Patricia Gibson MP (pictured) has welcomed a screeching U-turn from the Tories on a reading tax that slapped fees on audiobooks and ebooks.
After campaigning for years with Axe the Tax Campaigners, the former English Teacher of 23 years, the North Ayrshire & Arran MP welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement in the budget that VAT on digital publications is to be scrapped.
The decision finally brings the electronic formats into line with print books and newspapers – which have never been subject to VAT in order to protect access to reading, learning and knowledge.
Patricia Gibson MP said:
“I am delighted that, finally, e-publications and audio books will now enjoy equal parity given digital publications play such a significant role in the lives of so many people.
“I have pushed the UK government on this since my election in 2015 – most recently in the Chamber only last Thursday on World Book Day.
“It is essential that people with a physical disability, including the estimated 2 million people living with sight loss in the UK, can access the joys of reading in a format best suited to their needs, without being disproportionately impacted by VAT.
“In addition, this tax hit children and young people particularly hard, with figures showing more than 45% of children prefer to read on a digital device.
“This tax acted as a barrier to childhood literacy.
“It is essential that everyone is able to access reading across all formats in the way that best suits their needs and preferences.
“It is good news that today the Chancellor has finally agreed to abolish this punitive tax on reading, knowledge and ideas.”