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Ian Rankin calls for tax incentives for new authors

18th January 2012

Author Ian Rankin has called on the UK government to provide tax incentives to emerging writers in order to encourage new talent and help stimulate the country's creative industries.

According to the Scottish author, a similar scheme to the one implemented in Ireland, where the equivalent of GBP 33,000 of a writer's income is exempt from tax, would play a big role in giving new authors a start.

Rankin, whose Rebus novels have made him a multi-millionaire, claimed that some publishers are reluctant to take risks on new writers, as few debut novels are huge successes, but the promise of a tax break could counter-balance this potential deterrent.

'It's easier than ever to get your stuff seen by people, but it's harder than ever to make a living from it. Look at the money that publishers are paying for new writers - less than they paid 20 years ago,' he added.

The author was speaking ahead of the First Fictions festival in Sussex, which celebrates first novels and aims to highlight emerging literary talent.

It appears any potential changes to the tax system will not occur soon, however, as a spokeswoman for the Treasury claimed Rankin's suggestion is 'unworkable' at the present time.

'Any new relief adds complexity to the tax system and could come at considerable cost to the Exchequer at a time when the government's priority is rebalancing the economy,' she told the BBC.

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