Olivia Colman and other stars call for 'gadget tax' to fund arts industry

Olivia Colman, Imelda Staunton and artist Sir Frank Bowling are calling for a ‘gadget tax’ to support the arts industry.

They argue that adding a levy of between 1% and 3% to the sale of electronic devices could be used to help people struggling in the creative fields.

The arts industry has been hit hard by Covid-19 as venues have had to close and events have had to be cancelled.

This has led to many artists, actors, musicians and others losing their jobs.

Meanwhile, the sale of smartphones, laptops and games consoles continues to increase as many people use those gadgets for consuming content.

Taxing the sale of them through a so-called ‘Smart Fund’ could raise up to £300 million per year.

Gilane Tawadros, chief executive of the Design And Artists Copyright Society (DACS), one of the groups backing the Smart Fund, said: ‘Working with the tech industry and innovators in this sector, we want to support creators and performers, to rebuild and enable the UK’s world leading cultural heritage, tourism and creative industries and contribute to its soft power and international standing.

‘The arts provide sustenance to the engine room of cultural regeneration, recovery and renewal for the whole country.’

When the money is collected, organisers of the Smart Fund say it would be paid into a central reserve, that was then paid out to content creators.

They say the money would be used to ‘fairly reward creators and performers in making a living from their content.’

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