What cultural industries will lose on Brexit Day

What cultural industries will lose on Brexit Day


norman lebrecht

January 02, 2018

The UK Government has finally published its report on the impact of Brexit on the creative industries.

There are lots of statistics and no analysis whatsoever.

Here’s what we are putting at risk:

The Creative Industries account for 9.4% of the value of all UK services exports. Furthermore, more of these services exports go to the EU (42.5% in 2014, 45% in 2015) than the average for UK services exports.

The Creative Industries exported £14.7bn worth of goods in 2015, 38.6% more than in 2010, and this represented 5.2% of total UK goods exports. The highest export sub-sectors were “Music, performing and visual arts”, “Crafts”; and, “Publishing”.

About 45 percent of these exports were to the EU.

Read the full report here.



  • Boris Notgudenov says:

    It also makes the bizarre claim, for which [citation needed] that “Music, performing and visual arts have the lowest proportion of EU nationals working
    in the sector, with 4.1%” – maybe it’s just our smallish corner of it, but it’s generally what, ten times higher than that, from student level all the way to most orchestras, quartets, opera casts, whatever. So that’s half the talent (and tax base, if we must) in our industry gone, great.

    As for the remaining UK musicians losing their freedom of movement? Maybe we’ll be able to pick up some zero hours shifts, instead of exporting British artistic excellence around the continent (and, again, paying tax on it)

    Very cool and good.

  • FS60103 says:

    And just watch the usual suspects read that as “we are about to lose 45% of the sector’s exports” – oh, actually, I see someone already has.

    It doesn’t help the credibility of the diehard Remainers, even at this late stage, when they insist that non-membership of the EU will mean the instant cessation of all trade with Europe, and will place an iron curtain across freedom of movement. This “let’s imagine the worst conceivable outcome, however laughably unlikely, and insist at all times that it’s absolutely going to happen” was understandable as an emotional reflex, back when everyone was overreacting to the referendum result. Now it’s just counterproductive and slightly childish.

    • Player says:

      Well said. It would be nice if Norman the contrarian we love would show himself on this subject?

    • Alexander Hall says:

      It is bad enough that the headquarters of the EUYO are already being moved from London to Italy. Young British musicians will no longer be able to participate in this valuable institution which is a springboard to orchestral jobs. But – of course – Brexiteers couldn’t care less about such losses. They will have taken back control. Whoopee! Carry on living in fantasy land.

    • HugoPreuss says:

      There is a difference between “lose 45% of the sector’s exports” and things staying the same or even improving. Nobody has said that the UK will have to do without any exports whatsoever into EU countries. But will it be 45%, the current level? Of course not. It will be significantly lower.

      Unless, of course, the geniuses currently running the government will somehow come up with a version of the Norway/Swiss-situation (without calling it by that name, of course). In that case exports will continue as usual. But the UK will also be, for all practical purposes, still a member of the EU, only without any voting rights. PM May has already started to put a lot of lipstick on that particular pig.

      These are the two realistic choices at this moment. Everything else (Remain after all vs. glorious Rule Britannia) strikes me as pure fantasy. But hey, there will be 350 million pounds every week going to the NHS instead of going to Brussels! Remember that campaign promise? I do.

  • Sue says:

    Here’s another pov on the “Brexit” issue: and this online journal describes itself as “left wing”! I actually think it’s more ‘libertarian’ than left wing (and, no, libertarians don’t have separate political parties).


  • Steve P says:

    So the sky is falling again? Ok.

  • Nicholas says:

    It is entirely correct to point out that we are very unlikely to lose all, or even most of, our trade with the EU after Brexit. However, unless we have a very very soft Brexit, it is likely to reduce. It doesn’t have to fall very far before, if generalized, our economy goes into recession, and the people who live nearer the financial margins start to suffer significant deprivation. One of the things I find hardest to bear from Leavers is their cavalier assumption on behalf of other people that it will “all be worth it”, when what they are doing is condemning quite large numbers of their fellow citizens to losing their jobs, becoming dependent on benefits (which the rest of us will then have to fund) and in some cases, losing everything, and perhaps ending up on the streets. Of course, this will not affect most people, who will get by, and it may be that this will only affect, say, a decade of economic activity, but that;s what makes it such an arrogant attitude towards those who will certainly be the losers. It will not be because of a massive reduction in EU trade, but because of a relatively small drop that pushes us into recession and leads to business failures and cost-cutting, and all that this means. This blog is about Music, of course, and Ithis effect is likely to be replicated in this sector as much as anywhere else.

  • Dominic Stafford says:

    The truth is that Brexit WILL have an effect on the arts in Britain.

    It will NOT be as drastic as some are implying. Nor will our future be as trouble free as the homologous Right Wingers/Libertarians who seem to haunt almost every post on this blog maintain.

    British singers and soloists will continue to undertake guest contracts throughout Europe. European theatres and orchestras regularly contract singers from outside the Eurozone. There are American, Chinese and Korean singers working in large numbers in A, B and C theatres in Germany, for example.

    As someone who has a significant number of American clients, obtaining a COS Tier 5 (3 month) working visa for the UK is quite simple and quick, and there should no reason (as long as our links with intelligence gathering agencies and police forces within the EU remain good) that a similar system cannot by employed between Britain and the EU.

    Where we will see a change is in the co-operation of arts bodies throughout the EU. British Orchestras will tour less in Europe. The same can be said for theatre companies.

    I voted Remain and I still hope that we have at least the softest of Brexits and, preferably, no Brexit at all; but as the waterfall approaches, it is important that we don’t just sit there, moaning – we must paddle as hard as we bloody well can!

    On a final note: Brexit remains a bump in the road when compared to the necessary consequences of increasing Automation and the polarisation of wealth. James Martin’s The Meaning of the C20th and the Oxford Martin School (who’s papers and lectures are available online) will provide you with more detailed information; but the way we live and, consequently, the way we create, are about to change drastically.

    That’s the real change coming. Compared to that, Brexit is something of a sideshow…

  • Margaret Steinitz says:

    To imagine that our exit from the EU will not impinge on our way of life here is, to me, very naïve. It will affect us across the board, practically and in our wallets. For example, it won’t be until that trip to the Hypermarket outside Calais to stock up on the booze is halted on return to UK Customs and a huge bill for Customs Duty piled on that the penny will finally drop! This is but one example, but you see my point.
    For all of us in the musical world used to either touring EU states regularly, engaging individual EU artists for appearances here and for UK free-lance musicians earning part of their annual income in the UK and part in EU States – all these facilitated because of free movement – it will be the practical issues surrounding work permits and visas (both of which can be refused by the way) that does need to be sorted…and sorted soon.EU promoters may well gib at having to fork out for visas or permits for UK orchestras to appear on their platforms after March 2019 as might promoters here the other way round. By the way permits are nice little earners for governments!
    Successful forward planning and budgeting is key to so much of our success story and as budgets get even tighter we, like all other professions and trades, need to know where we stand, calculate the risks and factor in an amount to cushion us from the Brexit effect. Like everywhere else, the Creative Industries thrive on a stable economy, not in protracted uncertainty, government wish lists or whistling hopefully in the wind. From where I am sitting, Leavers kick anything they don’t like, cannot fathom or care about into the long grass, but ponder on this – the Creative Industries generated 84 billion in the last financial year….that is 84 billion reasons why we matter!
    I will try to find time to read up on Dominic’s examples.