Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol

Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee

28/02/2024

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Alun Davies
Carolyn Thomas
Delyth Jewell Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Llyr Gruffydd
Tom Giffard

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Alison Woods NoFit State
NoFit State
Andy Warnock Undeb y Cerddorion
Musicians’ Union
Bill Hamblett Theatr Byd Bach
Small World Theatre
Carwyn Donovan BECTU
BECTU
Dr Enrique Uribe Jongbloed Media Cymru
Media Cymru
Dyfrig Davies TAC
TAC
Luke Hinton Cymdeithas yr Hyrwyddwyr Annibynnol
Association of Independent Promoters
Simon Curtis Equity
Equity
Stephanie Bradley Opera Cenedlaethol Cymru
Welsh National Opera

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Anisah Johnson Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Haidee James Ail Glerc
Second Clerk
Lleu Williams Clerc
Clerk
Manon Huws Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
Robin Wilkinson Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Sara Moran Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Tanwen Summers Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor yn y Senedd a thrwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:29.

The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.

The meeting began at 09:29.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Bore da. Hoffwn i groesawu'r Aelodau i'r cyfarfod hwn o'r Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol. Dŷn ni wedi derbyn ymddiheuriadau y bore yma gan Hefin David. Oes gan unrhyw Aelodau fuddiannau i'w datgan? Dwi ddim yn gweld bod, felly mi wnawn ni fynd yn syth ymlaen.

Good morning. I'd like to welcome Members this meeting of the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee. We have received an apology this morning from Hefin David. Do Members have any declarations of interest to make? I see that there are none, so we'll go straight on.

09:30
2. Diwylliant a’r berthynas newydd â’r Undeb Ewropeaidd: sesiwn dystiolaeth gydag undebau llafur (3)
2. Culture and the new relationship with the European Union: evidence session with trade unions (3)

Mi wnaf i ofyn i'r tystion gyflwyno eu hunain ar gyfer y record. Mi wnaf i fynd at bwy sydd yn gyntaf ar fy sgrin, felly mi wnaf i fynd at Simon yn gyntaf.

I'll ask the witnesses to introduce themselves for the record. I'll turn to the first person on my screen, so I'll turn to Simon first.

I'm Simon Curtis. I'm the national official for Wales for Equity.

Bore da. I'm Andy Warnock. I'm the regional organiser for Wales and south-west England for the Musicians' Union.

Helo. Bore da, a diolch am y cyfle i siarad â chi heddiw.

Hello. Good morning, and thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this morning.

I'm Carwyn Donovan, and I am the negotiations officer working for the BECTU sector of Prospect.

Thank you so much, all of you. You won't need to control your mics, so when you come in, the technicians will be unmuting you for you on your behalf.

Mi wnawn ni symud yn syth at gwestiynau, os mae hynny'n iawn gyda chi. Yn gyntaf, allech chi osod mas i ni, plis, faint o waith trawsffiniol oedd gweithwyr diwylliannol o Gymru wedi gwneud cyn gadael yr Undeb Ewropeaidd, a sut mae hynny efallai'n cymharu gyda'r sefyllfa nawr dŷn ni wedi gadael, ac os oes yna unrhyw is-sectorau sy'n cael eu heffeithio yn fwy nag eraill gyda hyn? Pwy bynnag sydd eisiau mynd yn gyntaf, os dŷch chi eisiau dangos llaw. Carwyn. 

We'll go straight to questions, if that's okay with you. First of all, could you set out how much cross-border work cultural workers from Wales did before the UK left the EU, and how this compares with the situation now that we have exited the EU, and whether there are any subsectors that are affected more than others by this? Whoever wants to go first, if you could indicate please. Carwyn. 

Diolch. I don't have any data to share with you on the level of work that was going, only to reflect that we had in the UK a world-class entertainments industry, which was thriving, which has gone to struggling. There are a number of subsectors within that; we've got the cultural and theatrical performances—opera and theatre et cetera—but we've got the live events industry then, which has also been very adversely affected. It had been renowned for its skills and its expertise, with many BECTU members working in the live events sector contributing to its success. It's a sector that's excelled both in terms of performers and musicians as well. But there's also another sector that we have to consider, and that was the logistical support staff, which drew a lot of particularly US performers to start the European legs of their tours in Britain. I think the lack of a language barrier was also a factor in there. But the point that attracted them was the ability to pick up good, trusted crews in Britain, and to start their European tours from here. Thank you.

Diolch. Thanks. I don't necessarily have any statistics on how many people, how much work there was into the EU before, but I would definitely say there was a significant amount of work. To give some perspective, in 2022, the UK music sector contributed £6.7 billion in gross value added to the UK economy, which was three times the steel sector. It was worth £4 billion in exports. The UK has been one of only three countries in the world that is a net exporter of music to the world. In Wales, there was £243 million GVA, and £115 million of that was live music, with 7,790 jobs. And then when you look at the stats from the UK Music creators survey, 30 per cent of respondents said their earnings had been affected since the UK's official exit in 2020. Of those whose income had been affected, 82 per cent said their earnings had decreased, and 43 per cent of those affected said it was no longer viable for them to tour in the EU. In another report, from the Independent Society of Musicians, almost half of respondents said they had less work in the EU after January 2021 than they did before. Over a quarter said they had no EU work at all. So, there's definitely a really significant effect.

I think the hard thing to quantify is it's hard in terms of the statistics to really prove the negative, especially in terms of people maybe who might be newer to the industry, or hadn't been doing so much work before. We know that we've had a huge volume of queries about work in the EU—I think over a thousand in the last few years—and we've probably had more that we haven't recorded. But it's hard to quantify the number who just don't get in touch, because they see the information out there, they hear what the situation is, they know how complicated it is and they just think, 'We just can't do it, and we don't need to ask anyone to know that we can't do it'. I think that's hard to quantify. And, I think, in terms of subsectors, I would say that this has a negative effect across the board. There is not one part of the music sector that has not been negatively affected by the change in our relationship with the EU. Hopefully that gives a bit of an overview to start with.

09:35

It does. Thank you, Andy. That's something that has come up in our evidence before—just how to quantify things that you can't necessarily put a number or a figure on, such as people's loss of appetite to overcome all the different hurdles. That's really helpful. Thank you so much. Unless anyone else wanted to come in, I will go to Llyr for the next question.

Diolch, Gadeirydd. I was going to ask about how this has impacted the financial viability of the creative professions in Wales, so I think Andy has given us a flavour of that. I was just wondering whether Carwyn or Simon had anything to add, and also whether we're seeing the new arrangement as having a disproportionate impact in relation to where artists are in terms of their career progression. Is it hitting younger professionals harder, maybe, than more established ones, or is there not a pattern that we can put our finger on?

Thanks for the question. I think Andy gave a very good explanation in his first answer as to the challenges that I think our members are facing. We don't have specific statistics, only looking at loss of opportunity—the fact that they see many adverts, many casting breakdowns, saying that they have to have an EU passport in order to work, in order to apply for the job. So, it is that loss of opportunity that I think is the biggest challenge. On whether it's impacting those coming into the sector, I think the answer for us would be 'absolutely', because I think the barriers then come down to, especially coupled with the cost-of-living crisis, looking at the cost. If you are going to overcome actually wanting to work in Europe, if you're going to want to apply for a visa and are going to want to pay for a visa, and all the additional admin that comes with it, if you're at the early stages of your career the employers within Europe are less likely to want to fund that.

We've got some anecdotal evidence from people, particularly working in opera, but not necessarily exclusively, who find employers in Europe who are willing to bear the cost of that additional admin. But if you're at the beginning of your career without that perhaps slightly international reputation, that barrier is just simply going to be there. And, actually, if you're weighing up the cost of bringing in young talent from within Europe or basically paying an added premium to bring in talent from the UK, people are making those decisions sometimes based on those economic factors, which provides that extra barrier to our members seeking work within Europe. 

I think the evidence that we gave was that 43 per cent of our members who we surveyed said that Brexit had affected their confidence at being able to find work in the arts and entertainment sector. And then, obviously, looking at the barriers that they would face if they then wanted to try and overcome those barriers was actually just looking at the uncertainty that was facing it. And then there are other statistics from other places that look at much higher figures of respondents looking at that sort of uncertainty.

In the absence of any data there, I can only share with you the testimony of a BECTU member who is working as a lighting designer. They were saying that the American-based productions, which I was mentioning just now, are simply not coming anymore. They've been told that, amongst other things, it isn't worth the risk: 'Too much red tape, having to deal with permits, carnets, cabotage et cetera, it's too time-consuming'. And he does reflect here on the fact that it's now harder for new technicians starting out wanting to gain valuable experience and insight from working abroad. He reflects that the idea that there is a generation that would not have the same ability to gain and add to that collective skill set is a shameful waste.

I think it's important to put that in the context that this is a significant change and a detriment that the industry is suffering, but it is at the end of many. We've come through a very difficult period of the pandemic, which, as you know, affected live events all over the world, but this is the last in a long line of significant challenges to the industry, making breaking into the industry and developing one's skills all the more challenging. 

09:40

Diolch. I think Andy wanted to add something before we carry on.

Yes, just briefly, I think it's important to differentiate between different areas of the creative industries. And so, for instance, in music, if you look at the more commercial sector, I think if you're a grass-roots artist starting out, it is absolutely going to be more complicated than it would have been before the exit from the EU, where you could just jump in a van and you could just go, basically. If you're a commercial artist, you need to find someone or find a way of dealing with the costs and the admin. Now, if you're a really established artist, if you've got a major label backing you who are going to be doing—. If you were doing an arena tour, there is absolutely a way of doing that, because you can cover that and you can make enough profit to cover what you're spending. If you're starting out, that's more difficult, and you're looking into the support with admin and things like that that you would need to do for working outside the EU, what they always would have done. 

I think if you're looking at the more arts and classical sector, then, for those organisations—I would say it's in their evidence, and I think you're talking to them later—that has absolutely had an effect on them across the board, because they are taking large groups of people, and looking at either longer tours or the one-off concerts is more difficult. So, I think it's a negative effect across the board, but it's the higher scale, more established, profit-driven commercial artists that are probably more easily able to cope with it, because they're likely to have the backing and the support and are making a profit to be able to offset some of the difficulty.

Okay. Thank you for that. And what about the reciprocal impact, then, because obviously there would have been cultural workers from the EU working in Wales prior to our departure from the EU? Do we have any figures, or can we quantify what level that was at and maybe the impact, or how that has changed since? If not, then we can move on, but just in case we do have something. No.

No, it's fine. That's absolutely fine. This isn't testing you. We want to hear from you on the things that you are able to tell us, so that's absolutely fine. Sorry, Andy, did you want to come in? Andy. If we can unmute Andy. Thanks.

Yes, I was just going to say that I think those figures are a lot harder to establish. I saw that Welsh National Opera in particular had some evidence on that, about the difficulty in getting artists to come and work with them and also replacing people who might not work at short notice. So, I don't think I've got any specific data on that, but I think that has definitely been a concern in the grass roots, and with venues around Wales falling off touring schedules—partly within the UK, and also with those touring from the EU—because of a combination of the ongoing effects of COVID and all the difficulties and costs of getting to venues in Wales, as opposed to venues in other places. So, I think that's a concern.

One of the figures I've got is that, in 2022, I think that there were 510,000 music tourists into Wales, and £218 million in music tourism spend. So, again, that's the scale of it. And what I don't think we have yet is how, maybe, that's changing over time and how much of that is from the EU. So, I think there's probably more data to get in that area.

Diolch. Thank you very much. 

Fe wnawn ni symund ymlaen at Tom.

We'll move on to Tom. 

Thank you. Can I just come back to you, Andy, on the very last point you made there about, perhaps, tours not coming to Wales specifically and where they may be coming to the UK as a whole? Have you got any indications of what the biggest drivers are that are preventing acts from coming to Wales specifically?

No, not necessarily, and I'd say that's fairly anecdotal evidence, to be honest, and probably things I've heard over a longer period of time. But, I would say that there have definitely been concerns over a period of time, starting from towards the end of the COVID period, about how the differences in restrictions and things like that in Wales compared to England were maybe having an effect. And I think the difficulties of people coming from the EU will absolutely have an effect. I can't quantify that; it's more anecdotal.

Thank you. Can I ask, are there any subsectors of the creative industries that have benefited in their work in the EU from the UK's new relationship with the EU?

09:45

Diolch yn fawr. I'm not aware of any, but, you know, in a similar fashion, I do have testimony here from BECTU member who is working as a sound engineer who wished to share with us that there is not a single way in which these restrictions have been beneficial to anyone that they had encountered working in the creative industries.

Okay. Thank you. And what about working outside of the European Union since the UK left? Have there been any new opportunities that have opened up?

Again, I don't think there's any specific—. I think it's anecdotal more than anything. I don't think there's been any major increase that we've seen exponentially across the sector. I think there is a great rush to find those opportunities. Unfortunately, I think the difficulty is we're also seeing the creative sector within the UK start to shrink. So, of course, we're looking and trying to find that work—you know, everybody is trying to find those new routes. So, the people that, perhaps, would have moved more freely into Europe, they're all trying to get those opportunities. But I don't have anything other than anecdotal evidence of the fact that they're just scrambling around for work, and the restriction of some of the sectors within the UK doesn't help that because they can't replicate the work they have here, they can't replicate the work they've lost from the EU within the UK creative sector.

Yes. I think there's definitely a sense of trying to look for other opportunities, and I think that probably includes those organisations that support artists and support the sector we work in. I think the problem is that the new relationship with the EU doesn't make working in other countries that are further away easier, especially, you know, for my members, when that work is either to do with rights, which, for the rest of the world, you know, haven't necessarily changed, or it's to do with travel, and that's still—. In fact, for the US, you know, they've been putting up the visa fees, so that's actually getting more expensive, and the kind of money and support for that kind of work, like, you know, for people going to South by Southwest or something like that, hasn't necessarily increased. I mean, if anything, actually, with budgets and things like that, we're seeing support for the sector shrink still. I'm sure people are looking at that, but I don't think there's necessarily been any improvement that I could point to.

Thank you. Can I ask what proportion of cross-border work for Welsh cultural workers takes place in Ireland, and has this changed in recent years?

I don't—. Go on, Simon. Sorry.

I was going to say I don't think there's, again, necessarily any massive increase from what was there before. There's certainly not been any evidence or any anecdotal evidence we've been given that shows that, suddenly, a new stream has opened up there.

No. And I'm afraid I don't have any statistics on that, but what I would say is that I think there are—because it's relevant to your question—some issues our members have found with travel from Holyhead, in terms of issues with goods movement, reference numbers and the fact that, I think, CITES certificates can't be stamped there. There are various kinds of administrative issues around Holyhead that our members have found, in terms of getting to Ireland, that, to be honest, don't make it easier. I'm afraid I don't think I've got any statistics on that specifically.

Ocê. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Llyr.

Okay. We'll move on to Llyr.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. I just wanted to ask about the guidance and support that's available out there, because, clearly, it's quite a fraught landscape and I was just wondering how different the needs of the cultural sector are in that respect to other sectors. Are we needing some particular bespoke advice or do you think that general advice is sufficient? How well do you feel served in that respect? Simon first.

I think that, you know, obviously, DCMS have a fairly comprehensive breakdown country by country, which is available for our members to look at. We signpost them towards that DCMS advice. Arts Council England also have guidance for, again, a country-by-country visa and work permit code and guide, and we have a guide internally, looking at what's required to work in Ireland. We've tried to put that out there and tried to signpost our members towards the guidance that's available. I think, by the very scale of the guidance that's there, we're having to break it down on a country-by-country basis. So, I think part of the challenge is that what may have been applicable in one country is not necessarily applicable elsewhere. I think that's perhaps where the complications are and I think that's what drives some of our narrative around what changes we'd like to see—the fact that the simplification of that kind of process would be beneficial. But I think there is sufficient guidance out there that we signpost our members to.

09:50

Can I just check you can hear me properly?

I'm having a few connection problems here in the office. But look, on the issue of the guidance there, I think this is a very serious problem, because all members have noted a serious and distinct lack of guidance, such to the extent that, when I was doing the research to pull this together for you today, what struck me was the most clear and thorough guidance had been provided by the industry itself. That was the best and most reliable sector-specific guidance, and I think that is a significant problem, because as an area that was left out of the new trading arrangements, what we effectively have here is a 'no deal' Brexit. This is one of the areas where we need more guidance rather than a lack of it, and an example of that is, going back to the touring and the transportation of vehicles and equipment, the question of duplicate lists versus the ATA carnet arrangements there. A duplicate list can only be used for entering an re-entering the UK border only, and HMRC's own forms say this. Now, once you reach the EU customs union area, you have to use the ATA carnet system, but people had gone to HMRC themselves and were told that the duplicate lists are okay, and that's true, but that's only true for the UK border. So, they were left in a position where they were great for the UK border, but left without any guidance then, due to HMRC saying, 'Well, that's where our border ends and that's where our advice ends.' So, that's been a significant problem for our members.

The guidance is complex. As Simon said, that's partly the nature of having to do things country by country, but then also, if you're looking just beyond the travel, if you look at the rules for merchandise, for instance, which, for bands and artists in particular, is going to be where they would have tried to make a significant amount of their money, they are really complicated. I find this stuff hard to follow, and it's my job to help people with it. So, I think if you're just an artist who's trying to do this just as one of many things you're trying to do, that's going to be even harder.

I think the problem is, as well, that it's not just the guidance. It's the risks we have with the implementation now, where, because this is different for us compared to everyone that's in the EU, what we find is that you can have real problems even if you think you've followed the guidance. If, on the day you try to travel in one direction or another and you come to someone on the border, an official, who's got a different interpretation to you, or they haven't read it, or frankly, sometimes, maybe they're just in a bad mood—who knows—you can get problems with just an individual that's dealing with you, where you might get a completely different answer to what one of our members had the previous day. We've had examples, including at Holyhead, actually, with these goods movement reference numbers, where people are just getting different answers, and sometimes you're just unlucky and you get caught up in these things. It's the same for carnets. Some of the guidance around when you, maybe, do not need a carnet because you're travelling with portable musical instruments is quite hard to interpret. There's just not the kind of clarity that there was before, and I think then even—[Inaudible.]—which I won't go on to, but the second question is, then, the implementation of it, where, especially, when you look at organisations like the Welsh National Opera, in their evidence—or NoFit State—they said it's taking weeks to complete stuff, even if you've got the people to do it and you understand it all. And that guidance, like you said—and I think Simon said—most of it has come from the industry, I would say, from my understanding, rather than from Government. 

09:55

Okay, thank you for that. So, you're finding yourselves having to fill a lot of the gaps, really, are you, in terms of providing that advice? Because we heard in a previous session from UK Music that they were talking to the UK Government about a central advice hub for the cultural sector. I'd imagine that's something you'd be keen to see come to fruition, because, clearly, you seem to be floundering a little bit in terms of trying to put bits together in terms of information. I understand that those talks have stalled, but that's maybe another issue that we can pick up as a committee. So, there's one question there. 

The other question I just wanted to ask as well was: Simon mentioned the need for simplification, and I think Carwyn spoke about issues with HMRC. We've referenced DCMS as well. Clearly, Welsh Government has a role to play. Where do you go to make these points? To whom do you make these representations about the guidance and support that's required? Do you go to the Deputy Minister here in Wales and expect the Welsh Government, then, to convey that to the UK Government? Or how does that work?

I think on a particular issue, we tend to drive that policy work through our liaisons with DCMS in London, because, for us, it's a UK-wide policy. So, that's driven by a policy officer in London for us. But I think, if you go back to the point about a central hub, part of it, going back to Andy's point as well, is around the consistency of advice—the consistency of both the advice given and the implementation of that advice. If you're having to go to multiple sources for that advice, there is a possibility that, as Andy mentioned, one person's interpretation will be slightly different from somebody else's, and what may have been okay for somebody on one trip will then be completely different for the next. And it is that consistency, I think, that, perhaps, is lacking. 

Okay. Can I just ask as well, then: television and film production, of course, is one of three centres of excellence in the Welsh Government's international strategy. What impact do the post-Brexit arrangements have on promoting Wales to the world as a centre of excellence for tv and film? Clearly, I'd imagine it's suffering from the same challenges. 

I don't have, necessarily, practical data on that. I think the movement of talent, looking at if they are going to film within Europe, then it becomes the scale of production as to whether they can then smooth that path in terms of the working permits and the visas et cetera, looking at some of the costs involved, whether it's cheaper to film in Europe—those things, historically, have been problematic. But I think it's—. I don't have very specific data on that. 

No, but you'd imagine, maybe, that trying to promote Wales on an international level as a centre of excellence is somewhat undermined, maybe, by the current situation in which the sector operates. 

I think the general thing we've seen is the fact that it's an additional barrier. The requirements provide a barrier that, in an industry that needs to move quickly, and needs to move at pace, and you need to be able to move people quickly—. If our members are wanting to go to do a particular job and go and move quite quickly to something, they've lost that possibility. They've lost that—. That is a barrier to them even being considered for something. And I think the same goes for making those decisions on moving stuff around and development work, that when there's an additional barrier, or an additional cost attached to something, it perhaps would deter somebody from perhaps looking in that direction.

Thanks. I think, Carwyn, you wanted to come in on this as well. 

Diolch yn fawr. And I think you're absolutely right to consider broadcasting within this. There are a number of concerns for us. Protection of cultural diversity remains to be a major element of all the EU's broadcast, theatrical, film and other cultural regulations. And directives such as Creative Europe exist to protect cultural diversity, and this is an area in which Wales has a particularly strong stake. But it's also directives like the audiovisual media services directive and the media programmes, as well as the wider Council of Europe Eurimages funding. We are very concerned that the regulatory divergence and our leaving of such funds will lead to a very significant weakening in the UK’s commitment to support a sustainable level of diversity in which cultures, languages, stories, settings, actors, writers and directors can prosper. But there's also a concern there that the EU has the collective ability to stand up to well-funded lobbyists from global media giants, and that the UK will struggle to avoid our regulators being cowed by huge organisations like Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Disney. And for that reason we urge everyone concerned to minimise the impact of that divergence, to rejoin the initiatives, like Eurimages, which includes non-EU countries, by the way, like Ukraine and Canada, and to ensure that the UK global screen fund is well-funded and resourced, and that it's able to work as closely as possible with our European partners, given our decision to leave the EU.

10:00

Ocê, diolch am hynny. Mi wnawn ni fynd at Alun Davies.

Thank you for that. We'll go to Alun Davies.

I'm grateful to witnesses this morning. This is very powerful evidence and, for the last half an hour you've described, very graphically, some of the issues your members are facing—the people you represent—and have been dealing with. And it all seems, from listening to you, to be an almighty mess. So, you haven't said anything positive in any way at all, even when you've been given the opportunity to do so. Now, that speaks, I think, as I said, very powerfully, about the situation we find ourselves in today. So, I wanted to see if we could pivot the conversation a little bit and think about, and if you can advise the committee—is there anything we can do to begin resolving some of the issues that you've described? Now, I recognise that most of these issues are structural issues and there won't be very much we can do until we rejoin the European Union, but in the meantime, are there any decisions or initiatives that either the Welsh Government or the UK Government could take to at least ameliorate the issues that you've described?

Thanks. I think there were some fire alarms going off around here, so I'm sorry about that. I think, yes, there are definite things that can be done, and I think I would start off by saying I think there needs to be a recognition that, as we've said, this is an acute problem for our industry and solutions need to be found as a priority. It should be a priority, I think. There was an interesting column by Stephen Bush in the Financial Times recently where it talked about the difference between what the UK's actual economy is and what some people would like the UK economy to be. And I think there's a real lack of recognition of the creative industries, and there has been for the last few years in relation to leaving EU, about how important the creative industries are to the economy compared to some things that, to be honest, tend to get a lot more attention, like the stats that I started with outlined.

So, I think it's about doing other things. It's about the guidance I think we've already mentioned. I think there's a sense that the Government has left that to the industry. I think that's certainly the sense I've had from my colleagues. So, I guess there's a role there for the UK Government in that, and potentially the Welsh Government. That's difficult, because this isn't devolved, but there's a role there maybe in helping with this. But there are practical things to be done, because it's around travel, it's about a visa-waiver agreement, it's about addressing the 90-days-out-of-180 restrictions, so that people can have more consistent rules across all of the EU member states, rather than this patchwork. So, you've got the overarching 90 days out of 180 you can travel, but then you've also got the patchwork within that of the requirements for the visas or work permits, and if you could have consistency on that, and some sort of visa-waiver agreement or agreement on touring visas or cultural workers—they're all sorts of things that people have called it—but something like that would be hugely significant. Then there are also more practical things, so, for instance, can you simplify the rules again about merchandise? Within those visa waiver things, can you work around rules for carnets?

There are practical things that can be done. I think I would certainly say that those absolutely should be priorities; there is an economic incentive to prioritising those. It's not just about the arts and creative industries being something that's nice to have; there's an economic thing here. Like I said, the UK is one of only three countries that has been a net exporter of music. We really, really don't want to lose that, and if we've got—. If bands are going across to Europe, or orchestras or whatever it is, they're getting audiences in France, or Spain, or wherever else it might be—well, that's an export, and I think there needs to be a recognition that that's economically important and that there are practical things that can be done, and I think, if we can rebuild trust and work on some of these issues, the practical issues, especially around the renewal of the trade and co-operation agreement, which I think is in 2026, that's something that absolutely, I would say, really, from our point of view, has to happen.

10:05

I think Andy has said it far more eloquently than I was going to say, because I think all of those things are practical solutions that we've certainly been calling for and the sector has been calling for since probably 2020 that could be put in place, and there's been a choice not to. And I think that's the thing: there's been a choice not to put them in place, despite the evidence that suggests that, actually, it would be hugely beneficial. And I know, in the evidence that we gave, there are some quotes—Lord Frost in particular, who was central to the negotiation of the withdrawal—admitting the fact that we should have done more. That narrative is there, and relatively easy fixes can be put in place. I think, going to Alun's point, yes, we could debate whether we should rejoin the EU; that's a discussion for another day, but, actually, we don't need to rejoin the EU in order to put these practical things in place.

Diolch yn fawr. Yes, much along the same lines there: what we need is a solution to this 90 in 180 days visa issue. One of the things, ironically, that struck me in preparing for this session today is the ability that EU member states had to work flexibly in policing its borders and the different arrangements—the myriad of different processes and arrangements that you have to take, depending on which member state you're working in, but they are all governed and trumped by the 90 days in 180 rule of that European Union area, and that, by the way, is also affected if one has been to a EU member state, perhaps, on holidays. So, if you take a two-week holiday in Spain, those 14 days will come off any work allowance under that arrangement, and I think that is a tragedy. Whilst there may well be practical things we can put in place to solve that, I want to come back to the fact that, until we do that, we are missing out on an opportunity to share our culture, our language and our arts and things like that with the rest of Europe because we are simply looked at as too complicated at the moment. Whilst there may be things that, 'You can do this', and if the guidance was there, even for us, what we have to address is the perception of other organisations across Europe that we are simply unobtainable, too complicated et cetera.

Diolch am hwnna.

Thank you for that.

I'm afraid we only have just over five minutes left of our scheduled session. We have one other Member to ask questions. With your permission, we might go a few minutes over, to finish at twenty past instead of quarter past, if that's all right. So, we'll move finally to Carolyn Thomas.

Thank you. I'm just going to ask you some questions regarding access to funding and networks. So, previously it's been said—. There have been calls for the UK to rejoin Creative Europe, and access to funding there was really important. So, do you support this view, and are there any other programmes or networks that would be a priority for Wales or the UK to rejoin, if possible?

10:10

Diolch. 'Yes' is the answer to that question. And a couple of programmes that I mentioned earlier, such as the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and MEDIA, would be examples that I'd give, as well as Eurimages.

Yes. Interestingly, a story popped up this morning, from four years ago, that reminded us that we were looking at—. Due to the exit from the EU, we lost €74 million in funding to the UK in 2018. Obviously, things have changed since then, but that's a film and tv funding body that we lost access to when we left, because we crashed out of Creative Europe as part of that. I think we've lost—£170 million lost in cultural funding since the exit is the evidence that we've been presented with. And the call was for that to be replaced. There were promises made around the fact that we wouldn't lose out from that funding being withdrawn, that that would be replaced from within the UK. We've not seen that, and I think that's the biggest challenge, that if there are places that—. There's been an increase in the funding to Creative Europe over that time, Europe has seen the benefit of increasing funding to the creative sector that we would have shared if we'd been part of that. So, I think the short answer is 'yes' to that.

I've heard that Creative Europe has received a lot of funding this year, so, yes. Okay. Are there any informal networks that could be of benefit to you now to help access? You know, previous EU networks—anything informally you can do, working together?

I'm not aware of any myself.

Okay. Diolch. Diolch, Carolyn. Is there anything else that you had wanted to get across that hasn't come up during the course of our questions this morning, please? No. Well, as Alun's already said, the evidence you've given us has been incredibly powerful, so thank you all ever so much. We won't need to go over our allocated time.

Felly, diolch yn fawr iawn i chi i gyd am y dystiolaeth.

So, thank you very much to all of you for your evidence.

A transcript of what's been said will be sent to you for you to check that it is an accurate representation of what's been said, and if there's anything that you think of later that you would like to add, of course you're welcome to write to us, but we really appreciate your time this morning.

Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi i gyd am fod gyda ni. Diolch yn fawr iawn.

Thank you very much for joining us this morning. Thank you.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Ac Aelodau, fe wnawn ni nawr gael egwyl fer o 10 munud ac ymgynnull eto—byddwn ni'n fyw eto am 10.25 a.m.

And Members, we'll now take a short break for 10 minutes and we'll reconvene—we'll be live once again at 10.25 a.m.

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:13 a 10:25.

The meeting adjourned between 10:13 and 10:25.

10:25
3. Diwylliant a’r berthynas newydd â’r Undeb Ewropeaidd: sesiwn dystiolaeth gydag ymarferwyr (4)
3. Culture and the new relationship with the European Union: evidence session with practitioners (4)

Croeso nôl. Dŷn ni'n symud yn syth at eitem 3, a rŷm ni'n dal yn edrych ar diwylliant a'r berthynas newydd â'r Undeb Ewropeaidd. Fe wnawn ni nawr gael sesiwn dystiolaeth gydag ymarferwyr. Fe wnaf i ofyn i'n tystion gyflwyno'u hunain ar gyfer y record. Fe wnaf fynd at Alison yn gyntaf.  

Welcome back. We're moving straight on to item 3, and we're still looking at culture and the new relationship with the European Union. We'll have an evidence session now with practitioners in the field. I'll ask our witnesses to introduce themselves for the record. I'll go to Alison first of all, please.  

Thank you. My name is Alison Woods and I'm the executive director at NoFit State Circus. 

Hello, I'm Bill Hamblett. I'm creative director at Small World Theatre. 

Good morning, everybody. Bore da. I'm Stephanie Bradley. I'm the executive director for Welsh National Opera. 

Thank you, everyone, so much. So, if it's all right, we'll go straight into questions. Could you set out for us, please, whether you are able to quantify the amount of cross-border work that cultural workers from Wales did before the UK left the EU and how that's changed since we have left, and whether are any subsectors within that that you think are most affected? So, whoever wants to go first. 

I can go first, if you like. 

I'm afraid I can only talk about NoFit State, and, the broader sector, I'm not entirely sure. Before the pandemic, before Brexit, we would take one or two tented touring productions abroad each year. That would include, for the larger productions, a company of approximately 35, and, for the smaller productions, a company of approximately nine, and each production would have approximately 80 performances a year within the European Union. Now, although the productions are of the same scale, the number of productions has fallen to approximately 55 performances a year inside the EU, and that's largely to do with the 90-day rule and the restriction therefore on how long we can spend inside the EU. So, unfortunately, we're now in a situation where we are having to turn down bookings inside the European Union. 

Thank you for that, Alison. Bill or Stephanie, did either of you want to come in on this? Bill. 

Mostly, we've been working just across the water, from west Wales to Ireland, and our last foray into performing there turned into a whole rigmarole. With carnets and stuff, it's just become really very difficult to consider doing that, or to put our fees up. So, basically, our ambition to work in Europe has been reduced because of the disproportionate amount of admin, the extra costs. And then, the other side to that is people wanting to book us, because of the extra costs that we have to apply. So, it has affected us. It has mostly affected our ambition to collaborate with—. Before, we would go and talk to wonderful companies and share ideas, cross pollinate, talk about collaborations and be spontaneous. The spontaneity has gone out of it—taking up opportunities just to go, 'Oh yes, we'll perform at that festival—yes, that would be great.' And all of the networks that spring from those opportunities are vastly reduced because of the paperwork and the admin.  

Thank you, Bill. And Stephanie, sorry, was there anything you wanted to add on that? 

I think the WNO, we're obviously slightly different because we do various aspects of work with EU partners. Yes, we do touring and, post Brexit, we were doing festivals within the Czech Republic in 2018 with Brno and the Janáček festival. We've also done festivals within Finland as well. It's not to say that we’re not doing that post Brexit: we’re still touring, and we’ve recently been to Prague Spring Festival, and we’ve also done, again, the Janáček festival within the Czech Republic. But, obviously, administration costs and some of the restrictions now are causing so many more problems that it's moving toward that model.

I think other things to note, really, are the creative and cultural exchange that is so critical for us as a sector, and that’s about how we utilise artists. We source artists from EU countries. I think this season, currently, we’ve got 37 artists coming in from the EU. I think we are seeing that artists are giving us very short notice now of pulling out of some of the roles that we’ve contracted with them, and that’s really about how it’s more viable for them, more financially viable for them, as artists to actually be able to perform in the EU, because they can command higher prices. So, we see very short-term issues around getting replacements, and then we’re limited, because of restrictions around travel, in getting those replacements coming in.

I think the other thing to note, really, is the co-productions that we’ve enjoyed in the past as well, where we’ve been able to move across borders. We’ve worked with companies in the past in Germany, where we did three productions, with operas where we could move sets and costumes backwards and forwards across the borders without restrictions. We’ve recently been doing a co-production with an opera in Brno, and that means we’re about to bring the set and costumes across to the UK, into Cardiff for us, and then we’ll have huge restrictions around the import and bringing those across the border, and additional costs in administration to deal with that.

But I think they’re the critical things for us, and it’s about how we hire as well. I think, in this environment now, especially in this financial environment, it’s an additional challenge for us, because, with the reductions in funding we’ve had recently from both the arts councils of England and Wales, we would be looking to increase our income through commercial activity, and it’s now restricting us with the practices across the EU borders.

10:30

Thank you very much for that. We'll move on.

Fe wnawn ni symud at Llyr.

We'll move on to Llyr.

Diolch. So, how is that impact that you've outlined there manifesting itself in an economic sense? Tell us about how it's impacting the financial viability of the creative sector in Wales, and particularly, maybe, within your own area of focus. Are you making up for that deficit of opportunity elsewhere or not?

So, from the point—[Interruption.] Sorry, Alison. Shall I go again?

No, carry on, Stephanie.

Sorry. I think, from the point of view of financial viability, I think what it’s actually doing for us as an opera company, especially in the financial restrictions—. As you can understand, we actually plan three to five years in advance to secure contracts. From a viability point of view, we will be looking to do more hires in the next two to three years due to transition into a more sustainable model. I think we would have been looking in the past across to our European peers to look at hiring. I think that will restrict us going forward because of the issues around it, and we’re not seen to be a viable option for the EU houses. But it does limit us now that we will be looking more to the UK base and then that means that creativity could be stifled from that point of view. 

Sorry for interrupting you, Stephanie.

That's okay. Sorry.

On NoFit State it's having a very, very significant financial and economic impact. We are in the slightly fortunate situation that, pre Brexit, we regularly toured outside the EU, and therefore we were accustomed to navigating those bureaucratic challenges, taking productions to Australia or the USA or Canada, and the challenge is that now those same additional costs and those same additional challenges we now face when we go into the EU. So, on one level we were practically prepared. It has increased our costs and it has reduced our income potential. We've been hit in both directions. In order to maintain our relationships we've had to absorb all of the additional costs of Brexit and not pass them on to our presenting partners. That means it has reduced our turnover—I'm going to say typically £115,000 a year—and it has reduced our profitability as a result of the additional costs as well by, I'd say, about £90,000 a year. And I think we would all of us agree, and picking up on what Stephanie just said, we would as a sector be able to cope with this and meet this challenge, if it weren't for the fact that we are in the middle of a perfect storm and being hit from every direction. And, unfortunately, the loss of income as a result of Brexit and also the loss of public funding can no longer really be made up by earned income in the UK, because the cost-of-living crisis in the UK is now so extreme that our earning potential inside the UK has also been very significantly hit. People just can't afford to buy tickets. The reality is, according to the Office for National Statistics, 50 per cent of all households now have zero disposal income, which means that 50 per cent of all households are now effectively denied any access to any kind of cultural activity where there's a price tag. And even for those people who still do have disposal income, we've had to slash our ticket prices here in the UK to ensure that people can still afford to come. 

10:35

I'd like to reinforce what Alison said about ticket prices and the survivability within the UK at the moment. But also we are Small World Theatre—Theatr Byd Bach—and in that name, I think, I can speak almost as a counterpoint to Alison and Stephanie who are in big companies. We are a very small company. This is hitting small companies as well. You may look at the big global figures, at the loss that they take, but proportionately it's the same for the small companies, in as much as the effect.

We are very lucky to be just about to receive, in the arts council investment review, some consistent money. It's a very small amount of money, but it will stabilise us for a bit. But the additional knocks—. And I must say this is not just about the income from performances, but also for us, near-zero-carbon building, Objective 1 money and from the EU. The Welsh European Funding Office recognised that we had an important role in west Wales, in the rural communities here, and our focus on climate change meant we really needed to expand.

But what I'm really trying to get to is that this ability to get funding from Europe is also a major, major blow to small companies. The ability to have access to, I would say, very intelligent funding from Europe has also affected us deeply. We are in incredible competition with even Stephanie and Alison when we go for a grant from somewhere. We're up against the big boys and we're on the same table, and we have to make the same sorts of arguments to get money. And the promised replacement of European funds, I've yet to really see. If there are replacement funds, they are not as intelligent, not as focused on the grass roots. They're not focused on community as much, on the role of community arts that we supply, as well as our more arty performance side and our climate change 'waving the flag' for dealing with that.

So, I would say that small companies, although—. The Senedd is looking at big economic impacts; the impacts are just scaled down and just as threatening to the small companies of Wales. I just thought I had to put that little point. 

And potentially with less scope to absorb the hit as well, I suppose, than other larger organisations. But the message, I think, is clear and consistent across the sector. Just finally from me, then, if I may, and very briefly. Clearly, there's the impact the other way as well, where we have creative workers coming into the UK from the EU. That has taken a hit as well. I don't know whether you can speak to us, from your experience, about how you see that, in terms of an impact, and whether—I'm presuming here, but you can confirm this—we have seen a reduction in numbers post Brexit, and maybe how that's affecting you.

10:40

Just on a point of view, we are also a presenting house. Our very first cabaret that we did in this building, they came from Spain. In a rural area, it is really good to bring in diversity, understanding, appreciation of different cultures. Welsh culture will survive if it is able to grow and change and experience and share. It is a threat to the survival of Welsh culture that we can't put it in context with other cultures—those collaborations and the appreciation.

If Brexit did one thing to damage the cultural heart of Wales, it was by reducing its exposure to those wonderful European performances—those artists, those actors. That has a knock-on effect with things like social cohesion, xenophobia. It goes right back to something that we try desperately to do, which is bring communities together to share positive experiences, to share them in a sort of exploratory way. If that is cut off, what can replace that?

In answer to your question, I think that we are becoming less attractive to musicians and artists coming into the UK. I think that one of the things that we are finding is that there is a shortage at the moment of string sections and brass sections—colleagues that can actually perform to the level that we require for our orchestra. I think that we would naturally look to the EU to recruit those individuals.

The restrictions now around the visa situation are causing us a particular issue, and the additional costs as well. It's a 66 per cent increase now that we have to incur for the NHS surcharge, and to go through the visas. With the indications around the different changes in the legislation, especially from April next year, where visas will move for a skilled worker from £26,200 up to £38,700, that will preclude any of our musicians under a principal player. I think that we do have concerns around that, that we will not be able to recruit those individuals.

At the moment, musicians are classed as skilled individuals, and I think that if that changed as well, it would be even more of a concern for us. But I think that we are finding ourselves being less attractive. I think that the visa situation is starting to be seen as a barrier. In particular, as I mentioned earlier, we are seeing people tending to start to work more in the EU because we are less attractive because of the rates that we can pay as well, especially to singers.

Yes. I would agree with all of that. I think that, just as we are finding it more difficult to tour internationally and tour into the EU, as Bill was saying, it is now incredibly difficult and expensive for any EU artists or companies to come to perform anywhere in the UK, and that includes Wales. I also know, to back up what Bill says, that the margins as a presenting venue are miniscule. Even fractional increases in costs will simply make things unviable. That's the first thing to say. And that will have a real impact on the range and diversity of the cultural activity that is available to people throughout Wales, whether they're in rural communities or in Cardiff. So, that's No. 1. No. 2, the costs of employing artists from the EU are now astronomical. We are determined to continue to do that and to absorb that cost, but, again, that has a significant impact on our financial bottom line and so far, we are refusing to compromise on that commitment to bringing artists into Wales.

I think Stephanie is absolutely right, the reputational damage to the UK and people's desire to come here has been really seriously affected. I think, for many people, we are now viewed as isolationist, turning our backs on the world, unfriendly, that we don't want to engage with the rest of the world and that we have no interest in the rest of the world, and this is profoundly damaging right across society, but within the cultural sector most particularly. And the final thing I'd like to say, picking up on something that Bill said, one of the great strengths, pre Brexit, of our ecology was the ability to be spontaneous, to be reactive, to move quickly, to collaborate quickly, to meet new people and spark ideas and very quickly begin to develop possibilities—that's just gone. That has gone completely.

10:45

Okay. Thank you very much for that.

Gwnawn ni symud ymlaen at Tom.

We'll move on to Tom.

Thank you. Bill, you used the word, in your previous answer there, 'xenophobia', and you'd seen an increase in that. I can't let that go unchallenged, so can you back that up?

I can't give you even—. I haven't got statistical data on it and I don't have—. It's just a continuing sort of series of anecdotes about how, when we are in a rural society here and we're not exposed to other cultures, then we close in on ourselves. We look to our own culture in isolation and it can transform and be ossified. It's sort of a culture in aspic that you could take up and look at, an unchanging thing. But when the discussion can't be had with the wider world, then we hardly even notice how insular we're becoming.

And so, you challenged me on finding incidents of xenophobia, but audiences around here have been—. We've exposed them in the past to lots of things, but now we're not able to do it. Maybe it's more of a fear than—. Maybe it is more of a fear that I have in seeing the beginnings of a trend towards that. But, will people—? I'm sorry, it's an emotional response rather than a statistical one that I have to that, and it is basically based on a feeling that there's just not the focus out and therefore that is part of a fear of the other, the foreigner, and it's not just applied to Europe, it's a greater thing.

When we were performing in Swansea, I saw people on the street haranguing Chinese people. When we've performed on the street in other places, you can see that there is—. Because we work in many areas, in many places where it is hard to reach, not your usual audience, and you get the feeling that you're bringing something new if you're talking about diversity. I'm glad you challenged me on it, because I should be able to try and note it down more, but I do worry about Wales being—. 

10:50

We are a sharing country and I worry about it closing down. 

Bill, on that, if you have further thoughts on it, you're welcome to write to us.

It's just trying to get those anecdotes in line. It's quite hard on the spot.

Thank you. You're very welcome to write to us. A general question, then: are there any subsectors of the creative industries that have benefited in their work in the EU from the UK's new relationship with the European Union?

I don't know of any, no.

Okay, but you're still—. As an example, I'm on the NoFit State website now, as you were talking. You're still touring in Europe. I think you called a recent tour 'Brexit busting', which suggests that you still have a relationship with the European Union and you're still able to tour.

Absolutely, and we are working incredibly hard to maintain that. It is not impossible. You can still tour into Europe, you can still bring European artists into Wales. It is now just very, very considerably more difficult, more expensive, more bureaucratic, more time consuming. That has an impact on how much of it we can do and absorb all of those additional costs at a time when we are being hit by this perfect storm of both the arts council and local authorities slashing their funding—as all areas of public expenditure are being cut, so the cultural sector is too—and the cost-of-living crisis, all hitting us all at the same time.

Thank you. A general question: what about work outside of the European Union since the UK left the EU? Have there been any new opportunities that have opened up?

No, not new ones. Pre-Brexit, pre-COVID, we were in fact in—. During the last 10, 15 years, NoFit State has toured extensively outside the EU, both to the Americas and into south-east Asia and Australasia. Pre-Brexit, pre-COVID, we made the decision to really quantify the environmental impact of that and to stop doing it unless the body of work in that particular part of the world was sufficient to offset the environmental impact. So, we are no longer seeking work in those further parts of the world, precisely for its environmental impact.

Thank you. I think we can give a practical example, if that's okay, which are the pros and cons and the impact outside the EU that we've seen. We have a subsidiary that is Cardiff Theatrical Services, and it's a world-renowned scenery builder. We've recently been working with clients where we completed a £0.5 million contract, where we've actually done the production costs for a London O2 arena event. We were due to do a similar event in the Netherlands with around about the same costs and the same sort of income, and we've now heard that they're probably going to go with a local builder because of the restrictions and the additional costs for us to be able to do that for them in the EU. But it looks as if we're now able to do something similar for America, so it feels to us as if it's more easy to work in America now than it is in the EU, because we seem to be more attractive, because they're used to trading across into the UK. So, I think we are seeing those restrictions and the additional costs starting to be a barrier for us. That's a commercial example for us where we are seeing added advantages to work outside of the EU.

Thank you. Finally, this one may be more for Bill, so if you want to incorporate both answers, Bill, you're very welcome. Obviously, geography would suggest that, and you've suggested already, you do a lot of work with Ireland. So, how has the nature of that relationship changed between Wales and Ireland post Brexit? Has that altered in recent years?

We had been talking about rather large, because we do processional work, giant puppets and things like that, with a company called Spraoi in Ireland, and that, because of just our recent work with carnets, has sort of more or less put a stop to that because of the costs and things. But also, some of our associate artists have been doing work making interactive sculptures, and they were going to France—they just loaded up a massive lorry with all of these structures, and they were asked to go, at the opening of it. But if they’d said, 'Oh, right, we'll bring our tools. We’ll make sure that they've been installed properly. We'll do a little bit of work on them,' and this would have just been a day’s work of checking that their work, because it's interactive, had been installed properly. They would have had to get a visa to do that, to take some tools with them and do that. So, for that sort of spontaneous going and just checking that your work—[Inaudible.]—if it's a sculpture or interactive thing, is going to be working properly, you have to go and get a visa and permissions and things like that, just to do something like that.

I think my responses are more emotional to this because you just are not encouraged. It's not encouraging to do that work. We've developed some absolutely wonderful partnerships in Ireland, but, to keep following them up, you don't know where you stand if you go for a meeting—whether this is a work meeting and you need a visa, or that this is just a discussion. Nobody in Ireland knows how to deal with that. The paperwork here when we took the giant across, they stamped it here and they stamped it there. They shouldn't have stamped it there; they should have stamped it on the next page, but they didn't know how to deal with the stuff at the border. And frankly, the impression—I wasn't there; Sam, who’s next to me now, she went—was they didn't want us to show them the paperwork, 'Please, don't give us the paperwork. We can't deal with it.' So, it leaves us in this sort of malaise of saying, 'Well, are we going to go down the paperwork route, or are we just going to abandon our work in Ireland?’ And I think we just haven't made a decision about that.

And also, to answer the previous question, we went to California and started talking to the Disney Foundation about some work, because we thought it might be a little easier to do that, and that would be just taking our skills in social interaction with animation and shadow puppetry. We rather stepped back on that because of the climate issue of flying to do that. There's a lot of interest in our work on the west coast in California, but to take up those options, for such a small company, is also very challenging for us, and so we would prefer much more to not fiddle around the edges here, but to rejoin. I can't see any other way that just tinkering around the edges—. Yes, it could improve it, but rejoining it is a very, very—. I would ask the Senedd to lobby the next Government to do that, because it only makes sense not just for the cultural sector, but for the spirit of the four nations they're seeing overseas.

10:55

Ocê. Diolch am hynna.

Okay. Thank you for that.

We have 10 minutes left of our allotted time. With your permission, I'd ask if we could run until a quarter past instead of 11:10. Would that be all right for all of you, for us to run for five extra minutes? We are still going to be a little bit short of time, though, because we've got two other Members. I will go next to Alun.

11:00

I very much agree with the final point, Bill, about rejoining the EU, but it's going to take a few years, I think. So, what do we do in the meantime? Because it's quite clear that what's been created is an almighty mess and no witness this morning—. In the written evidence that you've given to the committee, you've been very clear, and you've built on that written evidence with your oral evidence this morning about all the difficulties facing your sector as a consequence of Brexit. So, I'm wondering, and I'm trying to look here for—. I don't think there are any silver linings, as it happens, so what I'm trying to look for are solutions to ameliorate some of the difficulties that you've described in evidence this morning before we do rejoin the EU. So, what can we do at the moment in order to solve some of these problems?

I would advocate for a cultural exemption to all visa rules—that would be No. 1—and to return to the pan-European mutual healthcare agreement so that we no longer have to pay NHS surcharges, which are astronomical, for EU workers coming into the UK. That No. 1 would make a significant difference.

No. 2: to have, again, a cultural exemption on the 90-day rule—90 days out of every 180—so that organisations can come in and out of Europe in a much more flexible and freer fashion. And I just wanted to add that, within our contracts now, with our performing company, we have to include a clause that they're not allowed to go on holiday into the EU in the month immediately preceding a contract because, if they did, that would break into their 90 days and they would not be able to work in the EU for our contract. I'd never imagined in my life that I would have a contract with an artist making such a demand on them, that they should affect their personal lives outside of working for us to that extent.

That really is quite extraordinary, actually—that is really quite extraordinary evidence.

Yes. So, I would say, a visa exemption and a 90-day exemption for the cultural sector, and a cultural sector healthcare mutuality, as we had pre Brexit, as No. 3. And No. 4, which is a very, very practical thing, there has got to be a much, much more robust training regime for the border force—for customs and excise on the borders—because the example that Bill just gave of the wrong stamp in the wrong place on the form, that is happening to everybody all of the time and, as a result, equipment is being held at borders, trucks are being held at borders, the officials on the ground don't know what the rules are and they are making mistakes. We had, when we completed our EU tour last year, two of our trucks held in Tilbury docks for two weeks before we could get them released, and nobody at the docks could give us any explanation as to why—it was simply, 'computer says "no"'. They could not find an error with the paperwork. That's the level of practical breakdown, system breakdown, that is now happening. And, fortunately, we did not have performances in the UK immediately after our return. If we had done, we would not have been able to do them, because our trucks were being held in Tilbury.

Good God. We're very grateful to you for that evidence. It's really very powerful. 

It is. Bill, Stephanie, before we move on, is there anything that you would like to add to that? Stephanie.

I think so. I think one of the things that we would like to see is clear guidance really—a one-stop shop for all information on all countries to support artists and businesses and companies that are, obviously, trading or moving across the borders.

I think the other thing, from a cultural point of view, especially from opera in the sector at the moment, is to look for a cultural recovery fund to support us in EU touring. And that, really, is around whether there could be specialised funds for co-productions to support us, to encourage EU companies to actually engage with us and work with us, and that could mitigate some of the additional costs that we're seeing at the moment.

I think the one point that I would like to add, which I don't think has come up this morning, is around future talent development, as well, and it's about artists moving across into Europe to establish and to develop their skills. That's something, as a sector, we've seen in the past, where artists move across to Europe to develop those specialist skills, because of the wealth and breadth of cultural exchange within Europe. I think that's one of the things at the moment that we're seeing, because of the visa restrictions and legislation, is that we are at a risk of those young artists not being able to develop their skills and hone their skills to bring them back into the UK, and particularly into Wales. So, I think everything that Alison has said I support 100 per cent, because I do fear for our budding talent, especially in Wales, here, and how they will establish and develop their skills over the future years.

11:05

We had an experience—we went to Chambers Wales to get advice on carnets. They sent us to Bristol, and Bristol sent us to the Birmingham chamber of commerce, who were very helpful in the end, and they processed our thing. We were taking a large St David puppet—12 ft tall—in the back of the van, but it had to be written down as a large doll, because they only deal with commerce, not arts. So, that was rather bizarre. 

It is also a paper-based system. It takes a lot of time, shuffling papers backwards and forwards, sending you forms, getting forms. There's not an easy, quick online way of doing this. That could be improved. We eventually got help from Arts Infopoint UK, which is a four-nations organisation. I don't know how Sam found that, but their advice proved invaluable. And then also practical help will be needed with ATA carnets and the logistics in Wales. There's just so much to do. There are huge ways of approaching this mess. 

Thank you, all, for that. We'll move finally to Carolyn Thomas. 

I was going to ask you questions about support and guidance. You're saying that a one-stop shop would be really useful. I was also going to ask whether the needs of the creative sector are different to general advice needs. It sounds like they are, and there needs to be more awareness of what's needed for the creative arts sector. I don't know if there's anything else you need to add on that, but it sounds like it's been covered already in the responses. 

I think one thing that makes us different from most other sectors that are involved in trade is that that's just about the movement of goods; we're talking about the movement of people and the ability of people to move rapidly, flexibly, creatively and responsively, and that is different from shipping widgets backwards and forwards across borders. 

I think Bill wants to come in on this as well, actually. 

I would just add to that that it is about the free movement of ideas, and that is pretty important for the creative sector. The creative sector, I believe, is second only in the economy to the financial sector. This is an important sector. To be completely scuppered and edited out is self-harm incarnate—or in carnet. [Laughter.] Sorry. But it's ridiculous. It's about also the movement of ideas, the free movement of ideas.

It appears also to me that not enough weight is given to the creative sector, compared to other industries, but we heard previously how important it is as well, in the previous evidence session. In north Wales, the free trade zone was supposed to be for advanced manufacturing, the creative industries and digital, but it sounds like the UK Government want to drop the creative industries side of it. So, we need to get some evidence, I think, to make the case more for the creative industries, going forward. 

Can I just ask you how do the Welsh and UK Governments gather information about the impact of the new relationship with the EU on culture? How do you feed into this process? Because I think that's really important. They seem to be totally missing the importance of this sector. Is your main Welsh Government point of contact for this issue the Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, or the Minister for Economy? And how does the Welsh Government feed this information into UK-level discussions; would you know that? Thank you.

11:10

I'm part of an international working group that includes people from all four nations looking to provide information to DCMS to both influence policy and achieve change. I would say, unfortunately, since the signing of the withdrawal agreement, I've seen very little evidence that the Westminster Government is interested in engaging with these challenges and issues at all. I think that people who are far more senior and networked than me have not been able to help DCMS understand the scale of the problem, and DCMS do not appear—or, indeed, the Westminster Government more broadly—to have a significant interest in addressing these challenges in a co-ordinated and coherent fashion. I think it is unfortunate that the Welsh Government's powers are limited in the way that they are. I think that the Welsh Government has a much more open and engaged approach to these challenges.

Stephanie or Bill, I don't think either of you wanted to come in on that. No. You're happy with that. Thank you. We have come to the end of our questions. I wanted to thank you all very much indeed for your evidence this morning.

Bydd transgript o'r hyn sydd wedi cael ei ddweud yn cael ei ddanfon atoch chi i chi wirio ei fod e'n gofnod teg o beth sydd wedi cael ei ddweud, ac efallai bydd yna ychydig o bethau y byddwn ni eisiau ysgrifennu atoch chi i'w siecio, ond, am nawr, diolch yn fawr iawn am y dystiolaeth y bore yma. Rydyn ni wir yn ei werthfawrogi fe ac yn gwerthfawrogi'ch amser. Diolch yn fawr iawn.

Aelodau, fe wnawn ni symud at egwyl tan 20 munud wedi; ac i unrhyw un sydd yn gwylio ein sesiynau y bore yma, byddwn ni'n fyw eto am 11:20. Diolch yn fawr.

A transcript of what has been said today will be sent to you to check for accuracy and that it's a fair reflection of what's been said. Perhaps there will be some other issues that we'll want to write to you on as well, but, for now, thank you very much for the evidence you've shared this morning. We very much appreciate it, and we appreciate your time too. Thank you.

Members, we'll move to a short break until 20 past; and anyone watching our sessions this morning, we will be live again at 11:20. Thank you.

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 11:12 ac 11:22.

The meeting adjourned between 11:12 and 11:22.

11:20
4. Diwylliant a’r berthynas newydd â’r Undeb Ewropeaidd: sesiwn dystiolaeth gydag ymarferwyr (5)
4. Culture and the new relationship with the European Union: evidence session with practitioners (5)

Croeso nôl. Rŷn ni'n symud yn syth at eitem 4. Rŷn ni dal yn edrych ar ddiwylliant a'r berthynas newydd â'r Undeb Ewropeaidd. Rŷn ni'n symud ymlaen at ein sesiwn dystiolaeth olaf am y bore yma, ac fe wnaf i ofyn i'n tystion gyflwyno eu hunain ar gyfer y record. Gwnaf i fynd at Dyfrig yn gyntaf, sydd gyda ni yn yr ystafell.

Welcome back. We're moving straight on to item 4 on our agenda. We're continuing to look at culture and the new relationship with the European Union. We move to the final evidence session of the morning, and I'll ask our witnesses to introduce themselves for the record. I'll go to Dyfrig, first of all, who's joining us in the room.

Bore da. Dyfrig Davies, cadeirydd Teledwyr Annibynnol Cymru, ac yn cynrychioli'r sectorau cynhyrchu annibynnol yma yng Nghymru.

Good morning. I'm Dyfrig Davies. I'm chair of Teledwyr Annibynnol Cymru, and I'm representing the independent production sector here in Wales.

Diolch, Dyfrig. Gwnaf i fynd at Enrique.

Thank you, Dyfrig. I'll go to Enrique.

Dr Enrique Uribe Jongbloed 11:23:27

Enrique Uribe Jongbload. I'm a research associate with Media Cymru at Cardiff University.

Hi. Luke Hinton, co-chair of the Association of Independent Promoters.

It's lovely to have you all with us. Thank you all so much. We'll go straight to questions, if that's all right. Could you set out for us, please, if you're able to quantify the amount of cross-border work that cultural workers from Wales did in the EU and how that's changed, comparing before we left the EU with the situation now that we have left, and whether there are any subsectors that are affected more than others, maybe? I don't know who would like to go first. I should have said at the start that you don't all have to answer every question, but if you just want to indicate the questions you want to come in on. I can see that Dyfrig wants to come in on this, so I'll go to Dyfrig first.

Does dim data pendant gyda ni, er wrth gwrs rŷn ni'n gwybod bod y Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre wedi awgrymu bod yna leihad o 15 y cant wedi bod mewn gwerthiant rhaglenni ac yn y blaen. Ond mae'n anodd, mewn gwirionedd, i roi ffigwr arno fe o safbwynt teledu a ffilm, achos, wrth gwrs, pobl yn mynd a dod oedd hi, a chroesi yn ôl ac ymlaen yn ôl yr angen—rhai yn mynd am rai diwrnodau a rhai yn mynd am wythnosau os oedd e'n gynhyrchiad hirach. Felly, yn anffodus, allaf i ddim dweud bod gyda fi dystiolaeth a data pendant, mor bendant â hynna, dim ond beth mae pobl yn ei ddweud. Yn anecdotaidd, felly, mae'n swnio i fi fel bod ei bod hi'n lot, lot anoddach, a dweud y gwir, nawr, i weithio'n drawsffiniol na beth oedd hi. 

We don't have specific data, although we do know that the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre has suggested that there has been a decrease of 15 per cent in the sales of programmes and so on. But it's difficult to put a figure on it in terms of television and film, because, of course, it was a situation where people came and went, and crossed back and forth according to need—some went for a few days and some went for weeks if it was a longer production. So, unfortunately, I can't tell you that I have definitive data or evidence for you, but just anecdotally, what people tell me is that it does sound as if it's far more difficult now, truth to be told, to work on a cross-border basis compared to the previous situation. 

11:25

Diolch, Dyfrig. Enrique or Luke, did either of you want to add anything to that?

Dr Enrique Uribe Jongbloed 11:25:15

I think I agree in the sense that there's no specific data. But as we mentioned, in the survey that we did, at least 8 to 10 per cent of those participants that added some information when asked about the changes that Brexit had brought into their work mentioned something about it. We got that response that was totally voluntary for about 8 to 10 per cent of the respondents. So, that gives us an idea with regard to the media sector that we reach. 

Again, with us, there's no data that we've been able to gather, because a lot of our members are more receiving promoters as opposed to putting artists on tour into Europe. What they're seeing is actually a decrease in touring artists coming to the venues, and that's not just within Wales; that's within the UK. And that's not just EU artists. I think there's a knock-on effect from all different aspects of not being able to tour due to the financial implications that are being brought in. I think that's something that is causing issues across the board for all of our members, whether that's in Wales or across the UK.

Diolch i chi i gyd am hynna. Ac o ran yr effaith ariannol mae'r berthynas newydd yn ei gael ar broffesiynau creadigol yng Nghymru, sut byddech chi'n gallu gosod hynna mas i ni hefyd, yn enwedig os yw hwnna'n wahanol ar gyfer perfformwyr ar adegau gwahanol yn eu gyrfaoedd, fel pan mae rhywun yn dechrau mas, o'i gymharu gydag os yw rhywun yn fwy established? Mi wnaf fynd at Dyfrig yn gyntaf. 

Thank you very much for that. And in terms of the financial impact that the new relationship is having on creative professions in Wales, could you outline that for us, particularly whether that's different for performers, practitioners, at different stages of their careers, so when somebody's starting out, as compared to somebody more established? I'll go to Dyfrig first of all. 

O safbwynt y sector greadigol ffilm a theledu, mae'r costau teithio yn un peth sydd wedi cynyddu, a chostau byw. Ac wedyn, yn ogystal â hynny, dyw'r gweithwyr—pobl oedd yn arfer dod, efallai, i wneud visual effects neu rywbeth felly—ddim ar gael, neu os ydyn nhw ar gael, mae'n fwy costus. Mae'n rhaid i ni rhoi hwnna yng nghyd-destun hefyd, wrth gwrs, effaith COVID, a bod popeth wedi cynyddu o ran hynny. Felly, dwi ddim yn gallu dweud. Yn sicr, gallaf ddweud bod pobl yn dweud ei fod yn lot fwy costus, ond os ydych chi'n gofyn i fi fod yn fanwl gyda data, dyw e ddim gyda fi. 

From the point of view of the film and television creative sector, the travel costs have increased, and costs of living, of course, have increased. And, as well as that, people who used to come in to do visual effects and so on are no longer available, or, if they are available, it's more costly to get them in. But, of course, we have to put that in the wider context of the impact of COVID—the cost of everything has increased in that regard. So, I can't say. Certainly, I can say that people tell me that it's far more costly, but if you ask me to go into detail on data, well, I don't have that data. 

Dr Enrique Uribe Jongbloed 11:27:44

I believe we have the same issues, but we don't have very specific data on how much that would cost. But they all mentioned that it has increased their costs and made it more difficult. In one of the cases—one of the replies that we had—they said that the impact was so high that they were considering relocating. There's always the issue of the length of time that people who work in the media sector will be hiring someone to work on a project for, and, then, there's all the increased cost that that implies, both in terms of movement, and in terms of paperwork. 

I think we are finding that new and emerging artists going out on tours are struggling to be able to afford and go and do those first tours. And when they are, they're tending to be a lot shorter because of the costs involved, because of fuel costs, accommodation costs, all of those increases that have come in with the cost of living, with the fuel increases, and that aspect. So, it's become a barrier for new artists and new performers to get on the road, and, therefore, the number of shows is decreasing, which is then reducing the amount of work that is available to crews, promoters and everyone else involved in that side of it. 

Thank you for that. And in terms of the reverse situation, then, cultural workers from the EU coming to either perform or to be part of productions in the UK, and specifically in Wales in this context, have you seen a change since we left? If I go to Luke and Enrique first, and then Dyfrig. 

Yes, I think we've definitely seen a decrease in artists coming to perform in the venues here, and with our promoters. I think that's something where there has been those restrictions put in place. And in addition to promoters, I think the venues themselves are finding issues of employing staff, and a lot casual staff. 

Diolch. Enrique, was there anything you wanted to say?

Dr Enrique Uribe Jongbloed 11:29:58

I think we have the same with the media sector as we get in the information that we collect from the survey. They all mention that it becomes very difficult to hire people for the short term that they require it, in the way that they used to do it before. So, they do mention that there's a reduction of the people that they can get through the EU.

11:30

Diolch—thank you. Oedd unrhyw beth oeddech chi eisiau ei ddweud?

Thank you. Was there anything that you wanted to add?

Yn debyg iawn, a dweud y gwir—hynny yw, mae dau beth. Mae yna brinder mawr o sgiliau beth bynnag. Efallai mai COVID sy'n gyfrifol am hynny yn fwy na Brexit yn uniongyrchol. Ond hefyd, yng nghyd-destun Brexit, mae yna rhyw fath o ymdeimlad nad ydym ni ddim yn wlad neu yn deyrnas sydd yn croesawu gweithwyr o dramor i ddod atom ni, a sut ŷch chi’n ateb hynny? Mae e'n perception anodd iawn i ni ddelio ag ef. Dwi'n gwybod bod ScreenSkills wedi rhoi rhagdybiaeth bod angen, erbyn 2027, buddsoddiad o rhywle rhwng £98 miliwn a £104 miliwn yn y sgiliau sydd eu hangen ar gyfer teledu a ffilm ym Mhrydain. Mae hynny'n berthnasol iawn i Gymru pan fyddech chi’n meddwl bod Caerdydd yn un o'r trydydd ardal fwyaf o ran datblygiad y cyfryngau yn y Deyrnas Gyfunol.

Very similarly, there are two things. There's a lack of skills in general. I take that COVID is more responsible than Brexit for that, directly. But also, in the context of Brexit specifically, there is a sense that we are not a nation or a kingdom that welcomes workers from abroad in the way that we used to, and how do you respond to that? It's a perception issue; it's a very difficult perception to deal with. ScreenSkills has forecast that we will, by 2027, need investment of between £98 million and £104 million in the skills required for television and film in the United Kingdom. That's very relevant to Wales when you think that Cardiff is one of the third largest areas in terms of the development of the media in the United Kingdom.

Diolch am hynny. O ran y pwynt roeddech chi'n ei wneud, fod yna ymdeimlad dŷn ni ddim bellach yn wlad sydd mor groesawgar, pa dystiolaeth fyddech chi’n pwyntio ati hi i amlygu hynny?

Thank you for that. In terms of the point you made, that there is a perception that we are no longer a nation that is as welcoming, what evidence would you point to to evidence that?

Hynny yw, beth mae rhai cwmnïau wedi ei ddweud, neu rhai ymatebion rŷn ni wedi eu cael, yw bod pobl yn teimlo efallai—. Maen nhw'n ffaelu denu pobl i weithio atom ni achos bod yn well gyda nhw fynd i lefydd eraill. Allaf i ddim dweud ein bod ni yn TAC wedi cael tystiolaeth fwy pendant na hynny, er mae yna bobl yn dweud—anecdotaidd eto, ontefe—fod yna deimlad dŷn ni ddim yn croesawu fel roedden ni ac yn y blaen. Ac mae hynny'n ofid mawr.

Well, what some companies have said, or responses that we've received, is that people feel—. They can't attract people here to work for them because they would prefer to go elsewhere. I can't say that we in TAC have received more specific evidence than that, although people do tell us, anecdotally, that there is a feeling perhaps that we're not seen as welcoming as we used to be. And that is a great concern.

Wrth gwrs. Diolch am hynny. Fe wnawn ni symud at Tom.

Of course. Thank you very much for that. We'll go to Tom.

Diolch yn fawr. Are there any sub-sectors of the creative industries that have benefited in their work in the EU from the UK's new relationship with the European Union?

Wel, dwi'n trio meddwl am bethau positif i'w dweud fan hyn nawr, a bod yn onest. Hynny yw, rŷn ni wedi gorfod mynd allan neu dŷn ni ddim yn rhan rhagor o'r European Media Convention, fel roedden ni. Mae angen inni fynd nôl i mewn i hynny. Dwi ar ddeall bod yr EU Horizon scientific research programme, fod y Deyrnas Gyfunol nôl i mewn. Felly, mae angen gwneud gwaith o ran hynny, ac efallai bydden ni wedyn yn gallu ailddechrau adeiladu perthynas. Dwi'n gwybod, er enghraifft, mae ein darlledwyr ni yn parhau’n aelodau o'r European Broadcasting Union, ac mae hynny'n beth da. Wrth gwrs, does dim arian yn dod fanna. Ond mae'r arian rŷn ni wedi'i golli o Ewrop, roedd e’n swm enfawr, a dweud y gwir, a dwi'n gwybod bod y Llywodraeth yn San Steffan wedi sefydlu'r global screen fund, a bod hwnnw wedi gweithio fel cynllun peilot am flwyddyn, ac, wrth gwrs, wedi cael tair blynedd wedyn, ac mae'n rhaid inni felly asesu pa mor llwyddiannus yw hwnnw, a bwrw ymlaen wedyn gyda hynny o ran bod yna gymorth ariannol o'r math yna i gynyrchiadau a’n bod ni'n gallu eu gwerthu nhw dramor. Dwi'n gwybod ac yn ymwybodol iawn bod Cymru Greadigol Llywodraeth Cymru yn gwneud gwaith da iawn, iawn o ran sicrhau bod yna gymorth o ran arian at brosiect i wneud y prosiect yn fwy atyniadol i werthu dramor. Felly, mae pethau fel yna yn digwydd. Dyna efallai fyddai’r pwyntiau byddwn i'n eu gwneud fanna.

I'm trying to think about positive things to say, truth be told. We have had to go out of or we're no longer part of the European Media Convention, as we used to be. We do need to go back into that convention. I understand that the EU Horizon scientific and research programme, that the United Kingdom is now part of that again. We need to do work on that, and then we'd perhaps be able to start rebuilding a relationship. I know, for example, that our broadcasters continue to be members of the European Broadcasting Union, and that's a good thing. Of course, no funding is received through that relationship. But the funding that we've lost from Europe, it was a huge sum of money, truth be told, and I know that the Westminster Government has established the global screen fund, and that has worked as a pilot programme for a year, and has then received three further years of funding, and we need to assess how successful that is, and then continue with that project to ensure that there is financial support of that kind for productions and then we can sell them abroad. I'm very aware that Creative Wales and the Welsh Government are doing very good work in terms of ensuring that there is support with regard to funding for projects to make projects more attractive in terms of selling those programmes abroad. So, those kinds of things are happening. Those perhaps would be the points I would make there.

Luke or Enrique, is there anything you'd like to add? No. 

Dr Enrique Uribe Jongbloed 11:34:18

The only thing that I would like to add on that is, out of all of the responses that we got, in which 100 of the 550 responses we got were describing something that was problematic in that sense, only one mentioned that, because of the restrictions, they had to move—this is in the media sector—to source something locally. So, you would think that that would be the most positive comment that we had. It was only one out of 104, I think, that were the responses to the 550 that we had. So, it was only one that mentioned that, because of the restrictions, they had to source things more locally, which you could consider something positive in that sense, but that's about it.

Diolch yn fawr. A oes cyfleoedd newydd wedi agor i weithio y tu allan i'r Undeb Ewropeaidd ers i'r Deyrnas Unedig adael?

Thank you very much. Are there new opportunities that have opened up in terms of working outside of the EU since the UK left?

11:35

Dwi ddim yn gwybod am rai enfawr, felly, hynny yw, yn fwy na bod unrhyw un sydd yn wirioneddol greadigol yn anelu, efallai, gyda ffilmiau ac yn y blaen, i fynd, efallai, i Hollywood neu Bollywood neu le bynnag mae yna ddiwydiant ffilm lwyddiannus iawn. Does dim dwywaith bod rhai pobl yn gweithio y tu allan i Gymru a Phrydain, ac yn mynd i rannau eraill o'r byd, ond allaf i ddim bod yn benodol ar rheini, sori.

I don't know of any major opportunities more than that anyone who is creative, who has produced a film and so on, aims to go to Hollywood, Bollywood or wherever it may be that there is a successful film industry. There's no doubt that people are working outside of Wales and Britain, and are going to other parts of the world, but I can't give you specific examples, sorry.

Enrique or Luke. It's fine if not. As we said, you don't have to answer every question. That's fine. Tom.

Jest i fynd nôl atoch chi, Dyfrig, yn y panel diwethaf clywsom ni o ddau o bobl oedd yn rhoi tystiolaeth, ac roedd pobl yn meddwl mai'r climate oedd y rheswm mwyaf, os dŷch chi moyn, doedd pobl ddim moyn gwneud pethau y tu allan i'r Undeb Ewropeaidd. Ydy hwnna'n dystiolaeth dŷch chi wedi'i chael?

Just to come back to you, Dyfrig, in the last panel we heard witnesses giving evidence that people think that the climate was the main reason why people don't want to do things outside of the EU. Is that evidence that you have had?

Ddim fy mod i'n gwybod. Byddwn i'n meddwl bod pobl yn meddwl fel yna, hynny yw, a diolch am hynny, fod pobl yn meddwl am ddyfodol y blaned ac yn y blaen, ac am deithio, ond allaf i ddim dweud bod gyda fi dystiolaeth ar hynna, mae'n ddrwg gyda fi.

Not that I know of. I would think that people would think that way, and it's good that people think about the future of the planet and so on, and about travel, but I can't say that I have specific evidence on that, sorry.

Ocê. Diolch. Ac yn olaf, pa gyfran o'r gwaith trawsffiniol sydd yn digwydd i weithiwyr diwylliannol Cymru yn Iwerddon, ac a yw hyn wedi newid dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf?

Okay. Thank you. Finally, what proportion of the cross-border work for Welsh cultural workers takes place in Ireland, and has this proportion changed in recent years?

Dwi'n gwybod bod yna gwmnïau yn cydweithio â chwmnïau o Weriniaeth Iwerddon ar brosiectau. Wrth gwrs, mae yna reolau wedyn o ran ble mae'r gwaith, dywedwn ni, golygu neu rywbeth yn digwydd. Â gwisgo'n het fel pennaeth cwmni, dwi'n gwybod, yn y gorffennol, ein bod ni wedi gwneud cryn dipyn o waith allan yn Iwerddon yn arbennig. Wrth gwrs, roeddem ni hefyd yn ei wneud e trwy'r EBU ac yn rhannu fel hynny. Bach iawn sydd yn digwydd nawr, hyd y gwn i, ac efallai fod yna le i wneud mwy. Dwi'n ymwybodol bod yna berfformwyr o Gymru—a gall rhywun arall ateb hwn yn well na fi, mae'n siŵr—yn perfformio allan yn Iwerddon, a bod y cysylltiad Celtaidd yna yn dal yn un y gallwn ni fod yn falch iawn ohono.

I'm aware that there are companies working with counterparts in the Republic of Ireland on projects. But then of course there are rules on where the editing work and so on takes place. Wearing my hat as the head of a production company, I know that in the past we've done a great deal of work out in Ireland in particular. Of course, we were also doing it through the European Broadcasting Union. Very little is happening now, as far as I'm aware, but perhaps there is scope to do more work on that basis. I'm aware that there are performers from Wales—and I'm sure others can respond to this better than I can—out in Ireland performing, and that that Celtic connection is still one that we can be very proud of. 

Dr Enrique Uribe Jongbloed 11:37:45

Well, in our case, there was no mention specifically of those who were working in or of any work done with the Republic of Ireland, but it was really interesting that we got one of the responses saying clearly that they were thinking about moving to Ireland because of the loss of work that they had because of leaving the European Union. So, we had one response that actually addressed that and said that they had lost almost 98.5 per cent of their business, and that's why they were considering relocating to Ireland, but we didn't have any other responses that mentioned working in or with Ireland.

We haven't had any responses from any of our members that have indicated that.

Ocê, diolch. Diolch, Tom. Fe wnawn ni symud at Alun.

Okay, thank you. Thank you, Tom. We'll move to Alun.

Diolch. Diolch yn fawr i chi am eich tystiolaeth y bore yma. Mae'r dystiolaeth yn eithaf pwerus, onid yw e, ac mae'n gyson gyda'r dystiolaeth dŷn ni wedi'i chlywed yn barod y bore yma. Felly, dwi eisiau symud ymlaen, achos mae'n edrych fel ein bod ni mewn twll go iawn ar hyn o bryd. So, sut ydyn ni'n datrys rhai o'r problemau yma? Oes gyda chi unrhyw awgrymiadau neu gynigion i ddod dros neu ddatrys rhai o'r problemau dŷch chi wedi'u disgrifio yn eich tystiolaeth y bore yma?

Thank you. And thank you very much to all of you for your evidence this morning. The evidence is quite powerful, isn't it, and is consistent with the evidence that we've heard already today. So, I want to move on, because it looks as if we're in a real predicament here. So, how do we solve some of these problems? Do you have any suggestions or proposals for how we overcome or solve some of the issues that you've outlined in your evidence this morning?

Wel, i fynd yn ôl at y global screen fund, a dwi'n gwybod, wrth gwrs, mai o Lywodraeth San Steffan mae hwnna'n dod, mae angen rhoi pwysau i ofalu bod hwnna'n parhau, achos hwnna, mewn gwirionedd, sy'n cyfateb i'r arian Ewropeaidd oedd yn dod yn y gorffennol. Yma, yn Llywodraeth Cymru, gofalwch ar ôl Cymru Greadigol. Dwi'n gwybod eu bod nhw wedi cael gostyngiad yn eu cyllideb, fel dwi'n gwybod bod pawb arall ar draws—ac nid beirniadaeth yw hwn—o dros 10 y cant. Ond, mewn sector sy'n tyfu, mae rhoi arian i mewn i sector fel yna'n mynd i fod yn fuddsoddiad hirdymor. Dwi'n gwybod, yn y sefyllfa sydd ohoni, haws dweud na gwneud, ond dyna byddwn i'n dweud, y gefnogaeth hynny, ac edrych hefyd ar sgiliau. Mae yna waith yn cael ei wneud ar draws yr ystod o sefydliadau sydd yn ymwneud â hyfforddiant yng Nghymru i geisio denu pob ifanc, a dweud y gwir, nôl mewn i'r sector. Natur y sector yw gwaith llawrydd yn bennaf, a dyw hwnna, wrth gwrs, ddim yn apelio cymaint at bobl ifanc pan fo rhieni yn dweud wrthyn nhw, 'Os ŷch chi'n mynd i'r brifysgol, gwnewch gwrs lle cewch chi swydd parhaol'—mae mor syml â hynny, ontefe—sy'n drueni, achos, i fi, mae'r sector greadigol mor bwysig, nid dim ond jest yn economaidd, ond hefyd o ran dweud ein stori, rhannu profiadau Cymru ar lefel ehangach. Mae rhai o'r pethau, y rhaglenni a ffilmiau sydd wedi cael eu gwerthu dramor, yn gwneud gwaith da iawn, iawn dros Gymru. A hefyd o safbwynt ein hiechyd meddwl ni; dwi'n credu bod hwnna'n elfen bwysig. Mae bod yn greadigol a defnyddio'r meddwl mewn ffyrdd eraill mor, mor bwysig. Sori, dwi wedi mynd off y pwynt tamaid bach; mae'n ddrwg gen i.

Well, to return to the global screen fund, and I know that it's a UK Government fund, we need to press for the continuation of that, because that is what equates to the previous EU funding. Here, in terms of the Welsh Government, do safeguard Creative Wales. I know that they've received a decrease in their budget, as I know that everyone across Government has—this isn't a criticism—and they have received a cut of 10 per cent. But, in a growing sector, allocating additional funding to that sector is going to be a long-term investment. I know that, in the current situation, that's easier said than done, but that's what I would say; it's that support, and looking again at skills. There is work being done across the range of organisations involved in training in Wales to try to attract young people back into the sector. The nature of the sector is freelance work, mainly, and that, of course, doesn't appeal so much to young people when there are parents telling them, 'Well, if you go to university, study a course where you'll have that permanent job at the end of it'—it's a simple as that—and that's a shame, isn't it, because the creative sector is so important, not just economically, but also in terms of telling our story, sharing the experiences of Wales on a wider level. Some of the programmes and films that have been sold abroad do a very good job in promoting Wales. And also in terms of our mental health, of course; I think that's a very important element. Being creative and using our minds in a different way is so important. Sorry, I've gone off the point a little bit there.

11:40

Luke or Enrique, did you have any thoughts on this? Enrique.

Dr Enrique Uribe Jongbloed 11:41:03

Yes, there were a couple of things, and one of them would be like a very central point where you can get all of the information that you need, and that's the information with regards to visa processes or other administrative processes that have to be undertaken in order to import some of the equipment that people in the media sector might need. So, something that is a centralised area where we can get all the information directly—that's one of the things that has been asked.

Another thing is also to provide more information to companies, particularly in our case, when we are trying to give the grants that we offer, through our calls. The problem that we have with the new subsidy control is that most of the companies are not very aware of how it works, and that has led to a lot of administrative difficulties, and it has taken a long while for them to be able to receive the funds that they were granted by our calls. So, one of the things as well is to improve the way that we inform that, so that they know when they can apply for that and they can do all of those processes in a timely manner. That's another important issue.

There's a couple of factors that our members have raised in being able to increase their productivity and output. Firstly, it's awareness and utilising grants that were available, to enable them to take more risks, because I think a lot of the promoters have become a lot more risk averse in recent years, because of, as mentioned before, the various costs of putting on events, and, therefore, the access to grants is imperative to be able to support that. A lot of our members are time-poor, so, therefore, that can also put them off applying for things. So, it may be that they are a one-person organisation, so not having the time to complete a grant that would be invaluable to them; it could actually be something of looking into how they can access it and getting support in that. That's definitely something that I feel we're trying to encourage and support our members in being able to do, but it's obviously having access to that from Creative Wales.

And another factor is—. Again, it's coming from venues, and a lot of our members hire venues, and the increased costs that are coming in from those are almost being passed on to the promoter hiring it. So, where they're seeing an increase in their outgoings as venues, the venue costs are becoming greater, which is then having that knock-on effect. So, it is things like business rates. Obviously, it's being felt by the venues, and there's a threat to those, and so the venues are taking less risks with new promoters, which is then leading to new artists not being able to get the opportunity. So, there's a whole conveyor belt of issues that are coming from financial impacts, I think. For our members, it's making sure that it doesn't become too restrictive.

Ocê, diolch am hynny. Dŷch chi i gyd wedi ateb y cwestiwn yn sôn amboutu grantiau a'r cyllidebau sydd ar gael gan Lywodraethau gwahanol, a dwi'n derbyn hynny. Ond mae'r berthynas, wrth gwrs, gyda'r Undeb Ewropeaidd, yn lot mwy na hynny, ac mae'r cytundeb rhwng Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig a'r Undeb Ewropeaidd yn cynnwys lot fawr o elfennau gwahanol sy'n ymwneud â sut ydych chi'n masnachu dros ffiniau. Oes yna unrhyw newidiadau y buasech chi eisiau eu gweld i'r cytundebau sydd gyda ni ar hyn o bryd a fuasai'n rhyddhau'r busnesau dŷch chi'n eu cynrychioli i actually gweithio yn rhwyddach gyda busnesau yn yr Undeb Ewropeaidd?

Okay, thank you for that. You've all responded to my question by talking about grants and the funding available by different Governments, and I accept those points. But the relationship with the European Union is wider than that, and there is an agreement between the UK Government and the European Union, including a great many different elements related to how we trade across borders and so on. Are there any changes that you would want to see being made to the agreements that we currently have that would free up the businesses you represent to work with businesses in the European Union?

11:45

Yn benodol o ran teledu a ffilm, byddwn i'n dweud, wrth gwrs, am yr elfen fisas—bod e'n bosibl 'fast-track-io' rhywbeth felly a carnet, efallai, yn benodol. Fel arall, dwi'n ymwybodol nad yw'r cytundebau masnach sydd wedi cael eu gwneud gan wledydd tu fas i'r Undeb Ewropeaidd yn cynnwys rhyw lawer o sôn am waith creadigol, a hynny am y rheswm syml fod eisiau'r rhyddid yna i werthu mewn i'r territories gwahanol os oes gyda chi ffilm neu ddogfen neu rywbeth eisiau ei wneud fel hynny. Felly, byddwn i ddim yn gweld bod eisiau bod yna gytundebau pellach, ond gyda'r Undeb Ewropeaidd efallai, a oes yna ffordd o edrych ar fisas a carnet ac yn y blaen, a chyfnodau byr o weithio. 

Specifically in terms of television and film, I would say that the visa element—if we could have the fast-track for those, particularly with regard to the carnet and so on. I think that's an important point. Otherwise, I'm aware that the trade deals that have been struck with nations outwith the European Union don't include a great deal of mention of creative work, for the simple reason that we need the freedom to sell into the different territories if you have films or documentaries and so on. So, I wouldn't want to see further deals being struck, but I think we need to look at the agreements that we currently have as to how we work with visas and carnets and so on, and short periods of work.

Dr Enrique Uribe Jongbloed 11:45:58

Yes, I would agree with that ask. Any kind of process that simplifies or that makes it easier to understand what the positives are and how they can be done quicker would really help the media sector, because the main issue there is the time it takes. And because of the processes that are done in the media sector, they require to be developed quickly because they are not very lengthy in the type of concerts they do or in the types of projects they have. So, it would be really important to have something that informs in a better and quicker way those who are intending to do that, to get the visas for the people coming over or for going over, and also to solve any of the other issues that might arise. So, a point of contact is very important, I think.

I've got nothing more to add. I agree with that.

Ocê, diolch. Fe wnawn ni symud at Carolyn. 

Okay, thank you. We'll move to Carolyn. 

Okay. So, we talked about advice, guidance and support that's needed, and a central hub would be really useful where you could—. A one-stop shop where you could get the guidance. Do you feel that the creative sector's needs for information is different to that of other industries? And also there was mention that Creative Wales—. You've got a partnership with Creative Wales. Would they be able to help you, do you think, with providing that sort of advice going forward? 

O safbwynt yr ochr teledu a ffilm, dwi ddim yn credu bod yr anghenion mor wahanol â hynny, a dweud y gwir, o ran gallu, ond mae'r pwynt wedi ei wneud o ran ceisio cael un man i gael y wybodaeth. Dwi'n cytuno 100 y cant gyda'r pwynt hynny. Ac mae'n bosib, efallai, fod rhagor o waith—nid fy mod i eisiau rhoi rhagor o waith i Cymru Greadigol, ond efallai mai dyna un peth y gellid ei wneud yn y fan honno. Ond dwi ddim yn credu ei fod e'n gofyn am rywbeth gwahanol, ond cael y wybodaeth yn gyflym a'i fod e'n bosib i weithredu'r fisas a'r lleoliadau, a phethau fel hynny, yn gyflym fyddai'n ffordd. 

In terms of television and film, I don't think that the needs are that different, but the point has been made in trying to seek that one-stop shop. I agree 100 per cent with that point that was made. And perhaps—not that I want to give Creative Wales more to do, but that is perhaps one thing that they could do in addition. I don't think that it's asking for anything different, but getting the information swiftly so that we can respond to the via requirement and so on would be very useful. 

Okay, because I'm reading here that the committee heard previously that UK Music—a different industry—were talking to UK Government about a central advice hub, but these discussions have stalled. So, I'm just trying to find another way in. How can we help push that, really? How do Welsh and UK Governments gather information about the impact of the new relationship with the EU on culture, and how do you feed into that process? So, just trying to learn how we can do that in Wales to try and raise the profile of this industry, to make sure it's having a greater profile and greater importance, really.

Well, yes, I mean—. Well, the work we're doing—. This is the only discussion that we've had as TAC and representing the members of TAC about the problems. I'm not aware that the UK Government have asked for or required information. So, I'm not sure if they are collecting that type of information. I think that this today, the conversation, the discussion around it is so important.

Shall we just check if Enrique—? Enrique or Luke, do you either of you want to add anything? Enrique. 

Dr Enrique Uribe Jongbloed 11:49:44

We haven't had—. That has been one of the main subjects that we added to our survey, so whenever we do the surveys, we generally understand how the market is for the media sector in the whole of Wales, and it was only one of the open questions that said, 'How much have other factors had an impact on your production or on your development?' That's where we have either COVID, Brexit or the cost-of-living crisis, just to get an idea of how those things have impacted the media sector. But obviously that's also interesting for the case of Media Cymru, because we tried to gather some information, but we haven't done one specific relationship with the EU, which would be useful to do, maybe together with Creative Wales. Having that kind of central point for now, being part of Creative Wales, that would be already very useful, I think, for all of the people in the media sector, because there would be one point at which we can get the information that we need, and that would be specifically useful for those working in Wales.

11:50

Diolch. Oh, forgive me—Luke wants to come in. Luke.

I think it's continual communication. I think, as others have said, it's at the early stages of communication from our point of view. I think that becomes a key point. I do think that my sector and those I represent, ironically, are quite bad at shouting about themselves, the irony being that they are promoters, and promote others rather than what they do. And I think that, to me—it’s having that voice. The opportunity to come along today is giving that voice of what we represent and what we do, because it’s an essential part of the sector. So, I think, for us, it’s continued communication and feeding back, and we can gather than information from our members as we continue to grow as an organisation as well, and expand what we do.

Okay. Thank you, Chair. I think that covers everything.

Lovely. Diolch yn fawr. 

Rwyf yn meddwl bod hwn yn gwestiwn yn benodol ar gyfer TAC. O ran y strategaeth ryngwladol gan Lywodraeth Cymru, mae cynhyrchu teledu a ffilm—maen nhw'n gosod hynna mas fel un o'r tair canolfan ragoriaeth, neu centres of excellence. Sut mae'r trefniadau ôl-Brexit yn effeithio ar allu'r sector i hyrwyddo ei hunan ar lwyfan y byd fel canolfan ragoriaeth?

I think this is a specific question for TAC and Dyfrig, but in terms of the international strategy, television and film production are set out by the Welsh Government as one of the three centres of excellence. How do the post-Brexit arrangements impact the ability of the sector to promote itself on the global stage as a centre of excellence?

Wel, mae wedi effeithio oherwydd costau teithio ac yn y blaen. Mae fforddio mynd, ddywedwn i, i'r marchnadoedd ffilm a theledu yn un ffactor yn hynna. Felly, mae'n rhaid i chi werthu eich cynnyrch, fel rŷch chi'n dweud, a'i fod e'n un o'r elfennau rhagoriaeth. 

Eto, does dim tystiolaeth, data pendant gyda fi. Dwi'n gwybod bod yna gwmnïau sy'n aelodau o TAC yn dal yn ceisio mynd dramor i werthu ac yn y blaen. Dwi'n gwybod bod Cymru Greadigol yn cydweithio ar hynna, a hefyd, wrth gwrs, mae Ffilm Cymru a mudiadau fel yna yn gwneud gwaith da. Ond wrth gwrs dyw e ddim mor hawdd â beth oedd e. Dyna yw'r ateb yn syml.

Well, it has had an impact because of travel and transport costs and so on. Affordability, I would say, in terms of accessing the film and television markets is one factor there. You have to sell your content, as you say, don't you? And that's one of the elements of excellence that have been identified.

But I don't have specific data or evidence. I know companies that are members of TAC are still trying to travel abroad to sell their content and so on. I know that Creative Wales is collaborating with them on that process, and Ffilm Cymru Wales and similar organisations are doing good work in that regard. But it's not as easy as it was, that's the simple answer.

Diolch am hynna. 

Thank you very much for that.

To everyone: we've already had evidence from a number of different organisations who've argued that it would be beneficial for the UK to rejoin Creative Europe. Do you agree with that? I can see, Enrique, that you are nodding emphatically. Could you set out why, and what benefits you think that there would be from rejoining Creative Europe? Enrique.

Dr Enrique Uribe Jongbloed 11:53:31

Definitely any of those direct connections that have been mentioned, because if you break those links, that's what makes the feeling that was mentioned earlier, that the UK is not a place to try to engage with co-productions. So, I think some of that sends a message, and that makes it clear that there is an interest in being part, and being connected, in the creative sector with Europe, which is one of the main things that's important there. 

Diolch. Luke, is that something that you would agree with?

Luke Hinton 11:54:04