The Only Way Is Essex cast furious after producers introduce a 15 per cent 'fame tax'

RickyThe stars of The Only Way Is Essex are said to be furious over a new contract clause forcing them to hand 15 percent of their earnings to show producers.

Lime Pictures is apparently keen to 'claw back' cash from cast members who attract media attention and launch careers through the popular ITV2 show.

Under the new terms, cast must give 15% from any deals they attract - such as promotional work, magazine photoshoots and endorsements - and anyone who quits will have to pay the so-called 'fame tax' for up to a year after their exit.

But some have objected to Lime's demands, due to the low wage they're paid for the show. Bosses offer £50 a day for up to thirteen hours of filming, which equates to £3.84 an hour - £2.24 less than the minimum wage for over 21s.

A source told the Mail On Sunday: "A lot of the cast have jobs outside TOWIE. But if you are working for 13 hours a day that doesn’t leave time to hold down a second job, so they are dependent on £50 and anything else they can make from deals. It seems unfair that on top of agents’ fees and tax, they also have to give 15 per cent back to the show."

A spokesperson for Lime Pictures would only say: "We would never discuss artists’ contracts. They are private."

Figures TOWIE has catapuled in to the spotlight include Mark Wright - who is expected to earn millions after coming second in I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here last year - and Amy Childs, who was reportedly paid £200,000 to appear on Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother.

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