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  • Dominic McGonigal

Unfortunately, we were right…

Brexit decision - to stay or to go?

In 2016, we canvassed political opinion to assess the likely outcome for the creative industries. This pointed clearly to a hard Brexit in all the key areas. A comprehensive 16 pages report by C8, of expert opinion and analysis on the scope and implications of the EU-UK trade agreement, outlined grim expectations specifically for:

1. Touring musicians Touring musicians who would not be able to move freely thus making most of their live activity, that is so crucial to develop their career, non-feasible. They are now being forced to apply for a separate visa in each member state as well as paying extra fees for carrying their gear. Currently, this petition to ‘Seek Europe-wide Visa-free work permit for Touring professionals and Artists’ has 284,245 signatures. The 16th of February, Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage is being questioned by MPs today over the over failure to reach agreement with EU on visa-free touring. 1. Broadcasters Broadcasters who were expected to move their licences away from the UK in order to be able to broadcast in the EU. Unfortunately we can see now that this includes Discovery, ViacomCBS, Sony Pictures, MTV, etc. who all started the move in 2018and they are not done yet. According to the research, a further 319 channels may need to relocate in order to continue enjoying unfettered access to the EU market. 3. The availability of creative freelancers. Pre-Brexit, more than 50% of creative firms engaged freelancers in the previous year. Once travel resumes post Covid, they’ll be faced with barriers to hiring freelancers. Creative companies in the UK will not so easily be able to source skills from the highly specialised freelancer market in the EU. Part of the success of the UK creative industries has been the availability of world class freelance talent.

In 2016, right after the UK voted to leave the EU our team of experts were remarkably accurate in predicting what would happen the next 5 years. Here we are now, the calendar has turned to 2021, and indeed creative businesses do face a hard Brexit.

To develop this report, C8 canvassed experts on the likely impact of Brexit on the creative industries. Politicians from across the political spectrum, EU officials, UK civil servants and public affairs and creative industries executives gave their expert opinion on the timing and scope of the trade deal to replace the UK’s membership of the EU.

Read or re-read the full report below:

C8 MR A Hard Brexit For Creative Busines
Download • 41KB

Dominic McGonigal is Chairman of C8 Associates, a consultancy dedicated to taking creative businesses to the next level. He also chairs two creative startups, CICI and JazzUK. Read more at

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