Liberal Democrats have backed calls from Sir Elton John for the UK Government to urgently resolve the growing crisis facing the UK cultural sector.
At their national Conference today, the party has unanimously backed calls for swift action to address the red tape and paperwork that is stopping UK artists, performers, and musicians from being able to tour and perform in Europe.
Sir Elton has been a vocal critic of the Government’s failure to resolve this issue, which was caused following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU without a full scheme in place to enable paperless travel for performers.
Earlier this year, Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Paul Strasburger hosted a meeting between Sir Elton and Lord Frost, the Government’s chief Brexit negotiator and now Minister for EU Relations, to discuss the difficulties caused to the cultural sector by the current Brexit arrangements.
Alongside these calls, the party are also calling for the UK to rejoin the Erasmus Plus study scheme – something former Lib Dem Education Minister Kirsty Williams achieved in Wales – extending the Youth Mobility Scheme, and establishing a European Cultural Fund to ensure young people can access opportunities regardless of their backgrounds.
Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said: “This Conservative Government has zealously allowed their pursuit of Brexit at all costs to seriously undermine the UK’s world leading cultural sector.
“Elton John is right. Unless Boris Johnson agrees to listen to the concerns of the industry and works to resolve them then thousands of young people and artists will be left unable to tour due to paperwork and additional costs.
“1-in-8 jobs in the UK are linked to the cultural sector and the industry is worth over £110bn to the UK economy. Given we are already facing the monumental challenge of rebuilding following the pandemic, we cannot afford to put so many livelihoods at risk due to Government inaction.
“The Government must not let the sun go down on UK performers. They must work to rebuild our cultural links with Europe and ensure everyone is able to travel, study, perform, and learn on the continent.”