Wednesday 20 January 2021 11:29 am

British musicians ‘shamelessly failed’ over post-Brexit touring

Musicians have been “shamelessly failed” by the government over the failure to secure visa-free touring after Brexit, some of the UK’s biggest music stars have said.

Sir Elton John, Ed Sheeran and Liam Gallagher are among more than 100 signatories on a damning open letter that warns many performers could be “tipped over the edge” due to a “negotiating failure”.

The UK’s post-Brexit trading agreement with the EU does not guarantee visa-free touring for musicians and their crew, meaning they could face significant extra costs when travelling on the continent.

“The deal done with the EU has a gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be,” read the letter, which was published in The Times.

“The extra costs will make many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water owing to the Covid ban on live music.”

It added: “We urge the government to do what it said it would do and negotiate paperwork-free travel in Europe for British artists and their equipment.”

Other stars who signed the letter include Roger Daltrey, Bob Geldof, Emily Eavis, Nicola Benedetti and The 1975.

The government has insisted that it fought for a good deal for musicians, but this was “repeatedly” turned down by the EU.

However, the bloc has hit back at the claims, saying the UK’s solution may still have left musicians liable to buy a visa and was therefore not fit for purpose.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden is due to meet with industry leaders this afternoon to discuss the issue.

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