Future50 creative firms call for free movement of ideas and skills after Brexit

PUBLISHED: 17:21 20 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:21 20 October 2017

The Creative Industries Federation has said the sector requires free movement of people to thrive after Brexit. Picture: Archant.

The Creative Industries Federation has said the sector requires free movement of people to thrive after Brexit. Picture: Archant.

The sharing of ideas and skills is at the heart of many creative businesses which is why fears have been raised over limits to free movement.

The Creative Industries Federation has called for creatives to be allowed to ply their trade across Europe and for special freelance visas for those from outside the bloc in a sector report.

The creative sector is a strength of East Anglia, and the Future50, and supported 148,000 jobs in the East of England in 2016, according to the CIF. The industry is estimated to be worth £87bn to the UK economy and the federation said this would be jeopardised by restrictions on worker movement.

Alex Morris, co-founder of Norwich animation and film studio Lambda Films, said although the business would manage it would be disappointing if it could not hire in overseas talent.

He said: “We want to push the envelope and deliver the highest quality work and if you have got barriers to skills it is going to limit performance and aspiration.

“We have worked with a firm in India before and that was a nightmare in terms of the requirements and legalities, so if that is anything like the future we can expect it would be worrying.”

The weakening of the pound has helped some creative firms by making their prices more attractive to foreign businesses as the sector does not take a hit on imported materials.

Alex Tosh, managing director of marketing agency Creative Sponge, said he did not think Brexit would prevent his firm working with overseas businesses.

He said: “I think it would be a shame if we could not hire designers from the EU because we have worked with some really talented people. But we do have Norwich University of the Arts which churns out good talent as well so for our business in Norwich we are lucky to have such a resource on our doorstep. In other parts of the country they may have more difficulty.”

Richard Newton, founder and commercial director of Ipswich architectural firm Engineroom, said: “Free movement is about allowing creative people to move to environments where they can express themselves, and the UK has always been good at that.

“If we limit the number of creative people who come here, I believe we will see a dumbing down. Unfortunately, I think Brexit is going to be a brutal experience.”

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