Published  28/04/2008

Non-doms arise and fly

This may not be the moment to pity the plight of the 'non-dom' art lovers. But the effect of Messrs Brown and Darling's heavily clunking attempts to penalise them has had the direct effect of creating a climate of withdrawal (of works) from British museums. This comes just as the coffers are being raided from all directions to save the Olympics budget deficit. It might even be worthwhile to bring back the allotments removed from the site to grow vegetables for the street markets, such as the stall of the aforementioned Ms Tessa Jowell (still relying on Italian veggie?). The Victoria and Albert Museum has indicated that some 35% of their funding comes from non-dom sources, as does 55% of the Courtauld Institute's funding, recorded over the past five years. Worse still, if a donor has acquired art in the USA or EU from an expatriate income source, he or she will be landed with 40% tax. Perhaps worse for the mega-rich funders is the insult of the £30,000 tax they must pay (which they can absolutely afford - it's just the insult that hurts). This creates and fosters the climate of envy. Looking at 15th-century Florence, and the effects of the bubonic plague on investment and patronage then, is not this today's equivalent in the banking halls and hedge fund sanctuaries?

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