Wednesday 12 December 2018

Creative industry bosses air concern over post-Brexit immigration rules

Bosses from the worlds of TV, music, film and fashion have backed a new report by the CIF.

Caroline Rush
Caroline Rush

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

The head of the production company behind television shows Peaky Blinders and Broadchurch has said that a post-Brexit crackdown on immigration would “negatively impact” creative industries in the UK.

Richard Johnston, the CEO of Endemol Shine UK – which also produces Black Mirror, MasterChef and The Island, has joined a number of high profile executives across entertainment and fashion in supporting a report commissioned by trade body the Creative Industries Federation (CIF).

The CIF has warned that the UK’s creative sectors – which generate £87 billion for the economy – could be harmed by restrictive immigration rules.


Ministers have been warned that the end of freedom of movement within the European Union could pose a “huge risk to the creative industries”, as they often rely on freelancers moving from job to job at short notice.

Mr Johnston said that the production company’s “hit shows which sell internationally and make our television industry the envy of the world” could not be made “without highly skilled crews, and right now these can be incredibly hard to find, especially in scripted programming where demand currently outstrips supply”.

He said: “From artists to directors, composers to cinematographers, we need to employ the very best people from all over the world – to make the very best television in the world.

“We clearly need to do more to develop our own skilled professionals for this booming sector, and in my role as chair of Creative Skillset I am working with the screen-based creative industries to do exactly that.”

Mr Johnston added: “But making it harder for skilled workers to work with us would, without doubt, negatively impact our industry.”

The CEO of the British Fashion Council, Caroline Rush, has aired her concern that the fashion industry will “become very parochial in our views and less diverse” if the coming and going of international talent to the UK is stymied.

She said: “London is the most diverse, multicultural and open city in the world and we fiercely want to protect that reputation.”

Caroline Rush

Isabel Davis, head of international at the British Film Institute (BFI), said that both the UK and European film industries benefit from freedom of movement.

She said: “EU status allows UK personnel to work in any grade on films produced under co-production treaties signed by member states and equally, the UK’s treaties recognise EU/EEA workers in our agreements and cultural test.”

Ms Davis said that, in order to continue to enjoy “a mutual, creative and commercially successful” relationship with European partners in film, “we must aim to maintain such recognition with the EU and EEA for our people, goods and services”.

Geoff Taylor, the CEO of the Brit Awards and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), said that it is “vital” for those in the British music industry to have “unrestricted access to international territories, helping to boost British music exports in the process”.

He also said that “leading global talent must also be free to visit our shores and contribute to our dynamic music economy”, which is worth more than £4 billion annually.

“The need for a fit-for-purpose visa and immigration system that meets the complex requirements of the recorded and live music sectors and the wider creative industries is greater than ever,” he said.

“Failure to secure this would jeopardise not only the competitive edge and success that we have worked so hard to achieve, but our reputation as a global leader.”

Press Association

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