Axe the Reading Tax

That wonderful organisation the ALCS (Author’s Licencing and Collecting Society) have been running a campaign called Axe The Reading Tax to have VAT removed from digital publications in the UK. They are now asking all UK writers to write to their MPs before the coming budget.

Not only is this an illogical tax, it also penalises the disadvantaged. Rather than repeat myself, please read the draft letter below. Even better, use it as a template to write to your own MP.

I based my letter on the one the ALCS have on their campaign page. Feel free to use and edit it as you wish.

Please spread the word if you are able. Thank you.

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Dear xxxx,

I am writing to you as a local constituent to ask that you write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to ask on him to remove the tax on digital publications in the coming Budget.

Printed books, magazines and newspapers have always had a zero-rate of VAT applied to them, and rightly so. But their digital equivalents are subject to 20% VAT. This is illogical and unfair, and is in effect a tax on reading, education, and learning.

Ever since the UK’s VAT regime was established in the 1970s, it was recognised that books and knowledge are essential to people’s lives and applying tax to them is wrong. This long-standing belief has helped ensure that reading and learning remains affordable and accessible to people of all ages, incomes and abilities.

According to research from the National Literacy Trust, over 45% of children prefer to read on a digital device and young people on free school meals are more likely to read digitally than their more advantaged peers. Furthermore, this tax disproportionately impacts vulnerable groups such as the elderly and people with disabilities, who may need audiobooks or e-readers that can be used to alter print size. In this light the tax on digital publication appears arbitrary and unkind.

Please support the campaign to end this tax.I enclose a pre-paid envelope and look forwards to your reply.

Yours sincerely,


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