We ask Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to protect our culture sector

ALCS has written an open letter to both leadership candidates, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, communicating three pressing issues for writers and the creative sector.

The current cost of living crisis is putting pressure on both the cultural workforce and consumers of culture. We want to make sure that with the upcoming change to Government, writers’ issues are not overlooked.  

The letter details three proposals: 

        1. Champion the next generation of our creative and cultural workforce  

During the pandemic, much of the freelance workforce in the creative sector was unable to access vital Government support schemes.  

We want to ensure that there is no repeat of this by asking the Government to create the position of a Freelance Commissioner, a dedicated champion for the workforce during the difficulties of the cost of living crisis.  

        2. Guarantee UK production in broadcasting continues to be supported  

Public Service Broadcasting forms an integral component of our cultural output in the UK. Regardless of discussions around ownership and financing, it is irrefutable that Channel 4 and BBC are carrying out real commitments to ‘levelling-up’ and investment across the regions.  

We ask that the candidates commit to carrying on this good work by guaranteeing that UK production be incorporated into new ownership agreements in perpetuity.  

        3. Protect British high street bookshops  

Bookshops are a vital part of local communities, doubling up as community hubs. These businesses have survived the pandemic and provided social and economic value across the UK.  

We want both candidates to agree to a significant reform of the business rates system to help bookshops survive the cost of living crisis and avoid being hit by extortionate business rates payments.  

Barbara Hayes, Deputy Chief Executive, said: 

“The creative sector is one of the UK’s great success stories, a driver of economic growth and a strong employment provider across our nations and regions. In 2019, before the pandemic, it grew at four times the rate of the wider economy and contributed over £116 billion, in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA). Writers, whom we represent, are woven into the fabric of our creative arts, contributing across all the genres, from books to theatre, TV, film and, indeed, computer games.   

It is crucial the two prospective leaders make solid commitments to supporting the sector at this difficult time as the cost of living crisis is set to get more difficult for everyone across the UK.”  

The full letter can be read here.