Masterton says Axe the Reading Tax

East Renfrewshire MP Paul Masterton has written to the Chancellor on behalf of the Axe the Reading Tax campaign which calls for zero-rating VAT on e-publications, including e-learning resources.

Currently the Government does not charge VAT on books and newspapers, acknowledging the intrinsic value of learning. However, it does charge VAT on digital reading materials such as e-books.

As the number of people reading digitally increases, more readers are unfairly penalised for the format they favour.

The campaign is supported by Members of Parliament, authors, publishers and charities who are calling for the Chancellor to Axe the Reading Tax to provide equal access to reading for all.

Research undertaken by Frontier Economics shows that the annual costs to the Exchequer would be approximately £210m, in 2019/20. However, publicly funded institutions such as universities, libraries, government departments and the NHS are large consumers of digital publications and would benefit considerably from the removal of the tax.

Frontier Economics predict that a cut to the tax would result in significant market expansion and an increase in the number of readers, books sold and a wider breadth of authors able to get their products to market.

Paul said,

“I am delighted to be able to join the campaign to remove VAT on e-publications. Reading is hugely beneficial to everyone and I welcome any move that makes reading materials, including e-learning resources easier to access”

“Children, older people and people with disabilities benefit hugely from having e-books available on digital formats and any measure to expand that is to be applauded.”