There are a fair number of special funds for artists of different disciplines in the UK. Many of the funds have existed for a long period of time, but always try to adapt to the constantly changing demands on artists in the UK. One example is the Royal Literary Fund, a charity which provides grants and pensions to writers in financial difficulty. In a similar vein, Help Musicians UK provides assistance to professional musicians in a crisis such as an unexpected event, illness or accident. While some of the help provided is of a financial nature, the charity also offers support in other form such as the 24/7 helpline MusicMindsMatter, which deal with musician’s mental health. Another charity is the Dance Professionals Fund, which supports dancers throughout their careers.
Salaries for artists tend to be irregular and low (see chapter 2.3). This also has long-term consequences, as many creatives do not manage to pay into their pension funds regularly and thus struggle financially in retirement. Over the years, there have been various initiatives to tackle this issue. A-n The Artists Information Company developed a fees framework for visual art so as to enable artists to quantify their work and put them in a better position when negotiating fees. Similarly, the Musicians’ Unionnegotiates minimum pay rates for freelance players with the Association of British Orchestras and also provides advice to music teachers and workshop leaders. Nevertheless, the lack of pay in the arts is a pervasive problem and a comprehensive solution has yet to be found.
In order to compensate authors for the loss incurred through loans of their books (written and audio), the government administers a Public Lending Right scheme (PLR), which remunerates authors (including writers, illustrators, translators and editors) for the number of loans of their books through public libraries (see chapter 4.1.6) .
The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 is the main legislation covering intellectual property rights in the United Kingdom (see chapter 4.1.6).
An Exhibition Payment Right previously sought to ensure that artists get paid if their work is exhibited in public galleries. It was initially implemented in 1979 by the then Arts Council of Great Britain, but later devolved to the Regional Arts Associations and in spite of initial enthusiasm, the scheme was gradually abandoned. However, in 2014, a-n The Artists Information Company started the Paying Rights Advocacy Campaign which again brings attention to the subject. While the work of the campaign has not been reflected on the legislative level yet, it has nevertheless provided artists as well as galleries with valuable tools such as an exhibition payment guide and information on contracts, budgets and negotiation.
The European Directive on droit de suite or Resale Directive came into force in the UK in January 2006 and ensures living artists benefit from a percentage of the resale prices of their works of art (see chapter 4.2.4).