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Putting writers at the heart of the story

The UK creative industries are a success and writers are central to that. As the UK faces a General Election on 4 July, WGGB has today (6 June 2024) launched a manifesto which calls on whoever forms the next Government to implement our recommendations around four key areas, which we believe will protect, nurture and support UK writers.

Writers create the stories which form the bedrock of our world-leading creative industries, currently worth over £124 billion to the UK economy. Yet they are often underpaid, unprotected and their vital contributions overlooked.

Currently, whole sections of our industry are struggling to survive – theatres are closing or ceasing to develop new work, the number of UK independent films has been steadily reducing and our public service broadcasters are commissioning fewer original works.

This is reflected in what WGGB members have been telling us. A poll of WGGB theatre members post-pandemic found that 74% of playwrights had lost income due to the Covid shutdowns and 50% believed they would not be working in two years’ time. And a WGGB survey on writers and AI published in 2023 found that 65% of respondents believed that increased use of AI would reduce their income from writing, while 61% were worried that AI could replace jobs in their craft area.

More support is needed to ensure that the UK can continue to produce content that reflects the vibrancy and diversity of modern Britain. This is true of all sectors in which WGGB members work in – film, TV, theatre, audio, books, poetry, comedy, animation and videogames.

WGGB’s manifesto recommendations centre around fair payfair treatmenta sustainable sector and copyright and AI. You can read our recommendations in detail in our manifesto Putting writers at the heart of the story.

WGGB General Secretary Ellie Peers said: “Our members conjure the characters, worlds and stories that delight audiences, whether that’s on the page, stage, screen or across our airwaves.

“Writing is a highly skilled job and everything starts with the writer – without them there would be no feature films, TV or audio dramas, no plays, no books, poems or videogames.

“They provide the fuel that fires our creative industries, which in turn makes a major contribution to the UK economy. We call on whoever forms the next Government to enshrine protections for writers on fair pay and fair treatment, ensure that the creative sector is sustainable and, in a world that is being transformed by AI, introduce robust protections on copyright.”

What we’ll be doing

We’ll be talking to stakeholders and decision-makers about our manifesto in the run-up to and after the election to ensure writers and their vital contributions are firmly on the agenda.

What you can do:

  • Share this manifesto with parliamentary candidates standing in your area. You can find out the candidates standing in your area, plus ways to contact them, here.
  • Share this manifesto with your fellow writers and other colleagues in the creative industries, and encourage them to share it too. You can download some social media graphics here. Use the hashtag #WGGBManifesto and tag us on X @TheWritersGuild, Instagram @writersguildgb or any of our other channels
  • WGGB is a trade union NOT affiliated to any political party. You can find out more about how this affects the union in the run-up to a General Election, plus useful information on registering to vote and voter ID here