Page last updated at 09:53 GMT, Sunday, 4 October 2009 10:53 UK

Artist Emin may quit UK over tax

Tracey Emin
Tracey Emin says France has traditionally helped artists

Artist Tracey Emin has said she is thinking of leaving the UK in protest about being overtaxed.

In a Sunday Times interview she said she was "very seriously considering leaving Britain," adding: "I'm simply not willing to pay tax at 50%."

The government's 50p tax rate for incomes of more than £150,000 will be introduced in April.

Emin said she is considering France because she thinks it has lower taxes and appreciates the arts more.

She said: "So much here is simply not working now. The taxes are too high, there aren't enough incentives to work hard, and our politicians have put me off. We're paying through the nose for everything."

'Importance of culture'

Referring to the new tax, she said: "I reckon it would mean me paying about 65p in every pound with tax, National Insurance and so on."

Emin said the Labour government had no understanding for the arts.

"At least in France their politicians have always understood the importance of culture and they have traditionally helped out artists with subsidy and some tax advantages," she said.

"We simply have what I call 'ambition politicians' who go from one department to another for career reasons," she said.

"We should never have got involved in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Nor should we have bid for the Olympics, which we've now got and cannot afford," Emin added.

The new tax rate, announced in April's Budget, broke Labour's 2005 manifesto pledge not to raise income tax for high earners during this Parliament.

The government estimated the higher rate would raise £1.13bn next year.

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