UK screenwriters are feeling the full effects of the ongoing lockdown in the country cost of living crisis,
A survey by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain revealed that 55% said rising energy and food costs this year were impacting their ability to maintain a writing career.
According to official government figures, the cost of housing in the UK has risen by 9% this year, with bills, food and transport the biggest contributors.
WGGB’s survey of more than 250 writers found that other factors affected their ability to write including less time to work or apply for funding, development plans or other opportunities.
Some 67% said they depend on their own savings to manage day-to-day expenses, while 37% said they depend on their partners’ earnings. Over 70% of respondents had earned £18,000 or less for their writing work in the previous financial year, pushing them towards the UK poverty line.
Over 80% of respondents are freelancers, further highlighting the precarious nature of employment for the screenwriters, playwrights, authors, audio dramatists and videogame authors that the union represents.
There was also a reprimand for producers and broadcasters as the survey highlighted a widespread lack of opportunity and a rise in poor behaviour, with wages not keeping up with inflation following the twin shocks of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. Many reported late payments and shrinking production budgets.
Ellie Pearce, general secretary of the WGGB, said: “After living with the twin effects of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, writers now face a severe cost-of-living crisis, as our new survey shows. UK The UK is facing the loss of a range of writing talent, and this risks pulling the rug out from under our world-beating cultural industries, which contribute more than £100BN [$118.7BN] for our economy and enjoy an enviable global profile.
“We will work with our industry partners to address the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on writers, we will continue to campaign and lobby, and we will defend our members wherever we find bad practice. “