Thank you for contacting me about VAT being applied to digital publications.
I am proud of the fact that in the UK, printed newspapers, journals and books are not subject to VAT and I agree with your sentiment that we should not tax goods which spread knowledge and improve people’s literacy. VAT rules set by the EU had delayed reform to VAT in relation to digital publications, until the European Council eventually agreed a proposal authorising member states to apply reduced or zero VAT rates to electronic publications.
I have been reassured by my colleagues in the Treasury that they are aware of the calls to remove VAT on digital publications and I hope it comes as a reassurance that there will be greater opportunities to review VAT following our withdrawal from the European Union.
Any decision to modify our tax regime is a matter for the Treasury and careful consideration will be given to any proposed amendments to current VAT rates. Any changes to VAT rates for electronic publications will be announced in the upcoming Budget. It should be stressed that the Government keeps all taxes under review, including VAT. I shall be following the developments on this issue closely, and I will ensure my colleagues at the Treasury are aware of the strength of feeing on this issue.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.