Question for Short Debate
My Lords, I am grateful for this opportunity to raise the concerns of creative professionals on touring and working in Europe. I thank the Government for extending this debate to an hour and a half. I am grateful for the briefings from the Incorporated Society of Musicians, UK Music, Carry on Touring, LIVE, the Association of British Orchestras, T&S Immigration Services, the Contemporary Visual Arts Network and the House of Lords Library. I am pleased that we will have contributions to this debate from across the Committee.
In practical terms, as the Incorporated Society of Musicians and others have been at pains to point out, this is, above all, about trade. As such, it is something we should all be concerned with. In pre-pandemic 2019, music alone was worth £5.8 billion, almost five times as much as the fishing industry at £1.4 billion—which is also, one has to say, now sadly suffering the effects of Brexit. Live music is a key aspect of music, making bands’ reputations abroad and stimulating sales. According to the Featured Artists Coalition, in 2019 UK acts played four times as many gigs in the EU as in the US.
It is great to have live music and the arts more generally back and largely up and running on our own shores, with Glastonbury, the Stones, Adele, the Proms this month and much more to look forward to. While I suspect that most of the focus today will be on music, concerns about working in Europe are being felt across the creative industries. I will touch on the visual arts, which is my own background. I ask therefore that the Minister looks carefully at the new Arts Council-funded report, International Connections, produced by a-n and the Contemporary Visual Arts Network, which makes some important recommendations. I ask him to look carefully as well at the forthcoming All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music report, Let the Music Move, addressing similar concerns for the music industry. It would be excellent if the Minister could attend its launch in Parliament, on 19 July.
The trade and co-operation agreement was a no-deal for services, including the arts and creative industries. It has been imperative from the outset that the Government take mitigating action to drastically improve the situation for the arts in the face of this no deal, but the reality is that 18 months have passed and little of substance has been achieved.
Moreover, the Government have tried to paint a picture that is far better than reality. LIVE says it remains
“deeply concerned about the impact of Brexit on the UK’s live music industry.”
We are already now hearing the practical problems musicians are having, such as that of the band White Lies, which in April had to cancel a booking in Paris because its equipment was still waiting to clear customs in the UK. The Government must stop harking back to whatever they say was offered to the EU; that is history. Through whatever mechanisms are available, and I know that other noble Lords will talk about that in more detail, the UK needs to reapproach the EU to effect those changes that are urgently required. As TCA negotiator, the noble Lord, Lord Frost, himself has admitted that the Government have been too purist in their approach. We need a rethink and a reset. It is, after all, the future of our performing arts and more that is at stake.
Cabotage remains one of the most significant problems. The industry is grateful for the dual registration fix, but it is only a partial fix and does not address operation under an own account. Furthermore, it shifts this specialist haulage industry to Europe, which, as UK Music points out, will in the longer term cost this country business and jobs.
Most immediately, there remains a massive problem for those unable to use the dual registration services. The Association of British Orchestras says the situation is disastrous for orchestras, many of which run their own purpose-built vehicles. To give one example, the truck owned by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, costing £250,000, purchased partly through an Arts Council grant, will be a total waste of money if we do not negotiate a cabotage exemption with the EU. This is urgent. The ABO proposed that a solution for own-account operators might be presented at a forthcoming UK-EU Specialised Committee on Road Transport meeting. Will the Government act?
It is urgent too that we negotiate a visa waiver agreement, which a cabotage agreement could also be part of. Visa and work permit regulations within Europe are complicated. We have not agreed a single bilateral agreement with the EU, although two countries, Spain and Greece, have relaxed their visa rules for the UK, which I understand merely brings the UK in line with US acts who have toured those countries visa-free for decades.
ISM last year proposed a bespoke visa waiver agreement, which was shown to government officials. Legal advice confirmed that such a proposal was legally workable without being incompatible with the UK’s ability to take back control of its borders; none of this was questioned by the Government. But the Government, for reasons known only to themselves, have not followed up this constructive proposal, which is backed across the board by the music industry. Again, urgent action is required.
The problems presented by carnets and CITES are likewise problems of both cost and red tape. There are two groups who will be most affected here: on the one hand, orchestras, for which costs may spiral; on the other, those starting out, including bands and individual musicians, who will not have the resources of artists such as Elton John and Ed Sheeran to carry these extra significant burdens. Again, we have to negotiate with the EU a cultural exemption to the cost of ATA carnets and CITES as well. On the question of CITES, I ask the Minister what news he has over whether St Pancras will become a CITES designated point of exit. Eurostar is a hugely important route. Again, a sense of urgency is required.
ISM has also drawn my attention to a couple of recent developments around CITES that will emerge at CITES COP 19, which I hope the Minister is also aware of. ISM supports the new proposals from the US music industry to ease and provide exemptions from CITES permits. Will the Government support those proposals? Will the Government oppose the proposals from Brazil for a new designation of Pernambuco, the wood used in making bows, which, while well-intentioned, would significantly and detrimentally interfere in the legal trade in bows? This is important.
In the debate on dual registration in Grand Committee on 13 June, the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, rightly raised concerns about merchandise, the importance of which can be too easily underestimated. UK Music notes that the band Squid cancelled dates in Spain because of the costs both of carnets and of the movement of merchandise between the UK and the EU. Another band has stated that such costs, including the requirement to VAT register, meant that it missed out on £2,500-worth of merchandise on its last tour of France. These are significant losses. Will the Minister look at what is yet another make-or-break worry for musicians?
I will mention briefly traffic in the other direction. A concern that Steve Richard of T&S Immigration Services raises is that of the mishandling of incoming bands by UK border staff, including, for example, them being given wrong information about passport stamps and being sent through e-gates, making the tour technically illegal. These are common occurrences. There are now concerns about adequate staffing levels, but the better training of UK border and other airport staff to deal with musicians and crew is required.
The concerns of visual artists exhibiting work in Europe post Brexit has, up to now, been relatively overlooked, yet there exists the same confusion and paucity of information as afflicts others in the creative industries. Shipping and other costs, red tape and the sheer complexities now involved have already this year been responsible for artists cancelling their participation in exhibitions in Europe, as I heard this week at a Zoom event organised by Arts Infopoint. International Connections recommends better representation for the visual arts, including on the TCA domestic advisory group, of which LIVE and UK Music are already members. The report also recommends the appointment of a freelance commissioner, which would allow further representation for arts and creative workers.
I have not by any means covered all the many concerns that the music sector is raising, let alone those of other creative industries. But perhaps the most disturbing is the extent to which the pipeline of talent will be affected by the curtailment not just of opportunities for young artists touring but opportunities for jobs, such as for opera singers, dancers and many others who are now shut out of work in Europe because they do not possess an EU passport.
As the pandemic, we hope, recedes, we have reached a point at which we are taking greater stock of the effects of Brexit. Nevertheless, the good sense of what the industry is now asking for speaks for itself. What is needed now from the Government is a much greater urgency in addressing these concerns and ultimately finding solutions.
My Lords, I am delighted to follow the noble Earl. I am sure that I speak on behalf of everyone in the Moses Room when I thank him for presenting this case so clearly and firmly and for straying beyond music, because this is not a problem that is limited to music and musicians.
When I am travelling and I am asked what my nationality is, that is easy: it is British. What is my identity? It is English. But what is my civilization? It is European. We are all part of the great continent of Europe and nothing that was said or done on 23 June 2016 alters that fact. I am not going to make a long, rambling speech saying that we should put the clock back to 22 June, tempting as that would be, but we have to have a constructive and proper relationship with the other nations of the European Union and with those nations of Europe that are not members of the EU.
This is a challenge to the new Government. We have been going through a turbulent time in recent months and particularly in recent days. It is important that we grasp the opportunity of a new beginning and try very hard indeed to urge whoever has responsibility in the new Government to do so. I will be entirely delighted if the Minister for the Arts remains in his present position, but this morning when I asked another Minister in the Chamber about a caretaker Prime Minister and all the rest of it, I was told that that was above his pay grade. The fact is that we are moving towards a new Government. There is an opportunity to restore integrity in public life—that absolutely essential quality that has been more notable by its absence than its presence at the highest level in recent months and years.
I hope that we will try to have a constructive and productive relationship with our friends—and they should always be our friends—and allies in the European Union and the rest of the continent. We have had the most terrible reminder in the past five months of how fragile peace is and how important and fragile democracy is. Every day that the Ukraine war carries on should indicate to all of us what is at risk.
There is no more civilising influence than music. I have to confess that I am not a Glastonbury fan—it is not quite my scene—but I love listening to the Berlin Philharmonic. We have to realise that we are dealing with the international language here. Whatever the barrier between someone who speaks German and someone who does not, music transcends and overcomes it. It makes us feel at one.
I often think of those glorious days in the 18th century when Handel was resident in London—an internationalist if ever there was one—when Haydn came here, as one of the greatest musicians of his time, and when Mozart played here. They were inspired when they were here and we have had those who have gone elsewhere and continue to go. It is a source of grief to me to think that people such as my dear friend Tasmin Little, who has now put down her bow as a professional soloist, pleaded with me from 2016 onwards, saying, “This is going to be very damaging to those of us who are musicians and internationalists.”
Therefore, my message to the Minister today is to please do what you can to persuade your colleagues in government to grasp the opportunity that a new beginning brings. Talk, as equals and as friends, with those who control the levers of power throughout the European continent. There should be no impediment to a musician, orchestra or band going to play in any European country or coming from any European country to play here. I am grateful to the noble Earl and I hope that this can be part of a new beginning.
My Lords, I thank the noble Earl and congratulate him on securing the debate. It is very timely, for a reason that I will come on to. It is a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Cormack—I am almost tempted to say that it is always a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, because it has occurred once or twice so far. When I heard the reference to Handel, I thought, “Well, Handel did not need a visa to come here.”
I also ought to say what a pleasure it is to see a Minister still at the Dispatch Box. In fact, there are two Ministers here today. The subject of today’s debate is music and it is the second time in two hours—I will be honest about this—that the consequential damage of the vote in 2016 is being brought to your Lordships’ attention. Less than two hours ago, a Question was raised in the House about Horizon Europe, the co-operation between scientists here and around Europe, and the damage being done. Here we are talking about the damage to musicians of not being able to tour in Europe as easily as was the case. Whatever else noble Lords may feel, I do not think that anybody voted on 23 June 2016 to inflict the type of damage that is being inflicted on British science or music, which are being sacrificed on the altar of the Northern Ireland protocol. Of course, music in particular is truly international.
I am indebted to the ISM and the Library for their briefings, which all noble Lords will have received. I always find the Library briefings helpful. As the noble Earl said, we are talking about an industry that is worth nearly £6 billion in economic terms.
I should declare an interest, which is what propelled me to take part in today’s debate. I am grateful to the government side for increasing the length of the debate, because I saw that I would have only two minutes—well, my two minutes are already up. I am grateful for a little more time. The point I want to bring to your Lordships’ attention in this debate—I hope the Minister will feel able to say something about it in reply—is the hugely damaging effect on young musicians. The interest I have to declare is that I have two children. As they grew up, from the age of five they learned to play musical instruments—my daughter Emily the violin and my son Daniel the cello. I do not think they can remember life without playing musical instruments. In the course of growing up, they were members of colleges of music but also a youth orchestra, which I hope I am allowed to name: the Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra, conducted by Adrian Brown with such distinction for so many years. Growing up, they went on tours to Poland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Slovenia and Belgium. A lot of work goes into organising such tours. These are not professional orchestras, and people have to do it voluntarily. Money and time are spent going out to reconnoitre the best place to go. You can imagine all the work involved in enabling a youth orchestra to go on tour, including a huge great bus and space for the instruments.
I understand from one of our briefings that on one occasion two musicians were fined because there was no proof, said the French, that their instruments belonged to them, and they said that they might be importing their instruments into another country, possibly for resale. It is absurd. As I said, the plight of youth orchestras should be taken very seriously.
I hope I am allowed to say this, but the other day I saw the noble Baroness the Minister at the entrance. If I am right, she had her own child with her. I thought here is someone who, as he grows up—if it is he—
As she grows up, I hope she will learn to play music and get the benefit of that. There are incalculable benefits from going on tour in Europe.
My time is up now. Many of the other things I planned to say have already been covered, and no doubt will be by others, but this is about the future. I think the noble Earl referred to the pipeline of the future, and that is the point I want to bring to your Lordships’ attention today. It matters just as much for the future of music and musicians touring as for established orchestras today.
My Lords, I follow on from the noble Viscount, who talked about youth music. First, I declare my interest: I am the chair of trustees of the Parliament Choir, which will be touring in Europe in the next year, along with professional musicians and the outstanding Southbank Sinfonia, one of the primary postgraduate training orchestras in the world, based around the corner here in St John’s Smith Square. So there is an interest in this Parliament in getting this issue correct, and it is very important for us all.
I am grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, for introducing the debate. We heard from him that this is a major industry for this country, worth £5.8 billion and employing more than 200,000 people. It is worth more than fisheries and steel combined and now faces issues on the right to travel and work across the European Union. Of course, it is cabotage, work permits, carnets and whatever else that are the difficulties. These permit difficulties are the main source of problems, which are costly and lengthy and can differ from country to country. The Incorporated Society of Musicians has given an example of a five-piece act. The performers were unable to carry their instruments with them, and to play a concert in Greece would have meant an additional £700 per person to perform. To recover that from a performance is obviously a major deterrent to the music business.
I understand about the cabotage limits causing us problems and the dual registration of vehicles. If I were to put it to anybody looking at this from the outside, I would simply say that the new regulation, which is a UK regulation alone and therefore has no convergence with EU rules, is that a company or body can register a vehicle inside the European Union, house it, drive it over here, change the number plates, get the load on board, change the number plates back and drive it across to Europe. But for many people that is not how instruments are moved across borders. It impacts greatly on the source of income of the music industry.
This solution, as the Government have called it, is not really a solution. It is a sticking plaster that just helps to make life less difficult than it was before. For many, it is not a solution because, as the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, says, many orchestras own their vehicles, which are single vehicles, so the effect of having dual registration would be very costly indeed. The Government have also suggested splitting loads as another way. Again, as with the other, that is only a partial and temporary solution. It is interesting that the CEO of the Featured Artists Coalition has said that there has been a lack of engagement from government. The small steps toward solutions to address the problems are, in his words,
“driven by the industry, same for touring with splitter vans. The government keep claiming victories for things they’ve done no work on”.
I put it to the Minister today that there are solutions that are simple and shared by the creative arts community at large: for example, financial support, similar to that given to the fishery industry, would be needed to help the creative arts industry as a whole. If it is suitable for one, why not the other, which is a much bigger industry? Another is providing better negotiation and cohesion for the groups affected, working with the music industry, perhaps to provide a single help point for advice and guidance. But fundamentally, the UK needs to negotiate with the EU member states or the EU itself.
There is a mutual understanding of these issues—the Spanish example is one—but I understand that the issue facing the UK Government is that they have to build a better and more collaborative approach with our friends in the European Union. This is being hugely affected by the approach taken on the Northern Ireland protocol. The UK is blocked from joining the Horizon research programme, affecting many of our universities. I would hazard a guess that this, linked to an unwillingness from the UK to enter negotiations, is the fundamental reason for this blockage.
I know that the Minister cannot reply on behalf of the new world, but we do not know what the relationship with the EU will be in the new world. However, we have to rebuild our relationship and make it better, so that these problems will no longer apply to a very critical industry for the United Kingdom.
My Lords, I join other noble Lords in congratulating my noble friend Lord Clancarty, not just on securing today’s debate but on his energy and resilience in keeping these matters so firmly on the agenda. The nature of this QSD means that this debate is inevitably structured in the form of a theme and variations, which is probably fitting giving its relationship to music. My noble friend has comprehensively set out so many of the themes in his excellent speech; all we have to do is extemporise on one or more of them in our allotted time. But I will attempt to do a little more, suggesting ways in which the current dissonance might shift towards consonance and even resolution.
The extent of the challenges resulting from the omission of any provision for the touring of creative professionals and their support staff has been masked to date by the pandemic. But, as touring starts up again, we are seeing tangible evidence of impacts across four key areas.
First, the absence of a universal visa waiver agreement means that different EU members can treat UK artists and their staff in different ways, creating a complex and costly regulatory landscape, particularly in the case of multi-country tours. Secondly, the costs associated with an ATA carnet are proving to be prohibitive, especially for larger operations such as orchestras, whose instruments and equipment can be valued at millions of pounds. Thirdly, cabotage restrictions, as we have heard, permit only three internal movements in the EU for UK hauliers over 3.5 tonnes—disastrous when tours cover multiple countries over weeks and months. Dual registration does not provide a solution for ensembles with a single, purpose-built touring vehicle which cannot create the required EU base. Finally, CITES requirements for musical instruments containing protected materials can prevent last-minute bookings, which are often the things which provide vital career breaks.
The creative sector has been working hard to propose solutions to these challenges. It has put forward a cultural exemption, applied reciprocally, to cover cabotage, CITES and carnets, and suggested a bespoke visa-waiver agreement to allow visa-free working for 90 in 180 days across the whole of the EU and UK—something many countries already offer. Some small steps have been made—I am sure that the Minister will refer to them in winding—but progress has been lamentably slow over the two and half years since the TCA was signed.
Here is where I move from the minor to the major key. When it became clear that touring had indeed been omitted from the TCA, each side claimed that it had offered a deal on touring that the other had rejected. At this point in time, the important part of this sorry story is not that we failed to agree a deal or that we could not agree on who was to blame; it is that we wanted the same thing. If we could now agree to focus not on the past but on the future, that common aim—our shared ambition to enable creative touring—means that we could make rapid progress on resolving this issue, unlike some of the more contentious issues currently on the table. There is a structure in place through which such progress can be made: the Partnership Council has the power to adopt amendments to the TCA and so could achieve what the original negotiators, on both sides, say that they wanted but failed to agree.
The history of art is one of finding inspiration from each other’s cultures, of building ideas and of innovating practice, as artists travel from city to city, state to state. In Europe, this has been the case for hundreds of years and it has enriched our shared and distinctive heritages. Not only that, but when artists and musicians tour, they bring with them direct and indirect economic benefits. They contribute to healthy societies, they promote intercultural understanding and they foster positive relations between nations.
There is much to be gained for both sides in resolving the question of touring. Failure to find resolution will leave us all the poorer and it will be disproportionately hard on emerging and early-career artists, for whom touring is a vital element of professional development. We need to move now to avoid disadvantaging the next generation. I hope that the Minister will do everything that he can to persuade colleagues that working together with the EU to resolve this relatively uncontentious issue would demonstrate our shared desire to make a success of our future relationship with our closest neighbours, with whom we share such a rich and productive history of cultural exchange.
My Lords, like others, I thank the noble Earl for bringing us this debate. Noble Lords would expect a Bishop of Manchester to be passionate about music. Our vibrant popular and contemporary music scene is central to our local economy. The Royal Northern College of Music is one of our universities and we also have the leading music school for the north of England in Chetham’s, whose campus is next door to my cathedral and provides many of our choristers. We recently dedicated a brand-new, £2 million cathedral organ. It was the donation of a single—as it happens, Jewish—businessman, Sir Norman Stoller. Our music matters to us in Manchester. We invest in it and in the diverse young people developing their skills in it. It is a great force for levelling up.
However, the issues that the noble Earl has brought to our attention are affecting the Church considerably, including our cathedral choirs, parish churches and school choirs. I am not the first Bishop to raise these matters. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bristol and, before her, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester have been raising them since at least 2018. They were promised much, but we have seen little by way of change.
On behalf of the nation, the Church maintains a unique tradition of English choral music. We host hundreds of concerts, music, theatre and arts events in 16,000 parishes and 42 cathedrals. The Church is part of Britain’s shared cultural heritage and supports thousands of professional and amateur performers, who bring shared cultural experiences to local communities. It has been levelling up the arts for centuries and providing opportunities for hundreds of young artists in our schools, churches and cathedral choirs to gain musical training. These choirs and organists often tour across Europe in the summer. It plays a significant and vital role in fundraising and supports a continuation of the musical foundation within the Church and our ability to offer scholarships and opportunities to children and young people, not least in rural and deprived communities. My cathedral is at the heart of a very deprived part of Manchester.
In the Church, we want to continue to invest in supporting our nation’s young people and our cultural life. What will the Government do to back the work that we and others are doing to invest in that? I believe that the Government should see this as a key export opportunity and should use the soft power of the arts to build an economic return for the UK.
Music is not only an economic asset. I would argue that when our choirs tour Europe and beyond, they are singing not only psalms but British values. Diverse voices raised in harmony are a powerful symbol of what our nation, at its best, stands for. It has been a great privilege to lead your Lordships’ House each morning this week in reciting a psalm—how much more wonderful it would have been had we been able to sing them.
There is already significant demand in the EU and worldwide for our choirs and orchestras to perform, but red tape prevents professional and amateur musicians from travelling. We need the Government to open doors and simplify the visa processes, not just for the big players such as the LSO or the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra but for our smaller but talented professional and amateur choirs and orchestras, such as my Manchester Cathedral Choir and the world-famous choir of my old college, King’s, Cambridge—I had to get them in.
In the brief time left to me, I would like to ask the Minister three things. First, what steps are the Government taking to simplify the administration of the current visa system so that the complexity and volume of paperwork are no longer hampering groups travelling? Secondly, what support will the Government make available for the regional arts and culture sector to bounce back after Covid? Thirdly, will the Minister commit to meeting the Church to discuss the current challenges that we have and the opportunities that we can, with support, now grasp? I look forward to the response from the Minister and hope to speak further on this matter.
My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for securing this debate. His determination over a long 18 months to improve the ability of UK musicians to work and travel in the EU is much appreciated by all of us here today, on both sides. I also thank the Minister for his commitment to music and his belief in the value of music education and the importance that it plays in creating a pipeline of talent for the creative industries.
I declare my interest as chair of the advisory panel for the new national plan for music education, as a council member of the Arts Council and as governor of Shoreditch Park academy, which has a wonderful music tradition.
I am delighted that the talent pipeline has been raised today. That is what I would like to talk about. It gives me an opportunity to say a few words about the music education plan, which I hope some noble Lords will have read—for anyone who has not read it yet, I hope that they will now. It has just been published and it has been described as ambitious. Yes, it is. I think that we should be ambitious for our young people, particularly with regard to music education. We must ensure that all children, irrespective of background and circumstance, have access to high-quality music education.
We set out in detail in the plan how we can enable all pupils to learn to sing, to play an instrument, to create music together and to have the opportunity to progress their musical interests and talents, including professionally. Every parent must now be absolutely clear, from the plan, that music is a statutory subject in the curriculum and should be taught as robustly as any other subject. Music is not just a nice-to-have extra; it is an essential part of every child’s education.
Every head teacher in primary and secondary has the power to put music at the heart of their school. Thousands already do, working within their budgets and using, sometimes, the pupil premium. Every child should receive an absolute minimum of one hour per week of music education in the classroom. Every school should have a music lead or head of music. Every school should have a music development plan for every pupil and a progression plan for those children with passion and commitment to realise their potential.
There is the most wonderful music happening in many schools right across the country, in spite of all the difficulties, because some heads, governors and senior leadership teams recognise music’s value. Those in areas of disadvantage discover that music is transformative. The plan is called “The Power of Music to Change Lives” for a very good reason. In Bradford, for example, an area of great disadvantage, Feversham Primary Academy was in special measures some years ago. It is now rated outstanding, because music is at the heart of the school. At Dersingham VA Primary in Norfolk, where 25% of the children have special needs, nearly half of all pupils continue with instrumental tuition after whole-class ensemble teaching. At Churchfields Junior School in Redbridge, where 32 languages are spoken, 60% of pupils learn two musical instruments. At Green Dragon Primary School in Hounslow, where 79% are of ethnic-minority backgrounds, all pupils learn to play the violin or a brass or woodwind instrument. There is wonderful music out there and schools are making it happen. It has to start in school. Many of them use the pupil premium to help deliver this inclusive music education.
Music hubs across the country are there to support schools. They have now secured three-year funding, which is really important for them to form the necessary partnerships. They will help ensure that the plan is implemented. Inspirational hub leaders from Blackpool and Bradford to Hounslow and Hackney are doing magnificent work with schools, forming partnerships to ensure that every child can progress their interest and talents. It can be done. The money is there and so are the instruments, thanks to a new investment of £25 million from the Department for Education, for which we are most grateful. To help ensure that more children from disadvantaged backgrounds will have the opportunity that we all want them to have, there will be a new progression fund. This could be a game-changer and it is really important. I am delighted to take part in this debate and I look forward to hearing from the Minister.
My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for giving us the opportunity to debate this important subject. I am not in the habit of beating around the bush or avoiding the difficult topics, so I have no hesitation in speaking truth to power by saying that there is just one reason why British musicians, dancers and actors, our fashion industry, and all the people who support them, are condemned to climbing a new mountain of red tape, enduring months of stress and diverting earning time to chase around for paperwork, just for one gig in Europe. There is only one reason why all our creative arts industries are going to plunge from their genuinely world-leading position. There is only one reason why many of the millions of skilled workers who worked in the arts are finding other jobs and probably will not return to the industry. There is one reason why a whole generation of talented young performers and back-up staff will be lost for ever. There is one reason why the economy of this country is suffering yet another major blow through the self-inflicted damage being done to its second-largest sector. There is one reason why one of the main instruments of our country’s soft power—our highly respected creative arts—has been casually tossed away by this shambles of a Government.
That one reason is not inflation, although runaway costs are a serious problem for the arts, as they are in all sectors of the economy, with some haulage costs quadrupling; nor is it Covid, which devastated the performance industries for two years but which they have somehow survived through a combination of hardship, hard work, ingenuity and government support. The hard truth is that it all comes down to Brexit; to the complete omission of the creative industries from the trade and co-operation agreement and to this Government’s gleeful destruction of freedom of movement—a wonderful freedom for all our citizens, and which used to enable our performers to go and work in Europe without a hint of hassle.
The trite notion of taking back control is the only excuse the Government give for rejecting the EU’s generous offer of a cultural exemption from all the new impediments to our creative arts doing business in Europe. The Government would have us believe that allowing European performers to enter the UK for a few days or weeks to do some shows and then leave again presents a threat of untrammelled immigration. No doubt we will hear this nonsense again when the Minister responds, if he has not belatedly resigned before we finish this debate.
If I had time, I could provide countless examples of how the masses of new red tape that the Government have inflicted on individual musicians, bands and orchestras is suffocating the industry and its economically essential work in Europe. I will mention just one: a couple who have travelled to work in opera, in Denmark, every summer for the last 20 years. This year they only just managed to retain this vital engagement, but not without two months of huge stress and chasing around this country to get all the paperwork ducks in a row. They even produced a manual to help others thinking of trying to do the same thing, but it would probably deter people from even considering going through what must be heaven for officials but red tape hell for anyone trying to earn a living in the arts.
DCMS’s attempts to mitigate the many new and unnecessary obstacles to touring and working in Europe are having only a marginal effect. There is consensus in the industry that the only real solution is for the Government to negotiate the cultural exemptions on visas, work permits, cabotage, CITES and carnets that were on the table during the bungled negotiations on the trade deal and wantonly rejected by the Government. Whether this crumbling Administration, or whatever follows them, will have the gumption to recognise these massive problems and fix them remains to be seen. We will need to see an end to the current confrontational approach towards the EU exhibited by this Government.
My Lords, I also thank the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, particularly because he added the phrase “and other creative professionals”. He will know that this immediately gives me the opportunity to speak on a subject with which he has become familiar every time he introduces debates on this, namely the vital importance of the work of the snowsport community in the Alps. They are among the most creative of professionals.
As my noble friend Lord Cormack knows, gone are the days when you can win a snowboard title with a cork. Slopestyle, superpipe, big air and freestyle are all highly artistic forms of winter sport, and the professionals who work in this area need access to coach in the European Union. This debate gives me an excellent opportunity to seek reassurances from my noble friend the Minister about the work being undertaken to improve the ability of our snowsport professionals to work in the European Union. I do not expect answers to all the questions I will raise, but I ask the Minister to write to me after the debate with an update that I can pass on to everybody interested in the sector.
As my noble friend the Minister knows, the Government have been lobbying effectively, in partnership with the Alpine Sports Group, to ensure that support is provided to governing bodies, regulators, associations and professionals in this sector as they work through the process of securing qualification recognition in various EU member states. This time last year, representatives of the Alpine Sports Group met government representatives, as well as the FCDO attaché to the British embassy in Switzerland, to discuss how to minimise the negative consequences of Brexit on UK alpine sports. All these representatives have been focused on negotiations with the EU on the recognition of professional qualifications, the mobility of UK nationals within and across the EU, and the UK’s policy towards the EU on these topics.
I would be grateful if the Government could confirm that they have now formed a new recognition arrangements team to provide winter sport professionals with support as we continue to negotiate agreements with our counterparts in EU member states. The ASG was left in no doubt that it now has the support of the Government, for which I thank the Government, irrespective of whether they pursue bilateral agreements with the individual states or a master recognition agreement.
The situation is still exceptionally difficult. Working in France as a snowsports professional, whether for coaching club teams or athletes, or for instructing purposes, remains a tightly controlled activity. The UK’s exit from the EU means we no longer benefit from the right of establishment as snowsports instructors or coaches under the delegated Act. This very much leads to a case-by-case approach, depending on individual resorts and the attitude taken by the ski schools in them. That process is opaque to this day. There is a requirement for a carte pro, but how you get it differs in different parts of the Alps. We need to work with our friends in Europe to overcome the difficulties faced by many instructors and coaches seeking eligibility for a carte pro.
Even when you have a carte pro, there is uncertainty over the issuing of visas. If you are a British citizen, do not hold any other EU passports and have not benefited from the terms of the withdrawal agreement, you need a visa, but there is no certainty that British nationals will receive one. That again is a concern to people whose livelihoods are based, as winter sport professionals’ are, in the mountains.
Finally, I will give the example of working in Switzerland. Switzerland comes into this context because it has an arrangement with the European Union on the recognition of snowsports instructors. There are significant variations here between federal law and its regional application. Swiss cantons are allowed to interpret certain pieces of federal legislation, notably the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act and the legislation relating to admission, stay and the exercise of gainful activity, especially where local snowsports tuition and services are offered and the activity in question is a regulated profession. It varies substantially from one ski resort or one canton to another.
I conclude by at least welcoming one canton, Bern, which recently stated that
“we recognize the long tradition of snowsports in the United Kingdom and also understand the interest of the Swiss ski schools in securing access to ski instructors from the UK, who make a valuable contribution to the Alpine economy in particular in our Canton.”
I urge all noble Lords to go to resorts in Bern this winter.
My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for securing this important debate on this slow news day. My brother is a rock musician who has worked with some of the industry’s finest, including Joe Brown, Michael Schenker, and the great Russ Ballard and Bob Henrit, who were in Adam Faith’s Roulettes in the 1960s, before moving on to Unit 4+2, Argent and, in Bob’s case, The Kinks.
I asked Russell, one of our most successful songwriters, for his views on the new challenges of touring Europe. He said this:
“I worked extensively around Europe in the sixties and suffered all the bureaucracy of border controls. Carnets were the bane of our lives. These were lists of instruments in the truck, guitars, keyboards, drums, amplifiers and mixers which often had to be unloaded, taken out of their cases and checked against the carnet, to make sure these long-haired, unwashed, hooligan types were not smuggling alcohol, cigarettes or some other substance that the border officer could give in evidence for his promotion.
Obviously, every musician wasn’t unwashed or a hooligan, and every border guard wasn’t always looking for promotion. However, being stopped at borders was a pain. Unloading a lorry, sometimes in the snow, was time-consuming. When, in the early seventies, we became part of the EU, it was like discovering a new planet. It looked the same, with the same officials at the borders, but it was a new, wonderful experience, enabling us to get to gigs on time. We thought we’d died and gone to heaven.
Most MPs are too young to know what it was like back then and how things improved when we joined the European Union. I am planning a tour to Germany in October—but complying with the new regulations reminds me of the bad old days. It is manageable for people like me, but for performers on the margin of financial viability, Europe is now off limits.”
They are the words of Russ Ballard.
Failure to take concrete action will cede a live music market where UK artists have historically been dominant. UK Music’s latest report, This Is Music, showed that 2020 was very difficult for the music sector, and it is hardly any better now.
Before the pandemic, music was a driver of growth across the UK, being worth £5.8 billion in gross value added and employing almost 200,000 people. The GVA of the sector grew by 11% in 2019, employment grew by 3% and the value of exports by 9%, far above the economy as a whole. EU member states are a vital market for the UK’s £2.3 billion-worth of music exports, particularly live music, and the European Commission admitted in 2019 that UK acts dominate the European panorama.
Another problem, as we have heard, is merchandise. Many acts are finding that they are falling foul of customs rules when they attempt to sell merchandise in the EU alongside their live tours. Additional duties and the requirement to VAT register can obliterate margins for the sale of merchandise. Tankus the Henge has said that the additional costs meant it missed out on £2,500-worth of merchandise sales on its last tour of France. A range of artists, including The Anchoress, have stated that postage costs for small businesses like theirs looking to make individual item sales to EU-based customers have spiralled, often making individual sales uneconomic and hitting another revenue stream for emerging artists.
A carnet waiver agreement between the UK and the EU is absolutely vital. Can the Minister give us any hope on this? Let us not forget that this filipendulous Prime Minister—if he still is Prime Minister—promised to work flat out to resolve these issues, but nothing has improved. It was the usual bluster. The Government must sort out this European touring catastrophe so that our musicians can regain the ability to learn from musicians there, who can also learn from musicians here, enhancing all our lives.
My Lords, my noble friend Lord Clancarty is to be warmly congratulated on the skill, determination and perseverance with which he has brought to the Committee’s attention the damage that has been done to the work of Britain’s creative professionals by both Covid and, more durably, Brexit, as well as the inadequacy of the Government’s response so far on the latter point. This issue has also been taken up by your Lordships’ European Affairs Committee, of which I am a member, in a chain of correspondence which is perhaps best characterised as a dialogue of the deaf.
Britain’s creative professionals make up an important sector of our economy, as a number of noble Lords have emphasised, but they are much more than that. They make a major contribution to wider European culture, of which we remain a crucial part. That damage really matters and remedying it is really important.
The failure of the UK’s trade and co-operation agreement with the EU to make any, let alone adequate, provision for the detailed and complex work of these professionals was clear from the outset. The negotiator of that agreement, the noble Lord, Lord Frost, said in a lecture he gave in Zurich a couple of months ago that he believed the Government had been “too purist” in their approach to the sector and that they should now “try harder”. Does the Minister agree with that analysis and if not, why not?
I am sure that the Minister will tell us a good deal about the Government’s efforts to negotiate bilaterally over access for our creative professionals with the 27 members of the EU, all of which apart from four are, I believe, now covered. But these bilateral arrangements are far from all that is needed to facilitate their work, which often takes them to more than one member state and involves complex issues such as visa waivers, work permits, cabotage and carnets for the instruments carrying vehicles. All these things fall within the scope of the EU as such. What is needed, therefore, are not only those bilateral arrangements, welcome though they are, but action at EU level through the TCA and its pyramid of joint sectoral bodies. Can the Minister say what, if any, action has been and is being taken by the Government to make use of that joint machinery to raise, and if possible to remedy, the problems with which these professionals are faced following Brexit? If the answer is that no such action has been taken or is contemplated, why not?
Two weeks ago, when the Minister of State at the FCDO responsible for our relations with the EU, James Cleverly—now promoted—was giving evidence to the European Affairs Committee, he was asked specifically about these matters. It was suggested that, rather than resting on the outcome of the TCA negotiations when the EU rejected our preferred solution and we rejected its preferred solution, it might be better to explore with the EU other methods of addressing the problems in this sector in the way that the noble Lord, Lord Frost, has suggested. At the end of that exchange, the Minister replied:
“That certainly should not be taken as an unwillingness to revisit it. It is something we can look at.”
Will the Minister say what is being done to look at these matters?
I have one final thought: it would be a tragedy if the problems in this sector were linked in any way with the wider issues that have arisen over Brexit and its implementation. They surely need to be addressed on their own merits. This is a field of activity where those on both sides of the channel have much to gain from freer access for creative professionals and nothing to lose from it. Let us hope that, over time, that can be achieved.
My Lords, the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, aided and abetted by many of those who have taken part in today’s debate, has been raising these issues for well over two years now. I congratulate him on his tenacity in securing this debate and his comprehensive introduction today. I certainly hope that the Minister has now got the picture—or should I say the mood music, with all the variations, perhaps, that the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, described in her speech.
As we have continuously emphasised in the last two years, we are talking about not only touring by the music industry—one of the most successful and fastest growing sectors, where real jobs and livelihoods now risk being lost—but by a number of other important parts of the creative sector as well: museums, theatre and the wider visual arts sector, as described by the Contemporary Visual Arts Network, and indeed the sports sector, as described by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan. The ramifications are very broad. The right reverend Prelate reminded us that this impacts on levelling up and on values. We heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Fleet, about the impact on the talent pipeline and the potential to impact on communities through music education.
The dual registration deal on cabotage, which we have debated previously, falls short of satisfying the greater number of smaller specialist hauliers and own-account operators—it was described as a sticking plaster by my noble friend Lord German, and he is correct. On these Benches, we pointed out that the issues on cabotage were just one part of a huge cloud now hanging over the creative sector as a result of Brexit. The noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, my noble friend Lord Strasburger and the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, all described that, including the requirement for work permits or visa exemptions in many EU countries, CITES certificates for musical instruments, ATA carnets for all instruments and equipment, and proof of origin requirements for merchandise. It is a real return to the past, as described by my noble friend Lord Jones.
The failure to secure a reciprocal exemption to permit freedom of movement for creatives on tour or short-term paid engagements and their support staff when we left the EU has been catastrophic for UK and EU touring creatives. The sheer disparity of treatment was described by my noble friend Lord German. As the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, said, it was very clear from the outset that that would be the impact.
The reason we are in this mess is that the Home Office refused to grant particular categories of EU citizens, including sportspersons or artists performing an activity on an ad hoc basis, the right to 90 days permitted paid engagement, and so the EU would not reciprocate. We are still pursuing freedom of information requests to find out exactly what the UK Government put forward. The problems with merchandise, carnets and CITES are, if anything, worse, as described by a number of noble Lords. As the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, confirmed, the ISM says:
“In fact, almost nothing has changed since the TCA came into effect, as recent accounts from musicians resuming EU tours have demonstrated.”
As the Classical Music APPG, LIVE, UK Music, the ISM and many others have advocated, what is urgently needed are permanent solutions which will secure the kind of future that the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, referred to.
Some require bilateral negotiation and some can be done unilaterally through greater engagement, but the key to this is multilateral action. As a number of noble Lords have said, we need more productive, collaborative relationships. This was mentioned by the noble Lords, Lord Hannay and Lord Cormack, my noble friend Lord German and the noble Baroness, Lady Bull. The noble Baroness made some very constructive, detailed suggestions about how we can get to that point on those multilateral negotiations. We need comprehensive negotiation on road haulage for cultural purposes, a cultural waiver in relation to ATA carnets and CITES, and a visa waiver agreement.
There is a very depressing letter from former Minister Lopez to my colleague in the Commons Jamie Stone, which sets out very few constructive proposals. I hope the Minister here today does rather better. Will we get the kind of new beginning that the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, mentioned? We need something simple and effective.
My Lords, I am also very grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, for securing this debate. I thank him not just for today but for all the work he has done to shine a very helpful and practical spotlight on the difficulties encountered by those in the creative industries, whether music, fashion, dance, the visual arts or the many other aspects that our country can offer. As always, the noble Earl brings us all together. I hope that the Minister will have some comfort for us today about action that will be taken.
As we have heard, this is not just about the very important role of the creative sector in the economy—an economy which so desperately needs growth and improvements in productivity, and we can look to the creative sector for a major contribution there. It is also about flying our flag, which the right reverend Prelate spoke about. It is about entertaining and enriching us, as the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, said. It is about our heritage and culture. As the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, said, this is being hampered by an artificial set of obstacles under the banner of Brexit. I am sure it is within our wit to sort this out, and I remain mystified as to why it has not been possible to do so.
The noble Baroness, Lady Fleet, spoke about a focus on young people and their development in schools. It is one thing to educate, but there has to be an outlet for young people who want to go further. I believe we owe it to them to do this.
As has been referenced a number of times, the noble Lord, Lord Frost, conceded that the UK Government could and should have secured a better deal in this area. From these Benches, we also believe that a better deal could be available but that negotiations in this area were not helped by the Government’s ongoing approach to challenges around the Northern Ireland protocol. With the prospect of new leadership and a new Government in sight, perhaps the Minister might comment on what opportunities may now be liberated in this regard.
When I looked back, in preparation for this debate, at the Questions and previous debates we have had in the Chamber, I saw repeated comments that those in the creative sector can refer to GOV.UK, where requirements listed by individual country are available. I do not doubt that for a moment, but I do not feel that that is the answer we are looking for today. As the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, said, there are mechanisms that can already be used to find a way forward, without even looking at a number of the new solutions that various organisations and noble Lords have put forward to assist the Minister. That is an important point, because it is not just in our interests in the UK to remove the unnecessary obstacles; it is also in the interests of our European friends and neighbours, who I believe would be all the poorer if they did not have access to what our British creative sector can offer them.
I pick up the point referred to by my noble friend Lord Stansgate and other noble Lords in the course of this debate. What effect does the Minister feel that the difficulties to which we have alluded today have had on emerging talent? What assessment has there been of whether there has been an exacerbation of pre-existing inequalities? If there has been such an assessment, what steps will there be to deal with these inequalities? It cannot be right that young, working-class, diverse artists find themselves more likely to be stopped and denied entry. They are also the group that will find it harder to meet upfront fees.
I hope the Minister will reflect on this debate, as I know he always does, and see in it not just criticism of where we are but a will to find a constructive way forward, which I hope we can get to.
My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, for raising the vital issue of touring, and I am glad that further time has been provided for the debate. I know that the noble Earl is a great champion of our musicians and creative professionals. I am grateful to him for the meetings we have had about it and for bringing people into the department to discuss these matters directly with me. I am also grateful to all noble Lords who have taken part in today’s debate. I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, that there has been great harmony in what has been said, and with the final remarks by the noble Baroness, Lady Merron, about the constructive tone that noble Lords have rightly taken.
The UK’s creative and cultural sectors are internationally renowned. They contribute a huge amount to our economy, but also to our culture and our lives more broadly. Touring is a significant part of their work, enabling us to share the best of the UK’s talents with our friends in the European Union and on a wider international stage, as well as all the economic and cultural benefits that touring brings.
The UK has left the European Union, and we recognise that the way in which creative professionals work and tour in the European Union has changed. I know that this, exacerbated by the pandemic, has in recent years caused uncertainty for the sector, which can be particularly challenging for newer or emerging creative professionals, for whom touring is a key part of their development and professional lives. That is why the Government have been working hard to support the touring sectors to clarify arrangements, to help them to adapt where needed, and to explore what we can do, both bilaterally with EU member states and unilaterally, to make touring easier.
Throughout this period, we have remained in close contact with representatives of the sector. My former colleague Julia Lopez, who was Minister of State for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, recently attended the eighth meeting of the touring working group and heard feedback directly from the sector on its experience of touring so far this summer, which is of course the first full summer of touring following the lifting of the Covid-19 restrictions. It is clear that some issues remain, but we should also note that, in many areas, arrangements are more workable than is sometimes reported.
Today, I want to discuss both the work that we have done so far and the areas where we can continue to work together to ensure that our excellent creative professionals continue to tour widely, growing their audiences, honing their craft and sharing the joy of the work they produce.
Touring can broadly be categorised by the movement of people, goods and vehicles, so I will address each of those in turn. I turn first to the movement of people. The Government have worked very hard to clarify arrangements across the member states of the EU that are principally responsible for deciding the rules governing what work UK visitors can undertake there. Our engagement so far has resulted in the confirmation that almost all EU member states offer visa-free and work permit-free routes for musicians and other creative professionals, many for up to 90 days, including major touring markets such as France, Germany and Italy.
Where visa-free and work permit-free routes were not initially available, we worked hard, in collaboration with the sector, to encourage easements, which I am pleased to say has resulted in a further two member states—Spain, and most recently Greece, as the noble Earl mentioned—taking unilateral action to enable UK creative professionals to perform and tour visa-free. This is a happy outcome and testament to the success that can be achieved when the Government and the industry combine their voices.
I recognise that the situation for touring has changed since we left the European Union and that this has required adaptation, but it is important to recognise that these visa-free and permit-free routes exist. As definitions can vary, travellers should check the specific requirements before travelling. We are aware that, in the period immediately following our departure from the EU, much of the information that was available from member states online led to confusion in the sector. That is why we engaged with those member states, and I am pleased to say that our engagement has resulted in a number of them amending their online guidance to provide further clarity. We have also published enhanced guidance on the UK Government’s website, GOV.UK, to support British nationals, including creative and cultural professionals, to navigate the new arrangements. We have worked closely with representatives of the sector through the touring working group, and have shared details with it directly as we receive new information from member states.
This means that there are now only three member states—Portugal, Malta and Cyprus—that do not offer visa-free and work permit-free touring. We have engaged with these remaining member states extensively, using the diplomatic means at our disposal. Most recently, the Minister for Europe, my right honourable friend James Cleverly—now the Education Secretary, as noted by the noble Lord, Lord Hannay—met the Portuguese ambassador to the United Kingdom and raised the importance of touring with him.
We should acknowledge that, ultimately, it is up to member states to align their requirements more closely with the UK’s generous rules to enable them to enjoy the cultural and economic benefits of visa-free and work permit-free touring. As the noble Baroness, Lady Merron, said, it is to their benefit as well.
On the movement of goods, there are new requirements related to ATA carnets, the movement of merchandise and the movement of instruments made from protected materials, as was raised by the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty. These again have required adaptation, and we have worked across government to provide the information and clarity needed. ATA carnets are not new to touring, and have previously been required when travelling beyond the European Union, such as through Switzerland. This is a case of adaptation. Where a carnet is required, it is a single document that can be used for multiple items, as many times as required, in approximately 80 countries around the world, over a 12-month period.
Most significantly, we have confirmed that portable musical instruments, accompanied by their owner, can be transported cost-free and should not require a carnet. I am aware that there have been some issues, such as inconsistent enforcement of these rules in certain member states and challenges regarding the commercial policies of transport operators. Where these issues have arisen, we have worked urgently with colleagues across government and the creative sector, as well as with transport operators and the relevant member states, to address them. If noble Lords are aware of issues, I am always happy to receive information, so that we can continue to follow them up swiftly. Similarly, the EU’s rules state that each individual is able to take up to €1,000-worth of merchandise, with a total weight of 1,000 kilograms or less, into the European Union to sell on tour without paying EU customs duties.
The noble Earl asked about the designation of St Pancras as a CITES port. We have been engaging with the sector on this and I am grateful to the Musicians’ Union, the Incorporated Society of Musicians and the Association of British Orchestras for providing some detailed information at the end of May to inform that work and those discussions. The number of CITES ports has already increased from 24 to 36. Thanks to the information provided by the sector, discussions are taking place now between Defra and Border Force. We will continue to engage closely with the sector and keep it up to date on progress, as well as continuing to listen for whether there are clear steps we can take to support our musicians to tour, this summer and beyond.
The noble Earl also asked about the CITES COP meeting which takes place in Panama, in November. We are indeed preparing for that meeting and will consider any proposal put forward to extend the duration of musical instrument certificates. In principle, that would certainly seem sensible, but of course we will need time to look at the particulars of what is put forward, along with the other proposals advanced ahead of the COP meeting.
I know that much focus of recent discussion about touring understandably revolves around the challenges that new rules pose to the movement of vehicles and the impact on the UK’s specialist haulage industry. It is worth reiterating that during negotiations on the trade and co-operation agreement we proposed specific market access rules for specialist hauliers carrying out tours for cultural events, but the EU did not agree to this. I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, that it is important that we focus on the future and on practical steps we can take to advance solutions.
To address these challenges, the Government have engaged extensively with the specialist haulage industry, including via a public consultation earlier this year on support for specialist events hauliers working on cross-border tours. As a result of this engagement, the Department for Transport is currently working on the implementation of dual registration to enable it to come into force this summer, with an interim measure in place in the meantime. Dual registration will enable operators who establish a UK and EU base temporarily to transfer their EU-registered vehicles to their GB operator’s licence, enabling full UK and EU single market access rights, without swapping vehicles. I do not wish to suggest that this measure will address all the challenges faced by the specialist haulage industry, as noble Lords rightly point out, but it is again important to recognise that this step is being taken.
I mentioned earlier that we appreciate that some of the new requirements are a particular concern for newer and emerging artists, as the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, rightly stressed. I know that the sector was therefore pleased to get confirmation that splitter vans, carrying both equipment and up to nine passengers, do not fall in the scope of the trade and co-operation agreement market access rules regarding cabotage and cross trade, and instead are subject to member state law.
I turn to the range of wider support that Her Majesty’s Government provide to our excellent creative and cultural industries. To help artists navigate the new requirements, we have developed creative sector-specific landing pages on the GOV.UK website, providing relevant guidance for people touring the European Union. We continue to support our music sector through a range of export support programmes, such as the music export growth scheme and the international showcase fund. Creative businesses in England can also access the internationalisation fund, which provides matching grants for export support, including attendance at trade shows. We also launched the export support service last year, through which UK businesses, including touring professionals, can get online and telephone support to answer practical questions about exporting to Europe. We want to do everything that we can to maintain and strengthen the international reach and reputation of our creative workers, who support us to be a truly global Britain.
The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Manchester asked about support for regional arts organisations. My noble friend Lady Fleet referred to the national plan for music education, which reiterated our commitment to music hubs, with £79 million per annum to support them in their work around the country. The current national portfolio round of funding from the Arts Council reflects the Government’s instruction to make sure that that taxpayer subsidy is spent more equitably and fairly around the country. Presently, £21 per capita of funding is spent in the capital compared to £6 per capita outside; we have asked that that gap be closed.
I would be very happy to meet the right reverend Prelate and other colleagues from the Church of England to talk about church music specifically. It would be remiss of me not to mention my visit to Lincoln Cathedral—particularly noting the presence of my noble friend Lord Cormack and the noble Baroness, Lady Merron—where I heard the joyful music at evensong. I would certainly be delighted to attend the launch of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music’s report on 19 July if my diary allows.
The Minister may be drawing to a close since he has gone past his time, but he has managed, quite brilliantly, to fail to answer any of the questions that I put to him. I would be grateful to have responses. He has spoken about bilateral and unilateral action, but could he not just put a clove of garlic around his neck and tiptoe into the TCA machinery? This was raised by a large number of speakers. If that is coming, it will be very welcome.
I was watching the clock, but my response to the noble Lord was on the very next page of my notes. I was just about to mention the comments of my noble friend Lord Moynihan in relation to winter sports. I will certainly write to him with an update after discussing that with my honourable friend Nigel Huddleston, his successor as Sports Minister.
The noble Lord, Lord Hannay, asked about the views of my noble friend Lord Frost in relation to the TCA. I did indeed read his comments in Zurich with interest. I know that my noble friend devotes many of his considerable talents to thoughts for the future—not always in relation to your Lordships’ House. I look forward to hearing his further thoughts on this topic, particularly as he knows far more than anybody what was discussed and the way it was discussed in our negotiations with the EU.
It is important to note that, during the negotiations, the EU tabled text regarding the paid activities which can be conducted without a visa. The proposals would not have addressed the concerns from the sector: they were non-binding, they did not include touring or technical staff, and they did not address work permits. However, as the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, invited me to, I want to keep my comments focused on the future and on practical steps.
We recognise that our departure from the EU has meant a change for touring professionals, as it has for people in other areas of the economy. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Government as a whole have worked very hard to support them and will continue to do so. The UK music industry is one of our great national assets and the Government will back it every step of the way.
I am very glad that my noble friend Lady Fleet was here to talk about the work we are doing through the national plan for music education, the £25 million we are providing for school instruments and equipment, and the progress fund which will enable more people from a diverse range of backgrounds to forge careers in our music sector.
Later today, I am meeting UK Music. I was pleased to meet the All-Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group and hand out awards at its annual awards ceremony, where I talked to people from the jazz music sector. I am always grateful for opportunities to meet representatives of the sector to hear what we can do to support it.
Across the movement of people, goods and vehicles, we have engaged consistently and extensively to clarify arrangements and help people adapt. We know that this summer is the first full summer of touring since the pandemic, and we will engage particularly to make sure that we are hearing from people who are on the ground and touring, so that we can follow up where issues remain. We want to do that and get it right for the sake of our economy, for the sake of our shared culture and for the far wider benefits that music brings in enriching our lives. I am very grateful to the noble Earl for the opportunity he has provided today to keep this issue rightly prominent.