Olivia Colman among figures backing calls for Smart Fund levy to boost creative industries

Olivia Colman is backing the calls for a 'gadget tax'. (Photo by Alberto Pezzali-Pool/Getty Images)
Olivia Colman is backing the calls for a 'gadget tax'. (Photo by Alberto Pezzali-Pool/Getty Images)

Olivia Colman and Imelda Staunton are among the leading cultural figures backing calls for a one-off levy on devices used to download and store “creative content” in order to boost the arts.

Organisers say the Smart Fund could raise up to £300 million a year from payments of between 1-3% of the sales value of devices including mobiles, laptops and PCs.

The money would be paid into a central fund used to “fairly reward creators and performers in making a living from their content,” according to the fund.

Read more: Womad music festival cancelled to ‘guarantee its survival’

It states similar schemes exist in 44 countries which is made up of groups representing visual artists, writers, performers and directors.

Artist Yinka Shonibare is also a backer. (Photo by Darren Gerrish/WireImage for The Royal Academy of Arts)
Artist Yinka Shonibare is also a backer. (Photo by Darren Gerrish/WireImage for The Royal Academy of Arts)

The Smart Fund says it would generate “huge” annual investment for the creative industries and boost a wider economic recovery.

Backers include actors Staunton and Colman, artists Sir Frank Bowling, Rachel Whiteread and Yinka Shonibare.

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.

Watch:Culture Secretary announces £400m arts funding

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

Read more: Further £300 million of coronavirus-related arts funding to be distributed

Shonibare said: “The Smart Fund is a no brainer. Currently there isn’t any effective way for creators to be recompensed when their work is downloaded and stored by audiences.

“This remains one of the largest untapped opportunities for creators and performers.

“The Smart Fund provides a way to invest in creative talent of all ages and backgrounds and their communities.”

With reporting by PA.