Neil Parish joined the growing number of MPs and Peers calling on the Chancellor to promote childhood literacy by cutting the illogical tax on eBooks and audiobooks in the next Budget.
At an event hosted by the Axe the Reading Tax Campaign in honour of International Literacy Day, Neil signed an open letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP calling on him to remove the 20% tax on eBooks, audiobooks and other digital reading formats.
In December 2018, the EU Council changed the law to allow member states to reduce the rate of VAT on digital reading materials to bring it in line with printed formats. Many countries have already made this change including Ireland, France, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Belgium and Portugal.
Yesterday, Neil called on the Government to end this tax anomaly in what will be the UK’s first Budget since the change to EU law.
The 20% tax on eBooks acts as a barrier to childhood literacy, with research from the National Literacy Trust showing that 45% of children preferring to read on a digital device and that reading on both digital and print formats offers the highest benefit for young people’s literacy.
Young people from low income backgrounds are also more likely to read digitally than their more advantaged peers.
The unfair tax also disproportionately hits those who struggle to see or handle print books and require digital formats to read, such as the estimated 2 million living with sight loss in the UK.
Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton & Honiton said ‘‘I am delighted to join the Axe the Reading Tax Campaign today in Parliament to call on the Chancellor to end the illogical 20% tax on eBooks. We should be doing everything we can to promote reading and learning amongst children and young people in Tiverton & Honiton constituency. This tax must be abolished in order to protect access to reading, learning and knowledge for all’’