British Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright is set to claim that the British TV business will “remain a vital part of what Britain offers the world” regardless of its Brexit settlement. Wright, who is giving a keynote speech at the Edinburgh International Television Festival on Wednesday, will say that the UK has a “broadcasting sector that’s really worth shouting about.”
This comes amid fears that the British broadcasting sector will be worse off when the UK leaves the European Union. Broadcasters including A+E Networks, Discovery, Disney, Fox and Turner have already slammed the UK government’s plans for how Brexit will impact the television business – claiming its recent white paper offers “little clarity” for the sector. International broadcasters invest more than £1 billion ($1.3 billion) a year in the UK in the form of content, jobs, overhead and infrastructure, and the UK is Europe’s leading international broadcasting center, home to 650 international channels.
“Strong public service broadcasters mean a strong broadcasting sector as a whole. They are vital in helping all broadcasters find talent, and one of the things I have heard loud and clear already is how important it is to find the right talent in this industry,” he will say in his remarks. “I know that there is concern about how talent will be able to move between the UK and the EU after EU exit. Although you will understand that the final outcome is still subject to our future immigration system, I can say that the government well and truly understands how important mobility is for this sector.
“As outlined in the recent White Paper, we are seeking to agree a framework for mobility with the EU. This will include reciprocal arrangements to allow UK nationals to visit the EU without a visa for short term business reasons, with equivalent arrangements for EU citizens coming to the UK. We are working on a broader accord with the EU on culture and education that will, among other things, allow for the temporary movement of goods for major events, tours, exhibitions, and productions. We understand the importance of retaining European Works Status for the sector, and we were able to confirm this earlier in the year. I recognize, of course, that there are still issues to be resolved in this [EU Exit] process and you have my assurance that I will make the case for the interests of this sector as we seek to resolve them.
“Regardless of our settlement with the EU, broadcasting will remain a vital part of what Britain offers the world.”