Euan McGrory: Festivals show dangers of Brexit for Edinburgh

Edinburgh International Festival Director Fergus Linehan. Pic: Ian Rutherford.
Edinburgh International Festival Director Fergus Linehan. Pic: Ian Rutherford.
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Enjoy this year’s Festival - next year’s might be a wash-out.

That’s effectively the message from International Festival director Fergus Linehan who is warning that the impact of Brexit on Edinburgh and its Festivals is likely to be somewhere between “horrible” and “catastrophic”.

Next year, his fear is that it will be impossible to replicate the success of recent years, as the impact of leaving the EU bites us hard. Struggling to hire staff, soaring costs and red tape are his biggest concerns. The possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit only magnifies those anxieties.

If your first thought is that it would be a blessed relief to see the Festivals toned down a notch or two in future, you should think again. The problems that the Festivals fear will be repeated time and again in other industries.

Edinburgh is an international city. The mainstays of our economy, as Linehan rightly points out - finance, tourism, culture and universities - are particularly reliant on attracting overseas talent and labour. The same is true, of course, of our NHS.

There are reasons why the Capital voted overwhelmingly for Remain, by a margin of three to one. We have a great deal to lose.