PLR transfer 'should not proceed'

PLR transfer 'should not proceed'

A scrutiny committee looking into the government's decision to transfer control of the Public Lending Right to the British Library has concluded that the move should not go ahead. A view the government plans to ignore.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee published its findings today (26th June), concluding that "the government should not proceed with this draft order".

The government first proposed in 2010 that the PLR, which manages author payments for library loans, be abolished, with its function moved to another body such as the British Library.

In 2012, it held a consultation the on the proposed move, with 984 of 1,015 respondents against the idea, concerned that the changes would damage the efficiency of PLR.

Despite these responses, in March 2013 the Government concluded that the PLR body would be incorporated into the British Library subject to Parliamentary approval.

The CMS committee, chaired by Conservative MP John Whittingdale, concluded that: "It was resoundingly clear from the public consultation that there was overwhelming opposition to the Government's proposal to abolish the Registrar of Public Lending Right and to transfer its functions to another public body. We continue to believe that the British Library is not a suitable host organisation for the PLR function given its many responsibilities and the risk that these could take priority over the PLR function."

It added: "The success of the Registrar of the Public Lending Right is due to it being a small, discrete body whose purpose is focused on the authors and the right-holders which it supports . . .  intruding a remote management structure from the British Library's base in Boston Spa could jeopardise this success."

Culture minister Ed Vaizey said when the move was announced that it would save £750,000 over ten years, with authors seeing no changes to how their payments were made.

PLR has been running for 30 years, and made payments over that time of £38m to 50,000 authors. In 2013, PLR expects to pay £6.4m to more than 23,000 authors, at a rate of 6.2p per library loan.

A spokesman for the DCMS said in response to the report: "We are seeking parliamentary approval to abolish the Registrar of PLR and transfer the functions to the British Library. Subject to passage through Parliament, the abolition and transfer would take effect on 1 October 2013. The transfer is expected to save £750k in running costs over 10 years maximising the grant-in-aid available to be distributed as PLR payments.”