Defend Public Lending Right!

The government has announced as part of its "bonfire of the quangos" that the wonderfully efficient and actually very good value for money Public Lending Right office in Stockton-on-Tees is to cease operating as an autonomous body, and will likely be merged into the Arts Council. It is doubtful whether the move will result in any real efficiency savings.

PLR Registar Dr Jim Parker and his staff of twelve are always quickly reachable by phone, and have long provided an excellent service for authors. Of the £7.58 million in grants it received in 2009-10, it distributed £6.76 million to authors. Many authors rely on the PLR payments that they receive when their books are borrowed from public libraries. Payments will continue, although details of the PLR office's transfer are still unclear. Authors can sign up for PLR at www.plr.uk.com

The government has since announced that PLR funding will be cut to £6.956 million in 2014 - 6.6 per cent in cash terms and who knows how much after inflation. Please write to your MP protesting the plans to abolish the Public Lending Right body.

See the ALCS site via maureen-plr.notlong.com for extracts of a spirited speech by author Maureen Duffy in defence of PLR.

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