APWG publishes report on authors' earnings
12 June 2019
On 11 June 2019 the UK Government's All
Party Parliamentary Writers Group (APWG) published a
report following its 2018 Inquiry into Authors' Earnings. Supporting the Writers of Tomorrow makes a
raft of recommendations to Government based on evidence given to
the Inquiry by a wide range of professional working writers, as
well as industry bodies including the Association of Authors'
Agents, the Society of Authors, the Writers' Guild of Great
Britain, the Publishers Association and the Authors' Licensing and
Collecting Society (ALCS).
The report's numerous recommendations are designed to ensure
better support for authors, while also improving government
engagement with creators; protecting the success of the UK
publishing industry beyond Brexit and ensuring fairness in the
The recommendations include:
- The adoption of new copyright rules proposed in the recently
passed EU copyright directive.
- The protection and promotion of the UK's existing, effective
- The establishment of a Creators' Council to look at a variety
of issues including diversity.
- A reduction of the rate of VAT on ebooks.
- A review of the tax and benefit rules for authors.
- The creation of a 'level playing field' between high street and
The contribution made to the UK economy by the creative
industries, which now employ 1 in 11 working people, continues to
grow and is valued at £101.6 billion. However, the most recent
piece of research undertaken on behalf of ALCS by CREATe,
University of Glasgow, shows that writers' earnings have fallen by
42% in real terms since 2005.
In addition, the 2018 ALCS survey showed that female authors
earn around 75% of their male counterparts; a discrepancy that
results both from lower rates of pay and a poorer breadth of
opportunities, particularly in film and television.
Contributors to the Inquiry also raised concerns that a decline
in authors' earnings could discourage new writers from taking up
the profession, exacerbating the lack of diversity in the
publishing and creative industries. Figures from the Department for
Culture, Media and Sport show that 92.5% of workers in the creative
industries and digital sector come from more advantaged social
groups, compared with 67.3% for the general UK workforce.
For the full report, see the All Party Parliamentary Writers Group
About the APWG
The APWG was established in November 2007. All party groups
allow MPs and Lords from all sides of the political spectrum to
keep both government and opposition parties informed on specific
policy issues, taking on board opinions from both within and
Its aims are to represent the interests of all writers, to
safeguard their intellectual property rights and to ensure they
receive a fair level of recognition and reward for their
contribution to the economy and society as a whole.