MPs back PA campaign calling for end to VAT on e-books and audiobooks

MPs back PA campaign calling for end to VAT on e-books and audiobooks

Nearly 40 MPs have signed a letter calling for the Chancellor to remove VAT on e-books and audiobooks.

Parliamentarians including ex-Cabinet members Penny Mordaunt, David Mundell and Stephen Crabb also joined an Axe the Reading Tax campaign event at the Houses of Parliament.

The campaign, organised by the Publishers Association, is demanding Sajid Javid removes the 20% tax on digital reading formats, arguing it affects childhood literacy and is unfair.

In December 2019, the EU Council changed the law to allow member states to reduce VAT on digital material, bringing it in line with print. But, despite countries including France, Ireland and Italy making the change, the UK still has not.

Harlow MP Robert Halfon said: “It is incredibly unfair that people who buy digital books or magazines have to pay 20% more than those who do not.

“We should be doing everything possible to encourage reading, especially when nine million adults have low literacy and numeracy skills.”

Stephen Lotinga, c.e.o of the Publishers Association, said: ‘‘The government has rightly never applied tax to print books in order to protect access to knowledge and learning. This principle must also be applied to digital reading formats, which many people need to use to experience the joys of reading.’’