We, the signatories of this letter, represent businesses from across the UK film and television industry and are writing to express our concerns over Brexit in any form.
The UK is a world leader in post-production, film and television production, visual effects, television broadcast, TV and film equipment manufacture and sales, systems integration and many more related areas employing thousands of people and contributing millions of pounds both directly and indirectly to the economy.
UK made television programs and films are the entertainment choice of millions of people around the UK and hundreds of millions worldwide. Many productions are co-funded with European and international partners who recognise the value of what we do.
Brexit is a dire threat to our industry. Leaving the EU’s customs union, single market, VAT area and regulatory framework (in whole or part) will rip up the bedrock on which we operate and cause us grave harm.
The following areas are particularly key to our businesses:
- Freedom of movement of peopleThe UK creative industries workforce is made up of between 20% and 40% (depending on industry segment) EU nationals who hold no UK citizenship. These people and their skills are critical to our success as a centre for international production and broadcast. Also creatives, people in supporting services and other industry people such as equipment vendors and system integrators rely on being able to work and travel within the EU without the restriction of visa or permit. This flexibility must be protected.
- Freedom of movement of goodsToday TV and film companies enjoy frictionless movement of equipment around the EU. Film and Television is a ‘just in time' industry. Whether it’s production equipment or film stock being sent to location, hardware purchased from a European vendor, trade show goods or spare parts moving between EU locations no duty, VAT or carnet is required. Any extra delay in this process will add cost or complexity and make companies based in the UK less competitive.
- Clarity on the Audio-Visual Media Services (AVMS) DirectiveCurrently broadcasters can choose the UK as their centre of operations and are able to broadcast into other EU countries. Right now around 1,200 channels are currently played out of the UK (compared to say Germany, the second largest in the market with around 200 channels). Without an extension of this agreement or new rules broadcasters could be forced to move channels to another EU country to maintain their operation before 29th March 2019.
We believe that no deal or a bad deal will cause massive damage to our country and our industry. No-one voted for this situation. The current deal offers no guarantees to our industry. It is critical to find a way out of this mess and therefore we ask you to support a People’s Vote (with an option to remain in the EU) to allow our industry, our consumers and the country a say on the final Brexit outcome.