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Brexit will ‘damage business models’ for arts organisations – survey

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More than three quarters of the arts and culture sector believe UK productions will be damaged if freedom of movement within Europe is reduced.

The finding comes from a new Arts Council England report, which claims increased administration costs from any further restrictions on movement are “likely to damage” business models across the sector.

The survey asked 1,013 organisations how they thought leaving the European Union would affect the arts in the UK.

It reveals that, of 267 applicable responses, 75.3% said this would affect their UK productions by having a negative impact on their ability to bring artists and organisations into the UK.

A large number of those surveyed were worried that barriers on bringing artists into the UK would result in a dip in artistic quality.

Threats highlighted by arts organisations included “less sharing of skills, ideas and practice, and a less convivial environment for artistic risk”.

Moreover, 70.8% said reduced freedom of movement would be bad for future touring work within the EU.

The report concludes: “Increased administration burdens for those touring work outside the UK, and for incoming work into the UK, are likely to damage business models of arts and culture organisations”.

It echoes similar findings by a recent Creative Industries Federation report, in which arts leaders demanded that EU workers already in the UK be able to stay after a so-called Brexit.

Responses to the Arts Council survey came from representatives of arts and cultural organisations, museums, local authorities, artists, industry bodies and Music Education Hubs.

According to the report, about one in 10 organisations have received funding from EU funding body Creative Europe. It also notes smaller organisations are “particularly reliant” on EU funding.

Nearly two thirds of the Arts Council’s national portfolio organisations have done international work within the last three years, and earned £34 million from doing so in 2014/15. According to the report, 59% of this activity took place in the EU.

It also estimates that 6% of NPOs receive more than three quarters of their income from international activity.

The report concludes that Arts Council England should contribute to government discussions about freedom of movement, to make sure the voice of the arts is represented.

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