55% of writers surveyed by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) said that rising energy and food costs throughout 2022 were impacting on their ability to sustain a writing career, severely impacting livelihoods, and the cultural industries which depend upon their skills.
A survey of more than 250 writers, conducted by the trade union, found that as well as energy and food bills, other factors that impacted their ability to engage in writing work included having less time to work as a writer, or apply for funding, development schemes or other opportunities.
67% of those surveyed reported having to rely on their savings in order to manage day-to-day expenditure, while 37% said they had to rely on their partners’ earnings. More than 70% respondents had earned £18,000 or less for their writing work in the last financial year. The majority (over 80%) said they were freelance writers, highlighting the precarious nature of employment for screenwriters, playwrights, authors, audio dramatists and videogames writers that the union represents.
The survey also highlighted an industry-wide dearth of opportunity and an increase in poor practice. Several respondents highlighted how real wages were not rising with inflation as the creative industries continued to experience the dual shocks of Brexit and Covid. There were many reports of late payments, shrinking production budgets and reduced audience sizes.