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Festivals could face ‘severe difficulties’ due to Brexit, minister warns

Fiona Hyslop has told MSPs that EU artists could encounter problems accessing cultural events in Scotland.

A busy Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Jane Barlow/PA)
A busy Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Jane Barlow/PA)

Any form of Brexit could cause “severe difficulties” for Scottish festivals, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has suggested.

Speaking at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, Ms Hyslop told MSPs the UK’s immigration policy after Brexit could be a “disaster” for EU artists.

Last year, Edinburgh International Festival director Fergus Linehan raised concerns the 2019 event would have to be scaled back if the Brexit scenario turned out to be a “catastrophic” one.

The disaster that awaits in terms of the Brexit immigration policy for the UK will severely damage our festivals Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop

Ms Hyslop said: “It’s absolutely vital that we recognise the threat of Brexit to our cultural life in Scotland.

“Not just a no-deal Brexit but an any-deal Brexit will cause severe difficulties.

“We know in terms of immigration that currently, non-EU artists really struggle in terms of getting access to our festivals and quite often in terms of cancellations at last minute, even when we can try to appeal some of those issues.

“If you then apply that to all EU artists, the disaster that awaits in terms of the Brexit immigration policy for the UK will severely damage our festivals and that is why it has to be resisted.”

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