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Leaving the EU: UK Musicians

Volume 638: debated on Thursday 22 March 2018

10. What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on arrangements for UK musicians to tour the EU after the UK leaves the EU. (904530)

I sympathise with the hon. Lady, as I was expecting my other question to go on a bit longer, too.

Music is one of the greatest exports for the UK, and we are determined to ensure that, after Brexit, UK musicians can tour not only the EU but the rest of the world. My Department is working closely with the Department for Exiting the European Union to ensure the best possible outcome for touring musicians on Brexit.

It is so long since I have had a question, Mr Speaker—[Laughter.]

Ealing, uniquely, boasts a plaque on the spot where the Rolling Stones played their first ever gig, in 1962, but international success such as they went on to achieve is imperilled by the fact that when we leave the EU we will leave behind restriction-free movement for musicians, who travel with all their gear and often at short notice. Will the Government consider UK Music’s proposal for an EU-wide music passport covering crews and haulage, so that bands can continue to bring in £1 billion to the economy and so that fans can enjoy them, too?

I assure the hon. Lady that nothing would have stopped the success of the Rolling Stones, but she raises a good idea and we will look into all of those things. We are determined to enable musicians to tour Europe effectively after Brexit, and we are supporting them with the music export growth scheme. More than £2 million has been invested to promote 150 acts, and we have to enable them to travel in the way she suggests.

I appreciate that the Minister shares my view that music should be for everyone, but will she agree to meet representatives of the Musicians Union—I declare my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests in that connection—regularly throughout the next 12 months to ensure that its concerns about its members’ ability to tour are dealt with?

I certainly meet representatives of the music industry, including Music UK, with which I have already held a roundtable, and I would be happy to meet the Musicians Union as part of my ongoing work to support the sector.