'All to play for' following Government spending review

8 December 2020

The SoA will continue to lobby for its Six-Point Plan following the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, on 25 November.

The CSR, which had been due to set four-year departmental budgets up to April 2024, was replaced at short notice by an abridged annual settlement, paving the way for more lobbying efforts in the New Year. 

The Chancellor’s announcement, which excluded commitments to further help the self-employed or increase the Public Lending Right budget, contained two potentially important measures for the cultural and creative industries:  

  • The creation of a UK Shared Prosperity Fund following the loss of EU Structural Funds worth £2.1 billion a year; and  
  • The establishment of a £7 million Global Screen Fund to replace Creative Europe’s MEDIA programme, which contributed €53.2 million to UK film between 2014 and 2020. 

As well as pushing hard on our Six-Point Plan, we will be working closely with the Creative Industries Federation and others to ensure that authors and creative professionals can access similar – or improved – levels of public funding following the loss of these important EU funds. 

Commenting on the Chancellor’s CSR, SoA Chief Executive, Nicola Solomon, said: 

The Government has clearly decided to hold off providing a four-year funding framework until the New Year owing to uncertainties surrounding Brexit and Coronavirus. 

There is still all to play for and we will be pushing our Six-Point Plan hard in the New Year ahead of the Chancellor’s budget in March, and we remain hopeful of progress on PLR funding and VAT on audiobooks. 

It is hugely disappointing that the Government has so far failed to listen to many of the concerns we have raised about authors’ incomes but we are already working with ALCS to provide an evidence base for MPs to take to Government, following the All-Party Parliamentary Writers’ Group’s comprehensive report on writers’ incomes in November 2018. 

We have to keep making the case for better support for self-employed creatives, as well as making a strong ‘Levelling Up’ case for improved PLR and public funding for literature and the arts to meet or beat EU levels.