Letter: UK must resist tax on art imports

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The Independent Online
Sir: Kenneth Clarke's timetable as Chancellor is reported to begin with what is termed a 'routine meeting' of the European Community finance ministers in Brussels on 7 June. But if a proposition on the agenda is adopted, the UK will regrettably lose its freedom to import antiques and works of art without paying tax, and our national museums and private collectors will no longer be on a level playing field with their US counterparts.

It is to be hoped, therefore, that instead of accepting our Treasury's apparent solution of a low rate of tax (which is a compromise doubtless susceptible to future increases), the Chancellor will resist the overall principle of taxing these art imports and be willing to defend the issue on cultural grounds in the European Court of Justice if subsequently challenged by other member states.

Yours faithfully,


H. Blairman & Sons

London, W1

31 May