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A quarter of Scotland’s arts workers are considering leaving post-Brexit – survey

Director of the FST Jude Henderson Director of the FST Jude Henderson
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Brexit has already had a negative impact on the work and business of more than half of Scotland’s arts workers, a new survey claims.

More than a quarter are also undecided about their future residency in Scotland or the UK if Brexit goes ahead.

Only 1% of the 341 respondents to the survey, carried out for the Federation of Scottish Theatres and the Scottish Contemporary Arts Network, said Brexit has had a positive impact, against 57% saying it has been negative. The remainder have seen no impact (20%) or do not know (22%).

However 87% said they expect Brexit to have a negative long term impact on their work, rising to 80% believing it will have a negative impact on the arts sector in Scotland over the next few years. Just 1% expect a positive impact, with 2% expecting no impact.

The barriers that the respondents most often expect to face post-Brexit are crossing borders (76%), funding (73%), arranging travel (71%), and getting visas (67%).

The survey shows that 26% of all respondents were considering or planning to leave Scotland and the UK after Brexit, rising to 57% of other EU nationals and 36% of nationals from outside the EU.

The survey was carried out from September 25 to October 8, 2018. Of the 341 responses, 93 were from those working in theatre, dance and other performing arts, with their responses closely reflecting the wider sector.

While 76% of theatre and dance respondents were UK nationals, 55% said they sometimes work outside the UK, slightly higher than for the whole survey.

Jude Henderson, director of the FST, said: “The research confirms what we hear every day from our members.

“Scotland’s performing arts practitioners and companies are connected and renowned worldwide, and have especially strong and productive links with our European partners.

“The potential loss of talent, networks and funding post-Brexit threatens access to arts and culture at home as well as making Scotland less visible around the world.”

The survey was carried out by Edinburgh-based independent consultancy Ruthless Research to feed into the Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee’s ongoing monitoring and scrutiny of the Article 50 withdrawal negotiations and their implications for Scotland.

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