getting out or not getting out, because that is settled.
Membership of the European Union can be discussed at four levels. The first is purely economic: what benefits and harms does it have? The second is political and is about how membership has prevented wars and the climate it has created. The third level is historical: what stage does it represent in the history of our country and our global impact? The fourth is cultural: how has it and will it influence our cultural life?
I thank my noble friend Lord Bragg for bringing this subject to our attention and introducing it with his characteristic brilliance. His introduction of the debate was outstanding. I shall simply lay down the benchmarks that indicate why, whatever form our exit takes, certain criteria should never be violated. Art does not develop in the abstract; it requires certain conditions in which to develop. Among those conditions, three are extremely important. The first is imagination, as that is what art ultimately is. The second is the market, because an artist does not live by art alone any more than man lives by bread alone—he has to have a market where his product is valued. The third is resources; without resources, a man is absolutely helpless. These are the three preconditions for the development of art. Does our membership of the European Union meet those conditions? Yes. Does our getting out frustrate those conditions? Yes. I therefore want to indicate briefly how our departure from the European Union could have a damaging effect.
I shall talk first about imagination. Imagination requires diversity. It requires exposure to something new: a new idea which an artist can play around with to create a fusion of sensibility. For that kind of imagination to develop, it requires constant contact and diversity, and collaborative work with other people. Take David Bowie. As a young man, he spent three wonderful years in Berlin. They were inspirational, formative years for him, and he came back and produced exciting albums, including “Heroes”. That is what imagination can do. That could be frustrated, because once we are out of the European Union, people will need a visa and travel will become costly. People will not be able to leave at short notice and all kinds of other obstacles will get in the way. Even if the Minister were to say that visa regulations will be waived and people will be free to go, it will not be constant contact. Each of us will be living in our own silo and therefore interactive contact will be missing.
Turning to resources, between 2007 and 2016 we received £234 million from the European structural and investment funds and £111.8 million from the transnational funds. It is unlikely that the British Government can take care of that. Even if they do so in the first year, can they continue to do so in years to come? Knowing the history of the Government—and even the history of my own party—I am not entirely sure that they will be very generous in funding the arts.
The EU has done a great deal of work in this area in providing resources. It has provided financial and technical assistance, developed networks and provided large audiences and a large market. The Creative Europe fund is particularly important and is crucial to securing additional investment. It has created transnational mobility and international access, and stimulated and strengthened the financial capacity of small and medium-sized industries. It has also helped museums and art galleries to share their skills, ideas and resources.
Europe remains the largest market for British film and music. We should also remember how, when the European Capital of Culture was Glasgow in 1990 and Liverpool in 2008, those cities enormously benefited. For us to cut ourselves off from the mainstream of Europe where we belong, and to hope that we could duplicate those benefits on our own, would be an absurd enterprise.
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, for introducing this important debate. My comments will focus on individual artists and performers.
The latest report by the Incorporated Society of Musicians, part of the FreeMoveCreate campaign, finds that more than one-third of musicians receive more than half their income from working in the EU. That is evidence of the strong relationship that British musicians have with the rest of Europe. Indeed, Europe accounts for 45% of the market for all the arts and creative industries. The same survey found that 39% of musicians travelled to the EU five times a year. It is clear from most of the briefings I have received in the last year that free movement within Europe is by far the most pressing concern for artists and those who work in the arts, followed by concerns over the movement of equipment such as musical instruments and scenery for theatre and dance, as my noble friend Lord Berkeley of Knighton has outlined.
If Brexit is to happen, it is essential that there are at the very least long-term visas of at least two years, preferably longer, covering multiple entries, as well as visa-free travel for artists who have to move quickly and at short notice. However, that would not cover those UK citizens who will be most affected by Brexit: the young, the unestablished, the unsalaried, and those curious and excited enough to explore their continent on an ad hoc basis to travel, work and study abroad. They are the true agents of cultural influence and exchange, because that is the time when this happens. Some of them may make significant contributions to the arts in future but will quite possibly never earn anything like £30,000 a year, which is—just to take an example—double the average wage for a graphic illustrator, a much-needed skill in the creative industries. And I am assuming here that there will be some kind of reciprocity in the arrangements.
Yesterday, The Stage reported BECTU as saying that the biggest effect on those coming the other way, into the UK, will be on front-of-house and backstage employees, who often use their income to support their own creative projects. That loss would be our loss—a loss to our culture of collaboration. Many arts organisations work on shoe-string budgets, so an additional immigration skills charge would be a killer for the arts. I read that the Secretary of State has called these measures too blunt an instrument. What is the present state of discussion between the DCMS and the Home Office on these proposals?
I come to a significant point that I have made before, but it is worth repeating. The work of the artist, in whatever medium, differs from conventional trade in one key respect: the artist himself or herself is an essential aspect of the product. It is all too easy to underestimate the importance of this in the digital age. Free movement is crucial and, it has to be said, this is true not just of the arts but of other service industries, which in total comprise 80% of the UK economy. At £92 billion, the creative industries are worth more than the car and aerospace industries put together. Yet all the emphasis in relation to Brexit by both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition has been on conventional goods and manufacturing. This is sticking our heads in the sand in a big way. It is impossible to see how the services sector can be protected and will grow if we do not remain, at the very least, part of the single market.
This Government and previous ones have supported the idea of ensuring that British enterprise can compete at the highest level anywhere in the world. However, we see already, before Brexit has even happened, impairment of these opportunities. The ISM survey I cited shows that UK musicians, 90% of whom are self-employed are, worryingly, already losing work in Europe, irrespective of their skills—work which, for many, cannot be replaced. All those in the creative industries whose main work is in Europe are rightfully fearful of the consequences of Brexit.
There are other concerns for creators, and I want to mention just a couple more. The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society highlights upcoming measures to protect authors, which are currently proposals within the draft directive on the digital single market. They are transparency, the right to information on the exploitation of work, and the so-called bestseller clause, the right to claim additional remuneration derived from exploitation of work when contractual remuneration is low. Considering the continuing fall in typical income for authors, these benefits will be extremely welcome. Do the Government intend in principle to implement these measures, whatever course we take in relation to the EU?
The Migration Advisory Committee’s final report on EEA migration in the UK, which made no mention of the arts or creative industries, stated that,
“people are more concerned with migration in general than the impact on their community”.
It also stated that,
“the proportion of people who like their neighbourhood is higher than 25 years ago”.
The fear of the other is always a fear in the abstract. Our country and our society has thrived on influence from the outside, on the exchange of ideas and on input from other cultures. This is the very pulse of the arts, which we are in danger of stopping. All of us now know much more about the EU and the complexity of our relationship with it than we did two years ago. The polls are clearly moving in a different direction. I support a people’s vote, which should be fairly worded and include an option to remain.
My Lords, I too congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, both on securing the debate and on an inspirational speech, and say how much I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Liddle, that the Government should listen to the concerns expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, and so widely during this excellent debate today.
When a shock comes, the ability to survive it depends on how strong something is. Brexit will undoubtedly be a significant shock to the arts in this country and to the creative industries underpinned by them. Sadly, the arts are now in an increasingly fragile state and are less well protected from the shock of Brexit than many of us would have hoped.
I was recently in Cuba, where I had the opportunity to experience some amazing music, dance and drama. Cuba has a wonderful and thriving cultural scene, which stems in part from the huge significance that arts and culture are given in the Cuban education system. In this country, the fragile state of our arts and culture stems from the gradual erosion of the importance that we give to the arts in our country. The figures are stark. Only a couple of days ago, the University of Sussex published a survey into the state of school music education which showed a significant drop in the number of music teachers in all schools where year 9 music is compulsory. It is not just in music. Fewer and fewer pupils are taking GCSEs in arts subjects. They now account for just one in 12 of all GCSEs taken, compared to about one in eight just five years ago. It is no wonder that we read headlines such as, “Collapse in GCSE arts subjects gathers pace”, and “Decline in creative subjects at GCSE prompts fears that arts industry could be damaged”. According to many, the cause of this decline has been the budget cuts and the introduction of the EBacc, which does not include any art or design subjects.
Yet the Government are in denial. Budget cuts are disputed. The Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, said recently that concerns that the EBacc policy is driving out the arts are “simply not true”. Does the Minister agree with his colleagues? Surely he cannot deny the evidence of teachers and head teachers up and down the land, who talk of steering pupils away from arts subjects to concentrate on EBacc subjects. In the light of clear evidence to the contrary, will the Minister also explain why, as reported in the Independent on 2 August this year, a DfE spokesman said that,
“the proportion of pupils taking arts subjects as GCSE has remained largely stable since 2010”.
This is simply not true; arts and culture are not in the strongest position to withstand the shock of Brexit. No wonder so few in the art world voted for it. As the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, pointed out, the impact is being felt before we have even exited. We have heard of the difficulties in attracting skilled workers into the creative industries, of creative organisations either moving or planning to move abroad and of UK participants being marginalised in European cultural projects.
The Brexit shock to the arts, as noble Lords have said, has many facets, from reputational to financial. On finance, Brexiteers make much of the money we pay to the EU, but very little of the money we get from the EU. Yes, the Government have promised a time-limited, so-called funding guarantee post Brexit but, rightly, noble Lords have asked a number of questions about that guarantee and we await with interest the Minister’s reply. In particular, we hope to hear whether the Government will push to ensure that we continue in projects such as Creative Europe and successor programmes. I will be particularly interested to hear about guarantees in relation to capital funding in the future. European structural and investment funds have, over the last 10 years, provided £234 million for capital works to the arts, museums and creative industries. What guarantees are there that similar capital funding will be available in the future?
Noble Lords have rightly raised concerns about potential restrictions to the free movement of people and of goods and equipment. Examples have ranged from the Association of British Orchestras fearing a need to increase its fees to perform in EU27 countries to the difficulty in attracting performers to UK festivals. As your Lordships’ EU Committee recognised earlier this year, the ability to move between UK and EU countries at short notice is,
“integral to the business model of many cultural sector organisations”.
The committee heard that European-wide tours would be impossible to schedule if visas were required for each individual country. It heard concerns about cross-border transportation of instruments, props, designs and works of art. It recognised that, for talented individuals coming to the UK, a visa system based on current models would restrict many from doing so because they simply cannot be paid at salaries that meet the current minimum levels.
I accept what the noble Baroness, Lady Hooper, called for—a reciprocal short-term touring visa—but I do not believe it is a real substitute for the benefits of free movement. I hope we will hear whether the Minister whether shares the concerns expressed about these issues in your Lordships’ House, and that we will hear a little about any plans to avoid the potential problems. Does he agree that, when people come to this country to work in the arts and cultural sector or in the creative industries, we benefit not only from their skills but from the different cultural background they often bring, which will enhance our own? As the chair of the Barbican Centre Trust has said:
“Arts should be without boundaries; they unite rather than divide”.
The issue of intellectual property rights has also been raised. The protection of IP is vital to support creators. For too long we have seen, for example, huge global companies not paying their fair share to UK musicians. The EU, through the new copyright directive, is tackling that situation; post Brexit, without the right deal, we will lose influence and participation in the digital single market as well as in collaborative intellectual property protection and, crucially, in enforcement, not least to tackle online infringement and counterfeit goods.
It is worth reminding ourselves that, although intellectual property is covered by World Intellectual Property Organization agreements, enforcement and licensing are not. So will the Minister explain how we will maintain current standards of IP protection, how we will continue EU co-operation on enforcement and how we will continue to play our part in the EU’s development of policy in that area?
The problems facing UK arts post Brexit are enormous. I fear that we may well have a very insular artistic period ahead—one dominated by the few who can afford to survive the shock, and probably one that is largely centred in London. I fear that our hugely successful creative industries will be unlikely to maintain their enviable world-beating status. Like the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, and so many others, I hope that there will be a chance for the country to think again.
I ignore noises off and promise that someone will be exiting chased by a bear shortly if he continues.
First, I express my gratitude, along with others, for the fact that my noble friend Lord Bragg has introduced this debate. Her Majesty the Queen has considered him worthy to be a Companion of Honour, but he is a companion of honour to all of us sitting here and, for those of us on this side of the House, a comrade in arms for the people’s education. We honour him for all that he has done, first, in promoting the arts and, secondly, in cultivating, over decades, a public who are more aware of the riches of the arts. His work is truly incalculable and no one deserves to introduce a debate or to be listened to more than him. So we start on a very good foot, although of course I commiserate with the Minister.
It was many months ago when Karen Bradley—three Secretaries of State ago—spoke of the fact that the Government were,
“looking carefully at the areas in which it is important that we continue membership”.—[Official Report, Commons, 14/9/17; col. 956.]
She was referring to the status of the arts post Brexit. However, the Select Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport reported that,
“Ms Bradley did not commit to continued membership of any particular programme or a timeframe for a decision”.
Have we not heard that again and again in one sector after another as we have looked at the thorny question of Brexit?
The committee also reported that in later correspondence the Secretary of State stated clearly that continued participation in Creative Europe would be subject to negotiation with the EU. The committee recommended that the Government,
“should commit to making it an objective of negotiations to secure the UK’s ongoing participation in Creative Europe”.
That was ever such a long time ago, and intricate and byzantine negotiations have taken place since. I would love to hear the Minister tell us that consideration of the status of the arts has been a significant feature of those negotiations, but perhaps if he is even now not at liberty to disclose the outcome of those deliberations, he might, with a nod or a wink or with smoke and mirrors, give us something to hang on to. We have heard the facts adduced eloquently by one speaker after another: that in this area the notice, obstacles and timetables that we are up against make it virtually impossible for us to think of an ongoing activity for most of the arts that we are all concerned with beyond the limits currently set. The Minister will no doubt tell us that we have lengthened the time within which contractual arrangements made this side of 29 March will be honoured on the other side of 29 March to one year.
But those are not the limits that are reasonable in the cases we are considering. It was the noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, who uttered the word that I certainly wanted to emphasise myself—“uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty”. There is nothing worse than uncertainty. Against that, I would draw attention to a briefing that many of us will have received from the Arts Council. In contrast with the Government, from the time the referendum took place, with a result that the arts world scarcely wanted to hear, it has begun to prepare responsibly for the new era that is now opening up.
There have been surveys: one almost immediately after the referendum; another in February 2017; another in February 2018. The findings of those surveys have been mentioned in various contributions to this debate. But this is an evidence-based, factual building of a case, done responsibly by those responsible for our arts sector. The Government, meanwhile, have dithered, fighting pillow fights in the dark with each other in dark rooms. It is simply not good enough. The well-peopled Benches opposite testify to the fact that they have all gone to the country, and are not here to discuss this vitally important subject. It is not my habit to repeat points already made—sitting where I do in some of these debates, all my best points have already been made—but I am going to repeat the four findings of the first survey on how Brexit will impact on the arts, because they all bear repetition and holding together in the sequence in which they appear in this report. Here they come: reductions to EU funding received by the sector; changes to ease of movement affecting international touring and booking international artists to perform in the UK; an increase in costs of and barriers to moving objects and instruments, and in international tours or museum lending due to changes in customs agreements; uncertainty around legal frameworks important to the creative sector, such as copyright, artist’s resale right, employment and taxation legislation.
I would add a fifth, because it has cropped up generally in the conversation—the plight of young and new entrants into the sphere of the arts, trying their equivalent of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe out on cosmopolitan markets and audiences. The thrill of testing an idea, of forging a team, of crossing a barrier and of meeting other cultural norms cannot be overestimated. There are all of those things, and then the other, most quoted document of them all—the letter by Sir Bob Geldof and his many companions. We have more than once heard about the “self-built cultural jail”. But Sir Bob Geldof’s letter makes several other points. For example,
“60% of all royalty revenue paid to the UK comes from within the EU”.
There are all kinds of consequences that are way beyond the mere immediate impact, and they affect the very well-being of the sector in general.
We must emphasise, of course, that it is not only Sir Simon Rattle, Howard Goodall and the higher, elitist end of the entertainment and artistic world that combined to write that letter. It was Sir Bob Geldof himself who represented quite a different part of the spectrum. As did Ed Sheeran—I can see noble Lords’ faces lighting up at the mere mention of his name. But also, what about Bok Bok? I mean, we are talking about the record label Night Slugs. The style of music that Bok Bok is interested in suggests to me the kind of negotiations that have been going on in Brussels—muscular grime with thick bass synthesis, rather than Bok Bok’s original synth bass. There is all kinds of derring-do under the cloud of darkness.
I wish that the Prime Minister had got on to the platform at the Conservative Party conference with one of Bok Bok’s tracks, “Your Charizmatic Self”, from a 2014 album; and she might have replied with a track from another album called “Get Me What You Want”. In all these ways we have the popular music end as well as the classical music end. We have music and art, and we have heard about dance. The case is undeniable, and I am truly astonished that we have to argue it again and again.
I will end with one little illustration from another moment in British history when there was a conflict with Europe. It was at the time when Queen Anne died and the Stuarts gave way to the Hanoverians. People on the Tory side then were of course Stuarts on the whole, and the Hanoverians came with new Whig Administrations, and for a while nobody quite knew where they were. Interestingly, the Stuarts went as refugees into EU France, and the Hanoverians came out of Germany to take our crown. What a European picture is this! I believe that Alexander Pope, whose writings I am particularly fond of and immersed in just at the moment, coined a blessing, with which I will leave your Lordships—and in view of my professional duties this comes with authority and standing. Listen to this blessing, which has been touched up just a little: “God bless Remain, our Nation’s best Defender, God bless—no harm in blessing—the Brexiteer Offender. Who’ll win the day, prosperity to bring? God bless us all!—that’s quite another thing.”
My Lords, I have blessings and Bok Bok ringing in my ears. However, contrary to the impression given by the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, I am very pleased to respond to this debate this afternoon on behalf of my noble friend Lord Ashton. I express my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, for initiating this important debate, and to all Peers who have contributed.
I will declare some interests. I was Minister for Intellectual Property at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills—as it was then called—between 2013 and 2014. I am a patron of Garsington Opera, the Buckinghamshire County Museum, the Museum of Brands, and the Scott Polar Research Institute.
I will start by delving into what we mean by the arts. The arts encompass so much of what enriches our lives: writing in prose and verse; all forms of music-making, from evensong to bagpipes; opera; ballet and other dance forms—as emphasised by my noble friend Lady Hooper; theatre; the visual arts; all the treasures in our museums, as raised by my noble friend Lady Wheatcroft; and archives and galleries. I could go on, and if I did, I would also include my own enthusiasms for Scottish reeling and the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan—although perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, has given a bit of a flavour of that this afternoon.
I am sure your Lordships will be aware that this is a propitious moment to be talking about the arts and our cultural relationships with Europe, as we are coming up to the 500th anniversary of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, Henry VIII’s great festival of cultural co-operation—perhaps putting to one side the jousting and wrestling—in 1520. It is perhaps a fitting subject for an episode of “In Our Time”. I will return to the important topic of festivals toward the end of my speech. But for now I hope I can be forgiven if I choose not to dwell on the subject of Henry VIII and our relationship with Europe. On Henry supposedly losing a wrestling match at that 1520 festival against the French King Francis I, the less said, the better.
The House will not be surprised when I say that the Government have a few pressing concerns, but it should be reassured that we appreciate the value of the arts and their importance to the UK. I say at the outset that I have listened very carefully, not only to the eloquent speech from the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, but to many impassioned speeches, as the subject relates to our departure from the EU.
The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester and the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, raised the point about uncertainty. Her Majesty’s Government recognise the difficulties that the uncertainty about the EU exit brings. We acknowledge the uncertainty. But, as has been said by many of my colleagues, the negotiations are progressing and we are confident of an agreement this autumn.
The arts sector is one of our greatest success stories, outstripping other sectors in the speed of its growth, while doing so much to enrich people’s lives up and down the country. The success of the arts in the UK is also demonstrated in the numbers. Here is a flavour. In 2017, there were 5.4 million jobs in DCMS sectors, accounting for 16.4% of all UK jobs—674,000 of those jobs were in the cultural sectors. The gross value added of the cultural sectors was £26.8 billion in 2016, an increase of over 25% from 2010. In 2016, the DCMS sectors accounted for service exports of over £46 billion. The cultural and creative sectors represent a good portion of this. Finally, these sectors are growing: the music, performing and visual arts sectors’ exports of services grew by over 200% between 2010 and 2016.
In addition to supporting growth in the UK, the arts sectors also play an important role in showing the world the very best of the UK and in strengthening our global relationships—a point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley of Knighton. The UK is currently ranked number one in the world for soft power according to Portland’s The Soft Power 30 index. There are many reasons for that, but the strength of our artists and our cultural institutions is at the heart of our global influence and our attraction to the rest of the world.
DCMS works closely with the Foreign Office, including its embassies and high commissions, the British Council, the Department for International Trade, including through its trade missions, and the Department for International Development to promote our artists and support cultural exports across Europe and the rest of the world. Let me reassure the House that this will continue during and beyond our exit from the EU. For example, forthcoming seasons of culture with Italy and France will illuminate the ongoing strength of our cultural co-operation across Europe, not to mention the future loan of the Bayeux Tapestry.
We also benefit hugely when the arts of Europe and the rest of the world visit us at home in the UK. Earlier this summer, the BBC Proms played host to the famous Berlin Philharmonic, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Right now, noble Lords can go and see extraordinary art from Oceania at the Royal Academy, which I must visit myself.
Our arts organisations also have an impressive global reach. The Royal Opera House, for example, tells us that 377,000 people attended screenings of its performances in 41 other countries in 2016-17. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre performed “Hamlet” in 197 countries between 2014 and 2016 well beyond Europe. Its tour included a performance for 3,000 people in front of Yucatán Cathedral in Mexico—a country with which the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, has some familiarity through her role as the Prime Minister’s trade envoy.
I now address our withdrawal from the EU because, although our arts sectors are working very effectively worldwide, we are very aware that their closest relationships are with Europe. Many points were made about that this afternoon. So it is only natural that businesses and organisations in the arts have expressed some concerns about the UK’s exit from the EU. Among them is the concern that it will hamper their ability both to access first-class talent from overseas and to nurture promising individuals here in the UK.
The training of musicians, dancers, and actors in the UK is among the best in the world. I spoke in May at the debate on the Skills for Theatre report produced by the Communications Committee, at which some of today’s speakers were present. On that occasion, we had a productive and lively discussion on apprenticeships. I mentioned that I would like to see the number of apprenticeships in the arts, media and publishing increase, so that we continue to nurture exceptional homegrown talent. That was why I was glad to hear the announcement earlier this month by the Secretary of State for Culture of a new scheme of youth performance partnerships. These will bring arts organisations and schools together to teach practical performance skills both on and off stage, including drama, dance, art, creative writing, lighting, sound and set design.
The noble Lord, Lord Liddle, spoke about talent. We also recognise that arts businesses and organisations benefit from being able to find talent and leadership from outside the UK—a reassurance to a question asked by the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter. We understand the particular issues for the arts. For example, I believe that salary alone is too blunt an instrument with which to assess skill level—a point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Adonis, and others. I would say that it is absolutely true that in this sector we need to be careful about making a link between salary level and skill set, and the Government are aware of that. I know also that the sector often needs to bring in performers at short notice to provide last-minute cover for illness or injury, another point which was raised. It is important to ensure that our short-term mobility arrangements allow this to continue.
The Prime Minister has been clear that, as we leave the EU, the free movement of people will end and a new skills-based immigration system will be introduced. We will look for talent across the globe, attracting the people with skills that we need, and we will continue to attract world-class performers in the arts. The Government will set out further details on this in the White Paper on the UK’s future immigration system later this autumn.
The noble Lord, Lord Liddle, talked about youth ability—extending on the subject of talent—and asked what the Government are going to do to support young people working in the arts. As we said in the White Paper, the UK proposes a UK-EU youth mobility scheme to ensure that young people can continue to enjoy the social, cultural and educational benefits of living in each other’s countries. The UK already operates such schemes with countries like Australia and Canada which could serve as the model for an EU scheme.
The noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, asked about the current state of discussions between the DCMS and the Home Office on migration policy. I can reassure him that the DCMS is working closely with the Home Office to ensure that it understands the particular needs of the arts sector, including making the point about salaries, which I referred to earlier.
I know that movement is a recurrent theme in this debate; it has been raised by many noble Lords. Touring abroad also often includes moving large amounts of goods and equipment on a temporary basis. As the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, said, the arts sector has been telling us what challenges could be presented if new checks are introduced between the UK and the EU. Echoing a theme raised by the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley of Knighton, and my noble friend Lady Wheatcroft, one particularly compelling case is that of the London Symphony Orchestra. It reports that it may give a performance in London on a Sunday evening that is repeated in Paris on the Monday. It has expressed concerns, understandably so, that increased customs checks may make that impossible. I wish to reassure the House that we understand these concerns and our proposals for the UK’s withdrawal will avoid friction at the border.
As the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, said, along with the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester, the noble Baroness, Lady Warwick, and the noble Lord, Lord Foster, funding streams such as Creative Europe are another key area of interest for the arts sector. We recognise that European money is clearly an important component of the funding landscape for the arts. Ultimately the decision on which programmes are in the UK’s interests will be decided as part of the future partnership negotiations which, as I said earlier, are ongoing.
As a former intellectual property Minister, I would like to mention the concerns of the arts sector in this area. Points were raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, the noble Lord, Lord Foster, and the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty. I will write to the noble Earl with a response to the specific question he raised. The White Paper sets out some proposals for future co-operation with the EU on intellectual property as we and many EU member states are party to the main international treaties on copyright. Many of the protections that businesses currently benefit from will not be affected by our EU exit and will continue to operate as normal.
As my noble friend Lady Hooper said, the House will have been glad to see that the White Paper on the UK’s future relationship with the EU sets out our intention to negotiate a co-operative accord on culture and education. This proposed accord with the EU will be broader and more collaborative than anything that the EU has agreed before and I would encourage noble Lords to engage with the proposal to help us deliver it. The Secretary of State for culture has recently been in France and Germany to engage with his counterparts on the accord as proposed in the White Paper, and I was pleased to hear that the proposals have been warmly received. My noble friend also raised a point about visas and mobility and asked to what extent the Government are giving serious consideration to the idea of a short-term touring visa, which is a good point. I am pleased that she is encouraged by what she has read in the White Paper, but it is important that we look at this. It is certainly something that will continue to be considered as part of the ongoing negotiations. I am sure that some other ideas will also come up.
There have been a good number of questions raised. I am going to attempt to cover them all, in no particular order. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester asked whether the Government would commit to continuing the UK Artists’ Resale Right. It stems, as he will be aware, from the implementation of the EU directive on the resale right for the benefit of the author of a work of art. It will be retained in UK law through the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which means that UK artists and estates will continue to share its benefits.
The noble Lord, Lord Bilimoria, and my noble friend Lady Wheatcroft spoke about the European Capital of Culture. In essence, they both asked what will happen to our participation in this particular programme. I can say that we were disappointed by the decision to preclude UK cities from participating in the 2023 European Capitals of Culture programme. The UK wants a new positive and constructive relationship on culture with the EU. As we explore options for our continued partnership on mutually beneficial cultural programmes, we look forward to discussing the options around the UK’s future participation in the European Capitals of Culture competition.
My noble friend Lady Wheatcroft and the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, asked about the regions. Specific questions centred on whether the regions will suffer more than London. I would like to reassure them that the Government’s continued commitment to public arts funding means that the Arts Council can continue to support the many organisations outside London through a range of funding programmes. In fact, the Arts Council has already met its commitment to increase its lottery funding outside London to 75% by April 2018. To expand upon that particular answer for the benefit of the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, DCMS investment in the arts, which is distributed by the Arts Council, supports many major arts organisations that play a leading role in the arts across the country, not just in London. The Government have been clear that the right balance of funding between London and the regions continues to require attention. Perhaps I can reassure her that this is work in progress.
The noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, asked about broadcasting and country of origin rules. As set out in the White Paper, we cannot be part of the so-called AVMSD directive, which the noble Baroness will know, if we are not part of the EU. As a result, the country of origin principle, which enables audio-visual services to obtain a broadcasting licence in one member state for all their channels and services across Europe, will no longer apply. The UK is seeking the best possible arrangement for broadcasting that will work for UK businesses and audiences—so that is some reassurance, but not an answer, which I am sure she would be the first to tell me.
The noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, asked what progress was being made on mobility arrangements. The White Paper which he cited sets out our proposals for a framework on mobility, which are the basis of our negotiations with the EU. We will set out further detail on the UK’s future immigration system in due course. We have always been clear that we want decisions about the future immigration system to be based on evidence. The MAC’s report which he alluded to on EEA migration in the UK will inform those particular decisions.
I took note of the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Parekh, about the tone of this afternoon. I am the first to say that, if a question is raised about the EU, I am happy to try to answer it. The noble Lord, Lord Bragg, asked if the referendum was reversible and whether we would consider a second referendum. I would like to be clear, as my colleagues have been, that this Government will never accept a second referendum. The British people voted to leave the EU and we will leave on 29 March 2019.
I thank the noble Viscount for giving way. He said that the British people have voted to leave, but 96% of Creative Industries Federation members voted to remain. In the Northern Ireland debate earlier today, we heard that 56% of people there voted to remain. This is the tyranny of the majority.
I have to take note of the noble Lord’s points. He has been assiduous in making these points over not just weeks but many months. However, I can only take note, and I come back to where we stand. It is much more for my colleagues in DExEU to make these points, but that is how we sit. I am afraid that that is what I have to say to the noble Lord.
The Minister should know that it is a question of urgency. The briefings we have all had pointed out that arts organisations have to plan up to two or three years ahead. The Minister gave the answer that the Government are thinking about when they might be able to tell us something about what they hope to negotiate with the European Union at some point before the end of the implementation period. That is a very long period of uncertainty, which will damage our entire cultural sector. Can he not give us some sense of timing and urgency?
The noble Lord is pushing me. I realise that he raised this point in his speech, but I am not able to give a definitive timetable and I hope that he will respect that. In fact, if there was such a timetable, it would have been made by Ministers other than myself. I reassure him again that discussions are continuing intensely in the channels that he will know about. We await announcements.
I said that I would try to answer every question but the debate is moving into areas that have been covered before. I am keen to answer questions on the arts. I will read Hansard, go back over my noble friend’s question and write to her.
Let us move on to arts education. The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, asked about arts education at A-level being rather low. The Government have announced almost £500 million of funding between 2018 and 2020 for a diverse portfolio of music and arts education programmes. That includes £300 million for music education hubs and almost £120 million for the music and dance scheme.
A good number of questions were asked—another six, to be precise—and I would spend more time answering them if I could. I will write a full letter to all Peers who have taken part in the debate. However, I want to make some brief concluding remarks.
I assure the House that the arts play a vital role in demonstrating that we are, and will continue to be, open for business after Brexit. I want to return briefly to the topic of festivals, as I promised I would. The Prime Minister announced that 2022 will see a major festival to celebrate the UK’s unique strengths in creativity and innovation. The Government have committed £120 million to realising this. That festival will be a wonderful opportunity to show off the very best of our creativity and innovation in this country. Finally, I want to paint for the House a picture of a thriving arts sector, collaborating internationally here in the UK, in the EU and across the world. We will continue to make inspiring music, dance, theatre and visual art that contributes significantly to the UK’s material prosperity.
I thank your Lordships. I have been heavily warned that we must finish at 5.43 pm, so I will stick to that. I have very little to say because much of what I wanted to say has already been said extremely eloquently in a beautifully one-sided debate that leaves no room whatever for doubt. Does that matter? I think it does, because we matter as a House. As for the referendum being final and unassailable, nothing in a democracy cannot be reversed. I still have hope. I thank all noble Lords for taking part; it was terrific to listen to every point of view.
House adjourned at 5.39 pm.