For all print & online journalism
By Kreuzberger
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And why not?

This was always rejected as a tax on democracy, a tax on the truth but surely any exemption is now open to challenge. The press are essentially being given state aid to further their own agenda and that of whoever is in favour at any given moment. Moreover, the digital space has shattered their monopoly on news dissemination.

A challenge in Strasbourg might not make it through in the three years or so until the suicidal moment but at least it would set the cat among the sparrows.

By Andy McDandy
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Print may be dying off but it's still influential - the newspaper review still sets the agenda for breakfast news, which in turn sets the tone for the day. Talking heads are still more likely to come from print backgrounds than from blogs (with a few exceptions). The online market is dominated by the same power players as the print one.

The backlash would be overwhelming. And while you have made a good effort of explaining why it could be justified, you would be drowned out by a cacophony of "Tax on democracy, revenge for Leveson!" from all quarters. Judicial decision? Attack on democracy. Get a law passed? Cosy establishment stitch-up.

Easier to just let them die a natural death.
By mattomac
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To be honest if you want a football rumour from someone you trust, you tend to follow the print journalists from respectable papers, same goes for most of the news in general.

If you want to believe Lionel Messi might actually pop up at Anfield then you go to, 90 Mins or the Bleacher Report or some other pile of shit... Like in Politics you would go the Express or The Canary.

It's kind of why I try and stick to the BBC for the most part I know that's trusted and also Channel 4, I will stray to the Guardian, Times and so on and occasionally use the Mirror.
By Kreuzberger
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@mattomac's example is of a service being rendered. How can that service really be differentiated from a car wash or a nail bar?

These are non-essential and wholly discretionary so I see no moral or substantive difference why newspapers and periodicals should be exempt. Indeed, digital subs attract VAT at the full 20% rate.

DCMS data suggest that the publishing industry is worth an annual £10.2bn. Books are of course included in that and I am not sure where I stand on fiction which, like taxable cinema or music, is a form of entertainment.

However, even if we conservatively estimate that newspapers account for just half of that, the taxpayer is subsidising these non-dom owned businesses to the tune of over a billion quid a year.
By mattomac
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I was talking more about the influence or reason why people seek them out, it's probably more about the brand. It takes a while to build a brand up, Buzzfeed started as some rather odd gif driven clickbait site but recently it's kind of developed and that Jim Waterson is someone who I tend to listen to.

This government won't touch the papers and Corbyn probably isn't interested so expect nothing from Labour.
By Daley Mayle
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VAT on printed goods is a bit of a minefield, something I've had to tiptoe through in 40 years as a graphic designer (I remember when Cooper Black was first de rigueur y'know, and not used in a post modern ironic manner). VAT is zero rated on books because, they say, these are educational yet VAT is charged at 20% on those very same books when published as an e-book. Yet other items used for education purposes are charged at 20% such as the wooden-backed blackboard erasers Malc used to throw at Frobisher Minor at the back of the class to stir the lad from his siesta.

From memory a poster is VAT-able as are advertising leaflets. A document that includes a form that needs to be filled-in is VAT-able if the percentage given over to the form exceeds a certain proportion of the document.

There is a lot of bullshit around the zero rate applicable to printed material and that's because of the fear the government has of the press who, of course, charge advertisers VAT for the space bought in their newspapers.

The Mail is 65p and they've racked up the cover price three or four times more than the rate of inflation over the past decade and couldn't give a stuff for the reader yet they would scream blue murder if VAT was slapped on their newspaper.
By Andy McDandy
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There's always going to be an uproar if you go after the opinion formers.

It's a point Simon Schama made in his excellent history of Britain - it wasn't the tea tax that outraged the colonists, nor was it the whole representation thing. The real spark was the tax on paper - that thing essential to the business of every journalist, lawyer, official, clergyman, doctor and generally anyone of social standing and influence. It's why the tabs go on so much on the fuel duty, because regardless of the morality of it, it's something that affects everyone.

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