1. Executive Summary

• British orchestras are a global success story, touring across the major continents and forging new markets in emerging economies. They have contributed to the UK Government and devolved administrations’ ambitions for ‘soft power’ and cultural exchange. Europe, however, remains one of their most important marketplaces.


• British orchestras have been adept at maximising the return on their public investment through earned income, contributed income, and international touring. Any negative impact to the cultural economy that may result from Brexit will damage their financial viability.


• Touring is intrinsic to the orchestral business model. Any imposition of visas, carnets and other tariffs and barriers when touring into the EEA will damage our members’ ability to serve as cultural ambassadors for the UK. Of particular importance is the A1 form, which prevents the deduction of social security payments when musicians work in another EEA country. It is also important to point out that contracts with promoters in the EEA have already been signed for tours taking place beyond March 2019.

• British orchestras have benefited from freedom of movement and access to talent from across the EEA, with some orchestras now seeing more than 20% of their musicians coming from other EU countries. Were restrictions to be imposed by the British Government on EEA citizens, this would damage our members’ international reputation and financial sustainability.


• The ABO believes it would be in the best interests of British orchestras, and the wider classical music industry, to retain access as much as possible to the current benefits of membership of the European single market, including freedom of movement across borders for EU and UK musicians. We are also concerned at the UK losing influence over future European regulations, which may add to the cost and bureaucracy of touring into the EEA.