Writers have long been grateful for Britain's excellent Public Lending Right (PLR) scheme, which pays 6p each time one of our books is borrowed from public libraries. Funded by the Department for Culture Media and Sport, the scheme is efficiently run. The payments are especially valuable to many writers whose books do not have large sales but are widely borrowed. The top limit of £6,600 per year ensures that the scheme favours writers on low incomes.The Guild has also written to the brand new Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, and hosted a meeting of the PLR Advisory Committee, which agreed to make efforts to get the cuts reversed.
Recently the DCMS achieved a good three-year funding settlement. It was therefore a major blow to learn that it intends to cut the PLR allocation next year and that there will be no increase over three years. At the same time, the government has designated 2008 the National Year of Reading. We are not only extremely disappointed by the fall in PLR, we are also confused: does the government support writers or not?
The plan to reduce PLR, when the arts budget is rising, seems perverse and mean-spirited. We call on the new secretary of state, Andy Burnham, to reconsider it.
Chair, Society of Authors
David Edgar President
Writers' Guild of Great Britain
Antony Beevor, Margaret Drabble, Helen Dunmore, Philippa Gregory, AC Grayling, Peter James, David Lodge, David Nobbs, Harold Pinter, Philip Pullman, Andrew Roberts and Rose Tremain
Monday, February 04, 2008
Top writers including Guild President David Edgar, have written to The Guardian complaining about proposed cuts in money spent on Public Lending Right (PLR).