Government targets authors with cut in PLR rate for first time in nearly 20 years

The British Con-Lib Coalition government is again proving it has little commitment to improving literacy levels and is intent on its mandate to dismantle a reading culture amongst the public not only by cuts to the library service but by proposing the first cut in the money authors earn for each book loaned by public libraries in almost 20 years. The last cut also came from a Conservative government in 1991.

If approved, the reduction in the rate per library loan will happen in the next annual round of payments (February 2011). The DCMS has written to authors' organisations with the reduced rate, 6.25 pence per loan.

The rate previously stood at 6.29 pence per loan. The DCMS will consult with interested parties for eight weeks before finalising the rate in the New Year although the outcome that any consultation process will have an effect is unlikely.

PLR Registrar Jim Parker said: "It doesn't come as a huge surprise as we had a 3% cut in funding this year, like other organisations, and there was also a rise in the number of library loans made."

A DCMS spokesperson said the last cut to the loan per rate was in 1991, when it was cut from 1.39 pence to 1.37 pence per loan.