Published on: 20 June 2016 in Industry

How would leaving the EU affect directors and Directors UK?

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Directors UK has undertaken an assessment of the risks to directors and to Directors UK of a vote to leave the European Union in the referendum on 23 June.

To help directors make their decision a full report was recently made available to Directors UK members. Here is a summary of our main findings:

  • EU funding for film and television – a risk that UK access to funds that support film and television production - such as the European Regional Development Fund and the MEDIA programme - will be restricted or cut off.
  • Co-productions and sales – if UK films and TV programmes no longer count as European for quota purposes, they will be potentially less attractive to co-production partners or buyers in the rest of Europe.
  • Copyright – the EU is actively looking at a number of aspects of copyright law, including vital proposals to improve remuneration to authors (including directors) and to counter contractual abuses affecting freelancers. Our international organisations like CISAC, FERA and SAA would continue the fight, but we would be unable to do so directly. There would be no British MEPs or members of the European Commission to lobby.
  • Taxation – currently the UK has treaties with most European states that are designed to avoid the double taxation of payments like royalties that transfer from one country to another, as is the case with our foreign distribution payments to you. Individuals could face double taxes and more administration if the UK were unable to maintain these treaties once we leave the EU.
  • Working outside the UK – if the free movement of people between the UK and the rest of Europe was made more restrictive, this could impact your ability to work in the rest of Europe and restrict your ability to bring colleagues to the UK to work on your projects.
  • Rights of working people – many of the protections of the rights of working people originated in Europe: limits on overall working time, holiday pay, maternity and paternity leave, protection for agency workers etc. These could be under threat of UK government action if we left the EU.
  • Could a UK exit have any beneficial effects for directors? - We were unable to identify any areas where a UK exit would clearly benefit directors in their professional careers or Directors UK.
  • Directors UK has benefitted from strong and productive relationships with our partners in Europe, and with many British MEPs and members of Commission staff. Our ability generally to exercise influence for good and in your interest would be lost if we were to leave the EU.

We identified a number of areas where the impact of Brexit is unclear: on trade, on the UK’s policy regarding its own use of State Aid such as tax credits and Lottery funding, on competition law as it affects the way that Directors UK can negotiate on behalf of its members.

We also identified two areas where we think there will be little or no impact: on the recently passed EC Directive on Collective Management Societies, on the Cable and Satellite Directive.

The Board has decided not to make a recommendation to Directors UK members as to how they should vote. However, members have been encouraged to contact us with any questions they have and to share their own views.

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