14 December 2015
Following the Culture Minister Ed Vaizey’s call for input on the Government’s White Paper on Culture the SoA has made a submission.
Our submission is based on four key principles:
- Culture plays an important role in the economy and investment is essential – as two recent reports have clearly shown.
- Culture also has an immeasurable intrinsic value.
- Culture relies on creators and they must be valued, rewarded and supported.
- Literature and writing – in all its forms – are a key part of our culture and must not be overlooked.
We have made a number of specific recommendations on this basis:
- Legislate for fair contracts for creators
- Value and protect copyright
- Protect the fundamental right to freedom of expression and reform Scottish and Northern Irish libel law
- Maintain and extend Public Lending Right
- Ensure tax credit provisions support creators
- Extend the VAT averaging period for authors to five years
- Remove VAT on ebooks
- Ensure continued and expanded funding for the arts at a national and local level with support for individual creators
- Promote diversity in the arts – creators, the wider industry and audiences
- Counter monopolies and support high street bookshops
- Defend our public libraries
- Promote literacy and reading for pleasure
- Make school libraries mandatory and encourage author visits
- Value the creative subjects in the curriculum and through to a higher educational level
- Support arts and educational charities
- Protect and promote other cultural spaces, including theatres and performance spaces
The report concludes:
… it is impossible to state sufficiently the intrinsic value of culture as its most essential effects cannot be measured… Our culture is the uniquely strong and flexible foundation of modern Britain, supporting British values and encouraging imagination, empathy and enjoyment… Culture must be supported, valued, rewarded and celebrated to ensure it continues to support us for present and future generations. A long-term plan must put at its heart the support of contemporary creators as the essential producers of culture.
We have also sent the submission to the Labour Party who have also highlighted culture as a central issue in their agenda.