Digital publications will no longer be liable to pay Vat in the UK under new measures outlined in the budget by chancellor Rishi Sunak. This means that any digital publication, including books, newspapers, magazines, and academic journals, will no longer be charged Vat.
The Irish Government should follow suit, as failure to do so would put digital publications here at a competitive disadvantage with British-based communications enterprises. Our printed media already suffer such a disadvantage against other EU publications which are not charged Vat.
Last September, prior to the budget, Newsbrands — the representative body for all Irish newspapers, print and online — met members of the Oireachtas to press the case for reducing Vat on print and digital publications, dropping it from the current 9% to 5% and eventually to zero.
Their pleas fell on deaf ears, but their central argument still holds: Such a move would demonstrate the Government’s commitment to the value of quality, legacy journalism, and the public-service role played by news publishers.