Real People, Real Lives, Real Jobs

Carry On Touring's Tim Brennan comments on the Reply to Lord Clement Jones from DCMS Minister Julia Lopez MP


On the 23rd December 2022, The DCMS minster Julia Lopez MP replied to Lord Clement-Jones's letter dated the 29th November 2022, co signed by a number of cross party MPs & Peers.

You can read both letters here:

 In her response, the minster states how the Government recognises the importance of the UK's Creative Industries, yet we still see no real action other than pointing us to their signpost website. The Creative Industries are mired in red tape caused by the this Government's Brexit, which the minister again states that the industry will have to adapt it's way of working within the EU post Brexit, including but not limited to:

1/. Having to obtain a Carnet if you want to take anything other than your personal portable instruments, i.e. amplifiers, guitar pedals, lighting, sound equipment, laptops, cameras, etc etc etc. 

2/. Being limited to 90 days access to the Schengen area in any 180 days.

3/. Having to determine what the work permit / visa requirements for each of the 27 EU states that you may be visiting during your work / tour.

4/. Having to deal with the Cabotage nightmare if you want to take a vehicle larger than a splitter van.

5/. Ensuring that you have the correct CITES certification if you carry item that contains elements of rare species, (woods or Ivory)

6/. Ensuring that you have the correct documentation and relevant VAT registrations should you wish to sell merchandise.

7/. Making sure you contact the relevant authorities to inform them of your presence and intention to perform a fee paying engagement.

This seems to be an awful lot of adapting that the industry needs to undertake to continue working within the EU, making the whole thing unviable for many creative individuals, which from the following statements clearly DID NOT NEED TO HAPPEN!!! 

The minister states that:

"The UK took an ambitious approach during the negotiations with the EU that would have ensured that touring artists and their support staff did not need work-permits to perform in the EU;"

and that:

"regrettably, these proposals were rejected by the EU".

Here is a snippet from a letter sent to our legal team from the EUROPEAN COMMISSION DIRECTORATE-GENERAL MIGRATION and HOME AFFAIRS Commissioner Johannsson, in response to our questions regarding work permit and visa free travel for touring professionals and artists.

"As you are aware, when it comes to the movement of persons, the UK has chosen to no longer allow the free movement of EU citizens to the UK. In the negotiations on Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), the UK refused to include a chapter on mobility in the TCA, despite the European Union offering to do so and despite both parties’ agreement ahead of the negotiations in the joint Political Declaration to establish non-discriminatory “mobility arrangements”.

Moreover, by refusing to include a bilateral visa waiver component in the TCA, the UK also effectively excluded agreeing on a Joint Declaration, something which usually accompanies that kind of commitment in the EU’s international agreements. Such a Joint Declaration could have enumerated the categories of activities that cannot be subject to a visa requirement for the purpose of undertaking a 'paid activity'.

Consequently, the possibility for the UK nationals to undertake “paid activities” during their stay in a Member State will depend on the law of that Member State: a Member State may subject the undertaking of a paid activity to obtaining a work permit; it may also decide to request a visa – even in the case of short-term stays – when such stay includes the undertaking of “paid activities” (cf. art. 6(3) of Regulation 2018/1806). While it is true that the Visa Handbook recommends that this exception should be interpreted narrowly, please note that the Visa Handbook does not create any legally binding obligations upon Member States."

You can read the the full letter here:

Response from the EU Commision

So clearly both parties agreed to include a chapter on mobility ahead of the negotiations, which could have potentially negated the need for all of the red tape that I listed above, that is now hindering the continuation of the Creative Industries ability to maintain our careers.

The Government continually gaslights us about the generous offer they made which they claim that the EU rejected, however from our correspondence this does not seem to be the case.

Despite countless meetings with various Government departments, outlining the difficulties faced by the Creative Industries touring the EU, as a direct result of Brexit, the Government STILL do NOT understand the issue's we face as an industry. As is clearly demonstrated by the following video of a Parliamentary Question raised by Rupa Huq MP and answered belligerently by Financial Secretary to the Treasury Victoria Atkins MP, who misses the point completely.

As a financial minister you would think she knew that we, the Creative Industries, were excluded from the TCA completely, the detrimental effect that it is having upon our ability to earn a living and the economic impact to the country.

I guess my question on all of this is "Why were we left out of the TCA, if there had previously been an agreement to include a chapter on mobility, who or which department changed that?


Carry On Touring is an unfunded campaign that is keeping the pressure on the Government to do the right thing and return to the negotiating table with the EU and find a proper solution to the crisis.
If you can help us by donating a small amount, please do so here:

Donate to the Carry On Touring Campaign


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