Leaving the EU: Tourism and the Creative Industries — [Mr Peter Bone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:10 pm on 17th April 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 4:10 pm, 17th April 2018

As I was saying, the UK’s creative industries likewise require access to skilled workers from the European Union. It is important that UK and EU workers can quickly and efficiently transfer across member states on time-limited projects such as film co-productions, or as touring musicians and performers.

I have spoken to a number of tourism industry leaders since taking on this role, to build a strong understanding of the challenges and opportunities on freedom of movement and to ensure that the sector can continue to have access to the necessary skills. We are working closely with the Home Office, Revenue and Customs and the Department for Exiting the European Union to ensure that they are well informed of these issues. The new immigration system will not come into place until 2021, following the agreed implementation period. During that time, existing arrangements will broadly continue to apply to EU citizens coming to the UK to visit, work or study.

I turn now to the UK’s reputation as a tourism destination. Tourism continues to be a significant success for the UK. In 2017, the World Economic Forum found that the UK had the fifth most competitive tourism market in the world. Europe is our key market. The projected figures for 2017 are that, of the 39 million visits to the UK, nearly two thirds were by EU residents. Outbound as well as inbound visits are important and, similarly, of the 71 million visits overseas by UK residents, it is projected that three quarters were to other EU countries. Clearly, it is in both the UK’s and the EU’s interests to maintain this ease of travel and smooth entry at the border. We are also working closely with industry partners to promote transparency for consumers, and internationally to promote open global markets.

We are pressed for time, but another matter that I want to mention is access to EU funding streams for tourism and the creative industries. To provide some certainty for our sectors in the near future, Members will know that at the joint press conference between the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and Michel Barnier on 19 March this year it was confirmed that UK organisations could continue to bid for EU programmes until December 2020. Details of the next multiannual financial framework are expected later this year, and that will provide greater clarity on our position. We will seek to stay beyond December 2020 in programmes that are mutually beneficial to the UK and EU and will continue to actively investigate the funding streams that support our sectors.

On the regulatory framework, the UK and EU already have close regulatory alignment built on trust in one another’s institutions. That co-operation will continue. Discussions include European legislation on consumer protection as well as regulations on temporary working arrangements.

Brexit presents both challenges and opportunities for these sectors, as it does for the whole of the United Kingdom. Although much of the public debate focuses on the challenge, I have huge confidence in the tourism and creative industry sectors and in their abilities to capitalise on the exciting opportunities. I am keen that the Government should continue to support tourism—they will, so long as I am Minister for tourism, and beyond—and the creative industries at this very important time, listening to the views of our stakeholders. I would likewise be pleased to stay engaged with parliamentary colleagues on this topic. I firmly believe that tourism and the creative industries will continue to be a major economic driver for the UK and will only grow in importance in the years ahead. There is no reason to believe that the upward trends will not continue as we exit the European Union. Our culture and creativity play a huge role in making the UK a highly attractive place to visit and work.