WGGB calls for £20m support package for Scottish writers

WGGB calls for £20m support package for Scottish writers

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) is calling for a £20m support package from the Scottish government for writers and other creatives.

The WGGB, a union which represents writers across books, TV, theatre and elsewhere, wants a £15m “creative sustainable livelihood fund” set up for freelance creatives in Scotland who do not qualify for current support such as the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

It is also calling for a £5m creative commissions scheme, enabling artists to contribute their expertise to help venues and arts companies at risk following the lockdown.

The Scottish branch outlined its proposal in letters to Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop, cross-party culture convener Joan McAlpine and Creative Scotland c.e.o. Iain Munro.

It argues the funding could be partly taken from the £97m earmarked for Scotland as part of the UK government’s £1.5bn support package for the arts.

WGGB Scotland chair Bill Armstrong said: “Many freelance writers and other creative workers have missed out on emergency funding until now and our constructive and innovative proposals would see them getting a £15m share of the £107m lifeline funding which the First Minister has said will be quickly passed on in full to culture and heritage in Scotland.

“Our proposals also offer significant community and economic benefits as the initiative and creativity of the cultural workforce would be harnessed for the common good and to help establish Scotland as a world leader in the creative industries.

 “We believe our proposals would also promote faster recovery and a more resilient sector, as well as capitalising on this unique opportunity to address the long-term problem of inadequate arts funding in Scotland and the precarious incomes of creatives who work within it.”