Palace of Westminster

An Open Letter to Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries

30 June 2016

Dear Mr Vaizey, 

Following the outcome of last week’s referendum, I am writing to seek assurances, not just on behalf of the company I founded nearly fifty years ago – around the same time the United Kingdom was negotiating its entry into the European Economic Community – but on behalf of my many colleagues within the classical music industry who share my concerns. 

Brexit is bad for business in general and particularly bad for the UK’s hugely successful cultural sector which generates over £80 billion per year to our economy, a substantial percentage of which is in exports to the European Union. As an example, over 45% of our income comes from the EU, and we are currently developing a wide-range of international cultural projects, many of which will take place in countries within the EU, and feature artists and ensembles based in one of its member states. 

But my concerns go much deeper. Brexit is at odds with the values we at HarrisonParrott hold dear. The EU has been at the heart of an international movement to share an enriching diversity of languages, cultures and aspirations, and celebrate the good of humanity. It has brought prosperity to hundreds of millions of European citizens and has been an important catalyst in restoring democracy, civil societies and freedom of movement and diversity of opportunity to many of those millions who previously lived under Communism or Fascism. 

We at HarrisonParrott are deeply committed to the idea that our business and our lives benefit immensely from the fact that our artists and our staff share such a diverse range of nationalities, languages and cultures. As such, we employ a significant number of EU nationals who, alongside colleagues from the UK and elsewhere, work tirelessly on behalf of clients. 

I am therefore asking you – on behalf of my company, my colleagues and our industry – to work with your government colleagues to ensure that: 

  1. the UK continues to be a member of, or has unrestricted and favourable access to, the Single Market;
  2. businesses like ours can continue to hire EU nationals without increased red tape, and;
  3. can give assurances to the EU nationals we employ that their rights to work and remain here will be protected. 

What is clear from last week’s results, and the events that have followed, is that the UK is a divided nation, and Europe a divided continent. We believe the creative industries have both the power and responsibility to address these issues and, with your support, we can continue to develop a diverse and inspiring programme of cultural activities which encourage understanding, empathy and respect, delivered by a multi-national team who feel secure and valued. 

Yours sincerely,

Jasper Parrott
Executive Chairman, HarrisonParrott
www.harrisonparrott.com

cc.
The Rt. Hon. John Whittingdale MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 
Keith Nichol, Head of Cultural Diplomacy, Department for Culture, Media and Sport 
Sir John Sorrell CBE, Chairman of the Creative Industries Federation 
Mark Pemberton, Director of the Association of British Orchestras 
Atholl Swainston-Harrison, Chief Executive of International Artist Managers’ Association 
Kimon Daltas, Editor, Classical Music Magazine