Membership of the EU Single Market and free movement of people is critical to the health of Scotland’s culture, tourism and creative sectors, Fiona Hyslop has warned.
The Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Secretary says Scotland’s ability to establish creative partnerships, access EU funding and attract EU nationals to work in our tourism industry would be curtailed.
Retaining the ability of EU nationals to come to Scotland to work is also essential. 21% of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s musicians and staff, for example, are from the EU and more than 20,000 staff from other EU countries are employed in Scotland’s tourism industry.
The high proportion of staff from overseas, including the EU, is an important component in the international reputation of the Edinburgh festivals. The cultural skills and international networks that these staff bring are vital to sustaining the festivals world class programmes.
Hyslop and Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe Michael Russell met with industry leaders in Edinburgh to discuss the impact of leaving the EU.
She said: “Our ties with Europe are historic, and we need to protect them if we are to continue to reap the benefits – both from an economic perspective, but moreover to protect our commitment to human cultural and intellectual collaboration.
“We have published our proposals to secure Scotland’s interests and to protect our relationship with the EU. Despite her strong signals that the UK is moving towards a hard Brexit the Prime Minister has committed to give our proposals serious consideration and we are determined to hold her to account.
“Freedom of movement within the EU allows our culture, creative industries and tourism sectors to recruit the best talent from across the EU, strengthening each sector’s contribution to Scotland’s economy and enriching our culture. I have heard the concerns of our industries first hand today, and I am determined to ensure their future prosperity is protected.”
Scottish Tourism Alliance chief executive Marc Crothall said: “With the picture of post-Brexit Britain and the implications for our tourism business becoming clearer, it is important that we have regular dialogue and a place round the table with the Scottish Government and our public agencies to discuss the main issues and concerns which our tourism businesses are facing.
“Our priority will be to try to mitigate the negative effects of Brexit for our industry and influence supportive change at policy level to allow our tourism businesses to face the future confidently.”