Watson demands Brexit safeguards for artists

Labour’s shadow culture secretary and deputy leader, Tom Watson, has demanded that  artists and their free movement across Europe will not be affected by Britain’s departure from the EU.

Speaking at the third anniversary celebration of the Creative Industries Federation, Watson (pictured below) said it was not known under what terms Britain would leave the EU, or whether there would be a deal at all. “But the government needs to reassure us that they will make sure that Brexit doesn’t lead to us being culturally isolated from Europe and the world.

“And we're going to continue to press on Brexit. We want to know what it means to this sector, on the implications on for European artists and performers who’ve made careers here, on British artists and performers working in the EU, on touring productions and exhibitions and much more, and on making sure we can still benefit from European funding bodies like Creative Europe - or else money replaced in full.”

He was sharing the platform with the newly promoted culture secretary Matt Hancock and the business secretary Greg Clark, who sought to give reassurance that “the industrial strategy for this country has the cultural industries at its hub… You could not imagine a set of people or industries that better exemplify what we can do in this country in collaboration without our friends across the world”. He said he believed the government was close to making a good deal with Europe for the creative industries.

Matt Hancock said the creative industries were growing faster than ever, contributing almost £100bn to the UK economy annually. “Across the length and breadth of Britain, the power of culture and creativity is bringing people together like never before” he said.“The creative industries give a massive boost to our economy. Everyone deserves to be able to access them — regardless of your ethnicity, gender, background or taste.”

The event at the Natural History Museum was also the opportunity to launch Circus250, the 250th anniversary of the first circus, including a performance by Natasha Rushbook of the circus company Lost in Translation, pictured here.


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