Budget 2020: Rishi Sunak abolishes 'reading tax' on digital newspapers and books

BRITAIN'S so-called digital "reading tax" is to be axed in a huge boost for books, newspapers and magazines.

E-publications are currently subject to 20 per cent VAT, whereas their printed products are not.

The Chancellor used today's bumper Budget to ditch the unfairness between the two.

He told MPs in the House of Commons earlier: "We're… the country of Shakespeare, Austen and Dahl.

"Nothing could be more fundamental to that than reading.
"And yet digital publications are subject to VAT. That can't be right.

"So today I am abolishing the reading tax."

From December 1 this year – just in time for Christmas – newspapers, magazines or academic journals will have no VAT to pay.

And he will also slash VAT on historical fiction like the Hilary Mantel collection, and textbooks like Gray's Anatomy.

The Sun had told how campaigners had demanded the extra whack on celebrity books be ditched.

Rishi Sunak also joked that "works of fantasy like John McDonnell's economics for the many" would also be included.

Stephen Lotinga, CEO of the Publishers Association, said earlier he was delighted at the change.

"It’s fantastic that the Chancellor has acknowledged the value of reading," he said.

"The decision to axe the reading tax will bring an end to the illogical and unfair tax on those who need or prefer to read digitally and should contribute to an increase in literacy in the UK."


The Chancellor used his first Budget today to pump billions of pounds of extra cash into the economy – which he will pay for by huge hikes in borrowing.

Mr Sunak promised a £30billion coronavirus package to get Britain fighting fit to beat off the deadly bug.

And a series of election promises were delivered on too – from cutting taxes to freezing fuel duty for another year.

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