Friday, October 15, 2010

Writers' rights - PLR under threat

As part of Dave and Gideon's bonfire of quangos, it looks like the Public Lending Right administration system will be dismantled and the admin staff made redundant. For the uninitated, the PLR is the payment that each author receives when their works are borrowed from a public library. Currently, it stands at around 6p per loan. At the moment, the PLR payments themselves are not under threat, but is this the thin end of the wedge? Unless you're Katie Price or someone else who earns so much from books that you can pay some other bugger to write them for you, writing isn't a well-paid business, and for most authors, the annual PLR payment is a welcome boost. This year, I received £52.78, which might not sound a great deal, but came in handy for replacing the failing hard drive in my desktop PC. The great and the good fought for PLR back in the 1970s, and it still seems like something worth protecting. The current administrative arrangements have long been praised for their efficiency. As The Writers' Guild points out, placing the administrative centre in an employment blackspot like Stockton does a lot of good for the local economy. I have a distinct and horrifying feeling that whoever takes on the running of PLR won't do it as economically or as well as Jim Parker and his small team have done up until now. I believe that this is one quango that offers excellent value for money, and which should be saved. Anyone else with me?