Letter: Art heritage at risk from Europe's taxes

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The Independent Online
Sir: Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has recently arranged the purchase, from a private source in the United States, of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's A Vision of Fiammetta. But, may I point out, had this negotiation taken place later this year Sir Andrew would almost certainly have had to pay an import tax, in line with Europe, when bringing the painting into the UK.

This is because other European states are declining to adopt the British system of not taxing works of art entering their countries from outside the community. This would be of enormous benefit to the cultural interests of Europe with a minimal loss to their revenue.

Peter Brooke, the Secretary of State for National Heritage, at the opening of the Grosvenor House Antiques Fair, said, 'if only the other 11 would wake up to the cultural heritage of all member states of the community'. He is of course right, otherwise, regrettably, this European taxation will discourage collectors, and, moreover, museums throughout the community will inevitably become the ultimate losers.

Yours faithfully,

GEORGE J. LEVY

London, W1

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