Stephen has lead a debate in Parliament about the effect Brexit may have on British Orchestras.
Stephen expressed his fears about the impact of Brexit, particularly in a no-deal scenario. He noted the business models of British orchestras is highly dependent on touring income, and Europe is their biggest market. However, Brexit looks set to threaten the financial viability of such tours as costs will be higher. These include increased medical insurance, paperwork to transport instruments, additional border delays, and the expense of work permits.
Stephen asked the Minister to alleviate the concerns of British orchestras, who have also been hit by a reduction in public funding and corporate sponsorship since 2010. Many orchestras have contracts signed with promoters in the EU for beyond March 2019 and are set to lose money from any additional costs which follow the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Other orchestras have found that promoters are unwilling to book them such are the uncertainties surrounding Brexit.
Following the debate Stephen said “…it would be a real shame if we were to lose orchestras because of Brexit. I hope the Minister will now give some assurances about maintaining the level of public funding, and consider establishing an International Touring Fund.”