Tuesday, 21 August 2018

No B****t dividend for authors

In the Public Lending Right Scheme 1982 (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 which were published on 13 August (they have not yet been laid before Parliament), the Government has paved the way for public lending right to carry on unchanged after the UK leaves the EU. As PLR is not a creature of EU law, you might wonder why this is necessary: the answer is that the Regulations will ensure that UK-resident authors will still be eligible to register for PLR after the UK is no longer a member of the EEA. This requires an amendment of the definition of "eligible person", effected by these regulations - made under the Henry VIII powers given by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

The amendment inserts the words "the United Kingdom or" before "EEA", meaning that the geographical extent of the scheme remains the same - authors resident in other EEA countries (or, from "exit day", authors in EEA countries) will be eligible. Since PLR is distributed out of a set fund, the amount available per loan depends on how many eligible authors there are. Leaving the EU might have meant a huge reduction in their numbers - but it won't, and my PLR statements will probably continue to tell me that I haven't earned enough to justify the writing of a cheque. Still, it's not the sort of windfall I'd have wanted.

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