What isThe Smart Fund

The Smart Fund is proposed as a collaboration between creators and performers, technology companies and the Government. It provides a direct way for tech manufacturers to invest in, grow, empower, and enrich the cultural DNA of our society, by supporting the creativity for which the UK is globally renowned.

The Smart Fund places a small one-off levy on to mobiles, laptops, PCs and devices that are built to allow people to store and download content.

These small payments, the equivalent of 1-3% of the sales value, are paid into a central fund that is then distributed to creators to help them sustain a living from their content, support and bring together communities, and put different parts of the UK on an equal footing.

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

Gilane Tawadros, Chief Executive, DACS

Schemes like the Smart Fund exist and operate successfully in 44 countries worldwide, paying out over £930 million to creators and performers globally in 2018 alone.

By building on the foundations laid by similar schemes in Europe to reflect the outcomes from Covid-19, the UK can create a sustainable and optimal Smart Fund.

Based on a study of different schemes, the UK could raise between £250 and £300 million a year in supporting the UK’s creative sector.

You only have to look at what becoming a city of culture means in terms of the economic and regenerative impact to see the benefits brought by arts and cultural investments. I grew up in Bournemouth and I moved back here seven years ago. I’ve just set up a new gallery to bring international artists to my local community and my studio is more than just a place where I create work too. Studios act as creative hubs and their impact is much wider than the work made in them. A lot of artists also employ people from the local economy, whether that’s picture framers, paper suppliers, the local art shop or as studio assistants.

Stuart Semple, Bournemouth based artist

The Smart Fund has the potential to support younger creators and communities by using a proportion of revenues to establish a ‘Culture and the Community Fund’.

This could provide tailored support to young creators and performers as well as to support levelling up in disadvantaged areas.

Payments from the French community fund have been used to help artists and performers to keep working through the Covid-19 pandemic.