Written by Shona Smith on Jan 17, 2019. Posted in General Interest

UK creative industries react to Brexit deal defeat

The UK creative sector have reacted to the overwhelming defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. In the wake of the unprecedented defeat , advertising sector associations have released statements on the potential impact of Brexit, and executives from across the creative industries have signed a letter urging the Government to support a People’s Vote.

The UK Ad Industry responded to the Brexit deal defeat in a series of statements urging the Government to avoid a no-deal Brexit and outlining the essential negotiations needed to protect the advertising industry from adverse impacts of Brexit.

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive of the Advertising Association urged the Government to quickly come up with “a viable alternative to reduce uncertainty for business and the UK as a whole” adding that “we would rather have no-deal taken off the table, given its potentially huge disruptive nature Falling back to World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms would leave the industry facing a number of non-tariff barriers as most advertising restrictions around the world are rooted in domestic regulation”.

Woodford outlined three essentials that the government must negotiate for the advertising industry: “continued cross-border data flows; plurality of broadcasting channels to carry cross-border advertising; and a flexible migration system that allows continued access to the best talent”. In summation, he writes that “the choices we make over the next few weeks will determine our post-Brexit success and if there is a flexible, business friendly system we will have higher growth and stronger exports, than if we have a highly-restrictive regime, which would only benefit our international competitors”.

Chris Combemale, CEO of Digital Marketing Association concured, arguing that a no-deal Brexit “would create severe uncertainty for the data and marketing sector and could potentially bring EU to UK data flows to a halt. This would have further knock-on effects on the UK public, with jobs moving to the EU and investment also decreasing”.

Moreover, he underlines the need for further negotiation with the EU explaining that “the UK needs to be granted adequacy status by the EU Commission but the process can take years to complete. Adequacy status allows personal data to be freely exchanged, just like the EU currently does as a member of the EU. There must be a transitional period for the UK to gain adequacy status and therefore prevent disruptions to the free flow of data”. “We believe the UK cannot retain its position as a global leader in data, technology and marketing if we do not have an Adequacy deal on future data flows with Europe”.

Steve Davies, Chief Executive of the Advertising Producers Association explained “our campaign focus, through the AA, has been on ensuring that the Government understands the need to access overseas talent post Brexit, which is particularly critical to our VFX members, who have become the best in the world and rely on the world’s best talent to stay there”. He concludes by saying we also know that in the short term, at least, there will be chaos and an economic downturn, with a real effect on real people, in terms of unemployment and living standards” and that “a new referendum can’t work. It would be impossible to even agree the questions. The Government should just cancel Brexit. Some people would be fed up (actually quite a few) but it is the only responsible course for the Government to take, in my view”.

Click here to read the statements in full.

Executives from across UK creative sectors have joined British business leaders in signing a letter urging the Government to call a People’s Vote. According to the Guardian, the letter which will be printed in tomorrows Times reads the only viable way to avoid a "chaotic crash-out from the EU" is "by asking the people whether they still want to leave the EU. With the clock now ticking rapidly before we are due to quit, politicians must not waste any more time on fantasies. We urge the leadership of both the main parties to support a People’s Vote”. The remainder of the letter argues that businesses who did back the PM’s deal feel the government must now prioritise preventing a chaotic crash-out from the EU.

According to Broadcast, creative industry leaders to have signed the letter include Richard Johnson, CEO of Endemol Shine, Laura Marshal, managing director of Icon Films, Sean Costelloe from the Mill, Neil Hatton of Screen Alliance, Cara Sheppard Warner Brothers De Lane Lea and Will Cohen, Milk Visual Effects.

It remains unclear what path the government will take going forward, but neither the house leaders or opposition currently advocate holding a People’s Vote. May is expected to put the Plan B draft to a parliamentary vote on 29th January.

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