AceShowbiz - Elton John has blasted British leaders for bungling their handling of the music industry post-Brexit.
The rocker is "livid" about the lack of provision made for sections of the entertainment industry that rely on travel within the European Union, following the decision to sever ties with the rest of the continent and go it alone.
New rules, which were introduced at the beginning of 2021, do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in mainland Europe, prompting fears touring artists will incur fines and fees in many of the countries they visit.
"I'm so angry. I'm livid about what the Government did when Brexit happened," Elton tells The Observer newspaper. "They made no provision for the entertainment business, and not just for musicians, actors and film directors, but for the crews, the dancers, the people who earn a living by going to Europe."
"People like me can afford to go to Europe because we can get people to fill in the forms and get visas done, but what makes me crazy is that the entertainment business brings in £111 billion a year to this country and we were just tossed away."
The "Rocket Man" hitmaker insists the new rules will be "crucifying" for new acts touring through Europe.
"They are philistines. The Government are philistines," he hissed. "We've got used to governments, especially the British Government, just telling us lies every day, and I don't feel OK with that."
"Look what they did with the NHS (National Health Service). After all that those people did during COVID, they give them a one per cent increase. I find that extraordinary. I just can't live with that. It makes me so angry."
In response, a Government spokeswoman tells Press Association, "We want musicians and other creative professionals to be able to tour easily abroad. Short-term, temporary visits for paid performances by UK musicians are possible in at least 17 EU countries, including France, Germany and the Netherlands, without needing visas or work permits."
"However, we recognise the difficulties still being faced by the sector. That is why we are working closely with individual member states to encourage them to adopt a more flexible approach, in line with the UK's own rules which allow creative professionals to tour easily here."