Certain good which are deemed as essentials are quite rightly exempt from VAT.  These include most food and drink for human consumption and also childrens clothes.  Books  are seen as providers of information and education and are also free from VAT.

Newspapers at one time could also be seen as an important source of news and information for people.  However, with more recent developments in technology, people no longer rely on newspapers as such information can be more easily be gained from radio, television and the internet.  At the same time standards within the newpaper industry have fallen.  Many people will be familiar with the 'Gotcha' headline from the Sun newspaper when the General Belgrano battleship was sunk causing the loss of many lives.  A similar headline in today's Daily Express refering to the suicide of Raoul Moat, reads 'Got Him'.

I do not wish to see the banning on newspapers but I do believe that they should be treated like most other non-essential products and be levied VAT at the full rate.  Anyone relying on a daily newpaper for their news and education would end up with rather a distorted view of the world.   In order to sell newspapers, editors/journalists regularly distort  and over sensationalise, and their obsession with celebrities and their affairs can not be seen as providing much needed service to the public as a whole.

Why is this idea important?

At a time of fiscal restraint, this can help raise some much needed finance for the exchequer.

Only those items which can be regarded as essentials for the population should be exempt from VAT.  The tax system should not be abused by politicians in order to win the favour of certain sections of the media.

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