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Calls to remove digital reading tax

A new report by the National Literacy Trust has found that the number of children and young people aged 9 to 18 reading digitally is increasing.

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Research has shown more children are reading digitally

Based on data from its Annual Literacy Survey of 56,905 children and young people in the UK, the Children, Young People and Digital Reading Report looks at how children and young people today use technology to read.

The report found that more disengaged children are using screens to read fiction than their more engaged peers who are more likely to read both print and digital versions.

Pupils eligible for free school meals, and boys with the lowest levels of reading engagement are two of the groups most likely to benefit from using digital formats, in terms of enjoyment and engagement with reading.

“Digital reading is becoming an increasingly important part of children’s literacy lives,” says Jonathan Douglas, National Literacy Trust director.

“It gives children new and exciting ways to access a wide range of reading materials and is particularly effective at getting disengaged groups of children excited about reading.”

It makes no sense that while print books are rightly VAT zero-rated, their digital equivalents are not

The research was commissioned by The Publishers Association and supports the next step in their ‘Axe the Reading Tax’ campaign which seeks support from MPs to urge the Chancellor to remove the 20% VAT on digital publications, including e-books and audiobooks in the Autumn Budget.

Commenting on the tax, Stephen Lotinga, chief executive officer of the Publishers Association says: “It makes no sense that while print books are rightly VAT zero-rated, their digital equivalents are not.

“Digital VAT is blocking literacy at a time we should be doing everything possible to encourage reading and learning across all formats.”
“We know that when children enjoy reading, they do better at school and in life, so we fully back the campaign to Axe the Reading Tax on digital publications,” adds Douglas.

Although the research has proven digital publications to be beneficial for the less engaged children, print still remains the dominant reading format for children and young people.

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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