The Romantic Novelists Association has written to culture secretary Jeremy Hunt protesting at the plan to transfer the administration of Public Lending Right funding for authors to a larger body because folding the current PLR into a larger operation "will almost certainly lead to higher running costs" which would "adversely affect hard pressed authors.
The body administering the Public Lending Right has been based in Stockon on Tees for the past 30 years and has been run efficiently and effectively for all that time. But Hunt announced last month that it would be abolished as part of its cull of quangoes, with its responsibilities transferred elsewhere.
Novelist Katie Fforde, current chair of the RNA, has written to Hunt to tell him the move would not be cost-effective and would therefore impact on payments to authors. She says, "The current PLR office is a most efficient independent body for administering government money," Fforde told Hunt. "It has shown itself a master at reducing overheads and is incredibly efficient."
Individual RNA members, led by the example of novelist Freda Lightfoot, have also been writing to their MPs to protest on the issue.
The Secretary of the Society of Authors, Mark Le Fanu also criticised the PLR plan. He said: "It seems an entirely political gesture that will do nothing to bring about greater efficiency, transparency and accountability, which is what the minister said the quango cut was for. It's pretty hard to see how closing down an office run so efficiently - and which has already made redundancies to save money - and moving it to another body would be any help whatever. It seems simply a numbers game to be seen to get rid of another quango. We've told the DCMS we think it is pointless."
Authors in the UK are being urged to add their voice to this protest.