No-deal Brexit ‘will cost musicians £1,000 a year’

No-deal Brexit ‘will cost musicians £1,000 a year’


norman lebrecht

August 14, 2019

The  Incorporated Society of Musicians has written to the Boris Johnson Government warning that a no-deal Brexit will cost British musicians who carry an instrument an extra £1,000 a year.

It argues that:

– Musicians will be required to purchase carnets – temporary international customs documents that allow instruments and sound equipment to move temporarily outside the UK – which cost in the region of £500-700, depending on the value of the goods. It is currently possible to take instruments to countries in the EU for free and purchasing an ATA Carnet is a significant extra cost to be forced upon musicians which will become a huge barrier for many musicians touring the EU27.

Musicians will also face numerous additional costs including:

– Private medical insurance, which would become essential in a no-deal Brexit as EHIC provision would cease, would set a musician without a pre-existing medical condition back around £70 per year, but it could be as high as £320 for a musician with a pre-existing medical condition.
– Musical Instrument Certificates, which are only required for instruments containing endangered species according to CITES (including ivory, rosewood, tortoiseshell) are currently free but are set to incur a charge in 2020 (amount unknown). Examples: some violin bows contain ivory and some guitars contain rosewood.
– Musicians who drive to the continent will need to purchase an International Driving Permit costing £5.50.
– If A1 forms become obsolete on 1 November, musicians must also ensure that they are not liable for double deductions of social security payments in other EU countries by contacting the relevant EU social security institution to check.
– If visas are introduced to work in the EU27/EEA, this is likely to cause considerable financial and administrative burden to musicians.

Tasmin Little OBE, violinist, said:

‘A musician’s life is based around travel therefore ease of movement is an essential requirement. Any country that values a rich cultural and musical life understands that diversity is only possible if musical communities remain international; and this can only happen if there is absolute freedom to travel, both with regard to planned tours as well as last-minute engagements. It is as essential for musicians from the UK to travel abroad with ease, as it is for artists from outside the UK to enter the country to work. The amount of red tape is increasing to an enormous proportion, and this is beginning to have a major negative impact on musicians, both in terms of time spent as well as cost involved. We call upon the government to understand these issues, ease these difficulties and enable us to continue to give our best and do our jobs without hindrance and excessive extra costs.’


  • Gustavo says:

    Brexiteers who turn their backs to Beethoven’s 9th couldn’t care less.

    Keep sipping the champagne on Glyndebourne’s pleasant pastures!

    • Robin Smith says:

      Gustavo – it’s the people who can’t afford to go to Glyndebourne (generally) that voted to Leave.

      • Gustavo says:

        And those nationalists who could afford to go to Glyndebourne told the people who may have wished to go to Glyndebourne that leaving the EU would bring them fortune.

        They fell for it.

        • Sue Sonata Form says:

          Yes, I expect they’re the usual “deplorables” who don’t recognize the elite when they see/hear them.

      • Graham Rickson says:

        Not true – usually it’s the poor, ill-educated folk of Sunderland and Hartlepool who are blamed for Brexit, but most Leave voters were in the South. As one columnist wrote post-result: “the people who swung the vote were affluent, older southerners. Instead, we’ve taken it as a kicking-off point that the Brexit vote was won by a council estate in Bolton.”

        • 16VA says:

          [[ the Brexit vote was won by a council estate in Bolton.]]

          The ID parade line-up for the scapegoats has been organised, even before the crime has been perpetrated. Ond wonders if the Daily Telegraph pundits – who are already saying ‘no reason to worry over the collapsing pound’ (c) R Bootle – will fall on their swords when it all goes pear-shaped? No, of course, just in the same way none of them put that slogan on that bus, did they?

        • Maria says:

          I live in the north of England and how southerners love to blame the north for the result.

    • Allen says:

      “Brexiteers who turn their backs to Beethoven’s 9th”

      No they did not. They turned their backs on an anthem claiming to represent a ridiculous, expansionist, overbearing, undemocratic bureaucracy that is losing favour all over Europe.

      • Gustavo says:

        So what does “your” anthem stand for?

      • 16VA says:

        The cheesy-grinned chav and his Little Englander Army turned his back on Beethoven.

        If you think the EU is ‘undemocratic’ – then tell us who in Britain elected your John Bolton, and by what right Yosemite Sam addressed the British people this week? Because that’s someone, and his boss, whom I’d gladly turn my back on, permanently.

        • Allen says:

          “cheesy-grinned chav and his Little Englander Army”

          You really are delightful, aren’t you?

          And your snobbish use of the word ‘chav’ speaks volumes, but is sadly typical.

        • Furzwängler says:

          We elected John Bolton in Britain? You mean the guy with the walrus moustache? I must have missed it. But the you’re obviously missing quite a lot yourself.

        • Maria says:

          Another scared, ignorant, anonymous and insulting person on here! Inverted snobbery is even worse!

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Bravo. Many people around the world share your view, if it’s any consolation. The only people who don’t are the self-interested so-called ‘elites’. (How I hate that word; Beethoven was an ‘elite’ – the vast bulk of humanity; not so much.)

      • HugoPreuss says:

        They “turned their backs on an anthem” representing the Union that is, among other things, paying their salary. I have not heard that any of them have refused to be payed by the European Union they despise.

        • Stephen Munslow says:

          Richard Tice is donating his salary to charity. The rest are hoping to be MEP’s for as short a time as possible.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      The 9th is in public domain, so don’t blame LvB for EU. He’s completely innocent.

  • Mike says:

    It’s not the UK Government they should be directing these comments it’s the EU!!

    • Ann Nomynous says:

      EU has tried its best, the shambles that the UK is, is totally of its own making. Of course you can always do the right thing and cancel the madness.

      • Robin Smith says:

        The EU is trying it’s best to get the best deal for the EU. The UK parliament doesn’t really want to Leave (check the figures for MPs original voting intentions). There you have the problem.

      • Brettermeier says:

        “Of course you can always do the right thing and cancel the madness.”

        Yeah, I’m against that. Two things to consider here:

        1. There was a vote and the majority wanted that madness. Going back from it now would be undemocratic. The people choose (poorly, but hey.)
        2. It would send the wrong signal to other EU members (specifically the usual suspects). And that is: Just blackmail us with a leave vote and occupy us for the next two plus years! And if you fail to make “a better deal” (and of course, you will), you can just blow the whole thing off. No risks involved for you!

        Don’t get me wrong. I’m sorry for this mess. But I don’t see any viable option other than for the UK to leave for now. But please come back soon.

        • 16VA says:

          Yes, and the NHS is going to get 350 million pounds saved back from NHS contibutions, isn’t it? Will Bozo pay it from his own pocket?

          So let’s have no more pipsqueak twaddle about a legitimate referendum.

      • Maria says:

        What? EU tried their best? They are sunk without British money! The fifth highest economy in the world! Their representatives are selected not elected.

    • Gustavo says:

      Oh yes it is.

      Brexit is home-made.

      The people had their say….We are going to make it a success….Remember?

      • Robin Smith says:

        The people aren’t doing the negotiating.

        • Gustavo says:

          Then get up and fight for your rights! Like in Venezuela and Hong-Kong.

          • Robin Smith says:

            Post the actual Referendum we’ve had the EU Election and Farage’s party won the largest number of MEPs from the UK. We try not to “fight” in the Uk. It’s quite peaceful mostly.

          • Sue Sonata Form says:

            You’ve belled the cat about the hugely undemocratic nature of modern Britain. The people will go to the streets; be very certain of that. One thing people don’t like is being told what is good for them – and the jackboots which prove it!!

        • Brettermeier says:

          “The people aren’t doing the negotiating.”

          They knew that when they went to the ballot box. (Nothing else, but at least THAT they knew.)

  • Chris says:

    The biggest issue with all this is that the ORIGINAL referendum asked whether UK leaves the EU or remains – nothing was clear about the basis on which we would leave (the vote was narrowly in favour of leaving) and everything around the decision since the referendum result has been, in essence, decided without reference to the voters.

  • 16VA says:

    [[ The Incorporated Society of Musicians has written ]]

    That will have Sajid Javid quaking in his boots! [/irony]

  • Stephen Munslow says:

    I’m always confused by these things. I see musicians all over the world, from non-EU countries, travelling and performing all over the place. The EU has a remarkable ability to buy loyalty and create dependency. Look at the farmers, academia who receive big bungs from the EU

    • Gustavo says:

      The EU is not about buying loyalty and creating dependency.

      The EU is about securing peace and justice in a culturally and economically diverse continent – a continent that was deeply divided for a very long time.

      That we are now a union of nations supporting each other is the best what could have happened to Europe post World War II.

      All attempts to change this situation, e.g. the Brexit, are nationalistic, egocentric and doomed to failure.