12 June 2019
The Society of Authors has welcomed the findings of the All Party Writers Group’s inquiry into authors’ earnings. The SoA submitted written evidence to the inquiry and gave oral evidence to MPs during a hearing last October.
The cross-party group of MPs, chaired by former Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, considered evidence from a range of organisations and individuals about the reasons for the decline in authors’ earnings. The group has now made a series of recommendations on the various actions the Government should take to address the problem.
These recommendations include:
- Setting up a Creators’ Council to advise the Government on policies that affect authors and other creators. The Council would consist of representatives from creator organisations and would provide a similar advisory role to the Creative Industries Council.
- Ensuring that authors and the publishing industry are protected beyond Brexit. This means preserving access to European markets, the UK’s gold-standard copyright framework and a regional or national exhaustion regime.
- Supporting authors through public funding. The UK Government must ensure that the funding lost through the Creative Europe scheme is replaced.
- Ensuring fairness in the bookselling market. This includes reducing the rate of VAT on ebooks and reviewing the business rates system so high street bookshops can compete with online retailers.
The SoA supports these recommendations and looks forward to working with politicians and policy-makers to take them forward.
Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive of the Society of Authors, said:
“We welcome these findings and support all the recommendations put forward by the APWG. We are pleased to see MPs recognise the importance of preserving our copyright regime after Brexit and preserving public funding in the arts. We also support the idea of a Creators’ Council, which will ensure that creators are at the heart of policy-making in Government.
“We have argued for a long time that action needs to be taken to address the decline in authors’ earnings, and we are pleased that this has now been officially acknowledged by MPs.
“With a new Prime Minister and ministerial team due to be in place soon, it is important that this report is taken forward and given serious consideration by government. We look forward to working with ALCS, the APWG and other stakeholders to make the case for these changes over the months ahead.”