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Sunak reveals £35m advertising boost for press industry

Rishi Sunak MPThe government is to inject £35m into the newspaper industry via a new advertising deal and will also scrap VAT on e-newspapers from tomorrow.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the government will be spending up to £35 million on newspaper advertising over the next three months as part of its COVID-19 communications campaign.

The government launched its ‘All in, all together’ public information campaign through both the regional and national press earlier this month

The zero rate of VAT will now also apply to all e-newspapers from 1 May, seven months ahead of schedule, Mr Sunak confirmed.

The scrapping of the so-called ‘reading tax’ was initially slated in March’s Budget.

HM Treasury has estimated the average tax annual saving on a typical e-newspaper or e-magazine subscription could be £25 or £20 respectively.

The £35 million extra advertising revenue will be split between local, regional and national print media, and has been hailed as a “vital boost” by industry leaders.

Ian Murray, executive editor of the Society of Editors said: “This is a great success for those who have been urging the government to take this step to support the newspaper industry.”

Mr Sunak said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for people across the UK to get hold of the books they want whilst they are staying at home and saving lives.

“That is why we have fast tracked plans to scrap VAT on all e-publications, which will make it cheaper for publishers to sell their books, magazines and newspapers.”

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