What governments giveth writers, those governments most certainly taketh away...

Writers angry over ‘petty’ cut to funding for library loans.

Leading authors condemned as “churlish and petty” yesterday the [British] Government’s decision to reduce the only funds that it gives directly to contemporary literature - particularly as 75 per cent of writers earn less than half the national average wage.

Speaking to The Times, Michael Holroyd, the biographer and former chairman of the Royal Society of Literature, said that cutting the funding to the Public Lending Right (PLR), by which authors receive 6p every time one of their books is lent by public libraries, was shameful.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is to reduce funding to the organisation from £7.68 million for 2007-08 to £7.4 million for 2008-09.

Mr Holroyd added: “The PLR is the only money that the Government gives directly to contemporary literature. They can’t do that. Such a small saving is a completely false economy. [The money saved] will not get anyone to an Olympic stadium.”

Tracy Chevalier, the author of Girl With a Pearl Earring and chairman of the Society of Authors, said: “Most authors can’t make a living off their work. The PLR is a very welcome contribution. For the Government to cut what is a reasonably small amount seems churlish and petty.”

She spoke of the irony of such cuts taking place in 2008 – designated as the National Year of Reading.
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle3285512.ece February 1, 2008.