Music industry makes plea for help from Tory leadership hopefuls
Music industry leaders have written to the final two candidates in the Tory leadership race, calling for their support if they get the keys to Number 10.
UK Music has made a list of six pledges it wants Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to sign up to, including cutting red tape for musicians and crew touring in the EU and promising to protect the future of music education.
Chief executive of the industry body Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said "music matters to millions of people across our country", including those picking the next prime minister.
"Many of them will be voting in this leadership election, and would welcome clarity from you and your campaign on how you will support our industry and make the UK the best place in the world to create, produce, perform and enjoy music," he said.
The letters were sent ahead of Sky News' Battle for Number 10 programme, taking place at 8pm tonight.
And they come amid growing concerns from the industry about the future of British music, especially in light of post-Brexit rules for bands travelling into and out of the UK.
The other pledges UK Music wants the candidates to sign up to are:
• retaining a "global gold standard" for copyright protection
• supporting UK music globally by boosting the funding for export schemes
• creating a fiscal incentive to encourage new music production
Mr Njoku-Goodwin said: "The UK music industry is a key national asset that generates huge social, economic and reputational benefits for the UK and is a source of pride and joy for millions across our country.
"We must protect it and make the most of our international success and world-leading status."
Labour said it backed the organisation's call to fix touring and would raise concerns about copyright, as well as look at the other pledges and listen to the industry ahead of the next election.
Shadow music minister Jeff Smith added: "Our UK music industry is a global success, supporting jobs and growth at home, and putting Britain on the map abroad.
"Yet the government are letting our music industry down, from their failure to secure touring visas, to threats to copyright, to their attacks on the cornerstones of our creative industries, Channel 4 and the BBC.
"The continuity Conservative leadership candidates are a broken record, with a lack of ambition for supporting growth in our music industry, and our economy. Our country needs a fresh start with Labour."
Sky News has contacted both candidates' teams for a response to the letter.