NEWS & VIEWS
Photo © Alex Brenner

Triggering Article 50 and the House of Commons: a message from Samuel West, Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts

It is now confirmed that Parliament must legislate to trigger Article 50 and begin negotiations for the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU. You may be thinking about contacting your MP about what questions they should consider before casting their vote.

This is a good moment to tell your MP about the key issues for the arts and the assurances that are needed to make sure artists and audiences are not damaged by Brexit.  Please consider asking your MP to make their support for triggering Article 50 conditional on the following:

1. UK arts organisations must continue to have access to funding from the Creative Europe programme or UK arts funding must be increased proportionately to fund the deficit. In a recent survey by Arts Council England almost 10% of responding arts organisations had benefitted from funding from this programme.

2. Higher Education needs to continue to be able to access EU funds or UK funding needs to be increased proportionately. Higher Education is both vital for the development of creative talent in the UK and is also becoming an increasingly important funder of the cultural infrastructure in the UK.

3. EU nationals currently employed in the UK must be able to stay after Britain has left the EU. To maintain our world-leading status in the creative sector, arts organisations and audiences must continue to benefit from the creative talents from the EU that have made their home in the UK.

4. The UK should retain tariff-free access to the EU market for goods and services and the government should support showcasing opportunities for arts and culture in other current and developing global markets. Arts Council England reports that 56% of the UK’s exports of music, performing arts and visual arts went to Europe in 2014, worth £362 million to the economy and invaluable to thousands of artists who rely on exporting to the EU.

5. Relevant EU laws and regulations must be maintained or improved upon. Artists and arts organisations in the UK currently benefit from EU laws and regulations relating to copyright, intellectual property, artist re-sale rights and VAT exemption. Removing these would threaten our position as a world leader in the arts and creative industries.

6. ‘Brexit’ must not add administrative burdens to the movement of artists and art between the EU and the UK. This is essential to ensure UK audiences continue to have access to great art from the EU and that UK arts organisations can tour easily in the EU.

If you want further background to the issues and potential impact of ‘Brexit’ for the cultural sector, reports have been published by both Arts Council England and the Creative Industries Federation. If you are unsure how to contact your MP, details are available on this website.

If there are other areas in which you think assurances are required to safeguard the arts, the National Campaign for the Arts would be keen to hear from you. Please email hello@forthearts.org.uk.

Samuel West
Chair, National Campaign for the Arts