Industry leaders have welcomed a decision by the EU to allow European member states to lower VAT rates on newspaper e-editions.
Print newspapers have always been zero-rated for VAT in the UK, but under current EU rules digital versions are currently subject to the standard rate of 20pc.
Now the EU has opened the way to harmomising rates for both print and digital editions, although with Brexit in the offing it will be up to the UK government to implement the move.
Trade body the News Media Association is urging ministers to apply zero rating to e-publications as soon as possible and is already in discussion with Treasury and DCMS officials.
Chairman David Dinsmore said: “Online news content faces tough competition from social media platforms and freely available news outlets.
“By harmonising the tax treatment of digital and print publications, the EU has recognised the significant digital transformation of the online news media landscape which reaches bigger audiences than ever before.
“We welcome the amendments to the directive for a fairer tax regime which will benefit consumers and provide a stimulus for more investment into quality content creation.”
The NMA also says the VAT reduction could lead to wider societal benefits through educational value, improved literacy, and cultural enrichment.