Equity’s view on the Brexit White Paper

Equity will be producing a comprehensive response to the Government’s policy paper on The United Kingdom’s exit from, and new partnership with, the European Union. In the mean time, we would like to make the following initial comments on the contents of the paper:

Funding

Equity welcomes the Government’s stated intention to consult closely with stakeholders to review all EU funding schemes in the round, to ensure any ongoing funding commitments best serve the UK’s national interests. The creative industries are vital to the economic future of the UK but are particularly vulnerable to the withdrawal of a number of funding schemes including Creative Europe. We urge the Government to look carefully at the existing funding streams for this sector and the impressive returns on investment and ensure continuing support.

Northern Ireland/Ireland

We note the Government’s intention to “protect the ability to move freely between the UK and Ireland, north-south and east-west, recognising the special importance of this to people in their daily lives”. We strongly oppose the imposition of a hard border on the island of Ireland. A hard border, combined with uncertainty about future funding for production could compromise the success of the Northern Ireland film and TV industries.

Freedom of movement

We also note the Government’s intentions to ensure that “businesses and communities have the opportunity to contribute their views on freedom of movement” and to also ensure “ontinued mobility of talented individuals and groups”. In our view, Government must ensure that entertainment industry workers are able to work across the EU post-Brexit with minimum administrative burdens including negotiation of an EU wide working visa for the entertainment sector as an urgent priority, or better still, a commitment to negotiating a continuing arrangement to facilitate freedom of movement for performers across the EU post Brexit.

Workers’ Rights

The Government has restated its commitment to not only “safeguard the rights of workers set out in European legislation, but to enhance them”.  This commitment must also extend to protecting and improving employment rights for atypical and freelance workers particularly in the area of holiday rights and pay. The UK must also keep pace with future improvements to protections for these workers enacted at EU level.