Plans to scrap VAT on e-publications have been significantly fast-tracked in a boost to readers and publishers during the coronavirus outbreak, the Chancellor has announced.
The issue has been one of the main requests from the newspaper and magazine industry as it struggles to cope with the Covid-19 crisis.
Rishi Sunak said the zero rate of VAT will now apply to all e-publications from May 1 – seven months ahead of schedule.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for people across the UK to get hold of the books they want whilst they are staying at home and saving lives.
“That is why we have fast tracked plans to scrap VAT on all e-publications, which will make it cheaper for publishers to sell their books, magazines and newspapers.”
The move will be a boost both to readers in the form of cheaper e-books and e-newspapers, and the publishing industry who should benefit from a boost in sales.
Ian Murray, executive editor of the Society of Editors said this was tremendous news: “A great success for those who have been urging the government to take this step to support the newspaper industry.”
PPA MD Owen Meredith said: “Today’s announcement is very welcome news and a much needed step. PPA called for the zero-rating announced in the Budget to be brought forward to the start of the tax year and I am pleased government has listened and acted.
“In these exceptional times, consumers are hungry for trusted sources of news, information and analysis and turning to the pages of magazine media, both in print and digital. Ending the digital VAT penalty now is a vital lifeline as publishers adapt to these exceptional circumstances. As we all spend more time at home to stop the spread of this virus, subscribing to a magazine is a great way to keep entertained and indulge your hobbies and interests with trusted, quality journalism.”