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Response from DCMS - Julia Lopez MP

Carry on Touring have received a response to the open letter sent to The Secretary of State for DCMS Nadine Dorries MP.
The Letter, signed by over 1600 Creative Professionals and industry trade bodies, was sent on 22nd September 2021.

The response from Julia Lopez MP Minister of State for Media, Data & Digital Infrastructure dated the 2nd November 2021 is available to read below:

Comments from Carry On Touring and Creative Industry Trade Bodies

Response From Tim Brennan - Co-Founder Carry On Touring / Freelance Touring Vision Engineer

Since 2017 we have had 5 Secretaries of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, which in my view the role seems to be a role that is considered of little importance to the current government.

Carry On Touring wrote an open letter to Nadine Dorries MP the current incumbent of the role on the 22nd September 2021. The letter, signed by over 1600 Creative Professionals and Creative Trade bodies covering everything from fashion, music, theatre, dance, photography, film and TV production, pointed out that the announcement made by the DCMS on the 4th August was an attempt to state that we could freely tour in 19 of the 27 States that make up the EU. This statement is misleading at best.

So, I was disappointed that the Secretary of State deemed the letter not of significant importance to deal with herself, instead handing it to a junior minister to deal with, who has not only been in post just a little over 6 weeks, but as her letter head implies is the Minister of State for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure. Yet she states she is responsible for Touring in the EU, which in my view forms only a small, but important cog in the £111billion machine that is the Creative Industries.

There is nothing new in the response from Julia Lopez MP and in fact continues to state the same line as the announcement on the 4th August, that we are freely able to undertake touring in now 20 member states.

This does not take into account the 90/180 days that we can access the Schengen area, and therefore proves a massive hindrance to all manner of creative professionals that will rapidly burn through that time allowance and then have to leave the area for a further 90 days.

The Minister states that it is down to individual travellers to check the requirements for each member state that they are travelling to, it is extremely difficult to locate all the relevant information and is leading to confusion amongst Creatives as to how to go about touring within the EU.

The government should setup a Creative Touring Export Office that can collate and update the information needed by travellers and publish it on the .Gov website.

In summary I feel there has been no real effort on behalf of the DCMS to understand what it is the creative industries actually do and how they have been dramatically affected by the lack of clarity surrounding post Brexit creative touring and working within the EU and the need for a pan European Visa / Work Permit waiver for the Creative Industries.

Carry on Touring would welcome the opportunity to meet with the Secretary of State to explain from a boots on the ground perspective, just how important touring and working freely within the EU is to Creative Professionals.

Response From Noel Mclean - National Secretary of BECTU

This is a bitterly disappointing response. The letter went to the Secretary of State and the reply came from a more junior minister. If that wasn’t an indication that DCMS are still failing to see this as a priority and urgent issue then the content certainly is. They continue to portray a cut and paste of existing (and inferior) arrangements as progress and the result of effort. It is not.
Everyone in the industry will see this for what it is. The continuation of a catastrophic failure to deal with a serious issue in a serious way.

Response From Deborah Annetts - ISM Chief Executive

It’s disappointing that the Minister has repeated the claim that the Government has secured short-term visa-free touring in 20 EU member states. The ISM and many other creative sector organisations have made it clear that this is not the case. Depending on the length and type of work, musicians working in these countries will still require a visa or work permit and it is highly unhelpful and misleading for the Government to claim that they won’t. 

Securing comprehensive solutions for touring creatives should be an urgent priority for DCMS ministers. We need to see evidence of concrete progress towards bilateral negotiations with member states to secure work permit exemptions. There is no reason for the Government not to urgently pursue a bespoke EU-wide Visa Waiver Agreement for our sector. A VWA would remove many of the costly and bureaucratic hurdles that creatives currently face.

Response From David Martin - FAC

I don't really think this moves anything.  It looks like a rather standard response, like others we've received.

Response From Tamara Cincik - Fashion Round Table

Fashion Roundtable have repeatedly asked to be on the DCMS working group and while we do advise the BFC on policy, we feel it would help the department to understand the needs of the sector, as they have said the EU cannot find a definition of a fashion creative, which given our experience we would be able to advise them on. A £35bn sector needs more than one representative in such an important group, given the impacts Brexit is having on our fashion creative talents, whose primary destinations are France, Spain, Germany and Italy.

Response From Duncan Bell - We Make Events

Thanks for sharing this.  Firstly congratulations on the speed of response, as that in itself seems positive.

It equally doesn’t address the issue of ‘spinning’ or exaggerating the current situation –
I notice they have updated the site today, which stills implies touring is possible.

Clarification on Splitters is positive, but the issue seems that there is a still a shortage of appetite to actually act as demonstrated by ‘It is not Government policy to agree visa waivers’.

Finally, all of this overlooks point that we still can’t return to normal as we are stuck with cabotage and the ‘No trucks = no touring’ issue.

Response From Ian Smith - Co-Founder Carry On Touring /

Simple facts, repeated again regarding Croatia!

Via my work in founding, constantly fact checking the realities we all now face post Brexit for work in the EU. There is in fact a period of work permit free time available to creative workers which includes support staff of 30 to 60 days a year free of the requirement of a work permit or residence permit ( under article 83 of Croatian Law registered in 2012 ) whereas a person must simply  complete a work registration certificate approx. £40.00 at a police station or local government office. 

We hear that the government is tirelessly working co-ordinating especially with countries that have no permit free allowance, this seems to be odds with a situation where repeatedly we have to remind of simple verifiable researched facts!

I have personally spoken of this specifically on Croatia within meetings over several months with DCMS / DtI / HMRC on this issue with Croatia being mistakenly listed as no allowance by DCMS . Reinforcing a feeling that in reality nothing much is actually happening, reflected yet again in this bland document simply referencing previous replies to our very serious concerns … 

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