Edinburgh at night

Scottish writers facing hardship in the pandemic

Bill Armstrong gives evidence to MSPsWGGB Scotland Chair Bill Armstrong (left) gave evidence last week (Thursday 28 January 2021) to the Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee on the impact of Covid-19 on Scotland’s cultural sector.

Bill was able to highlight to MSPs the experiences of writers during the pandemic and what it has meant across different craft areas.

His evidence focused on how the pandemic has affected writers’ payments at various stages during projects, the loss of playwright commissions because of theatre closures, and how Covid-19 restrictions have reduced the amount of filming allowed in the TV and film industry.

Bill dispelled the myth that the pandemic has been a positive time for writers, who have lost work and are burdened with mental health issues, caring responsibilities, financial concerns and boredom.

The union is calling on policy makers to create a genuine framework and strategy for recovery in the industry with workers voices front and centre.

Bill Armstrong said: “It was an honour to be able to represent the lives and views of Scottish writers directly to Scotland’s policy makers and to get their voices heard where they can make a difference. It was the result of months of collective effort, careful research, detailed preparation and persistent lobbing on the part of the Scottish Committee. And it is only the start. Watch this space…”

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