Om Monday, my weekly political cartoon for Guido Fawkes reviewed plans this week for Sunak Rishi, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer of the Conservative government to increase borrowing and public spending, as well as remove tax breaks, thereby increasing the overall tax burden. But he just removed a very significant tax for the readers of this site.
Citing Great Britain as a land of literature, Shakespeare, of Austen and of Dahl, he announced that the VAT, the sales tax applied to digital publications (not print publications), which he dubbed the reading tax, would be removed. This applies to books, newspapers, magazines, all digital publications – including comics.
Taxes are one of the reasons ComiXology cites for their up to 70% increase in the cost of digital comics last week. Constituting 20% of the cover price, could this lead to a reduction in prices in the UK? And across Europe, who does ComiXology seem to be matching up with in terms of price?
It will be necessary to wait until December for this zero rate of VAT to enter into force. Could this make digital comics cheaper than printed comics for 2021 again?
And afterwards, Bleeding Cool understands that this policy was specifically placed in the budget by a conservative comic book reading advisor who buys a lot of stuff on ComiXology and was suffering from sticker shock last week. He still has a dear year ahead of him though …
The budget also looked at a £ 5bn emergency response fund to support the NHS and other public services during the spread of the coronavirus, with statutory sick pay to anyone who chooses to self-isolate , even if they do not show symptoms, benefit claimants will be able to claim sick pay on day one, not after a week, a £ 500million hardship fund to help vulnerable people, businesses under 250 employees will be reimbursed sick pay for two weeks, small businesses will be able to access ‘business interruption’ loans of up to £ 1.2million and commercial rates will be removed for businesses in the sectors retail, leisure and hospitality with an assessed value of less than £ 51,000.
Along with other increased spending, the Chancellor predicted that net public sector borrowing is expected to increase this year to 2.1% of GDP, reaching 2.4% and 2.8% in subsequent years – a massive jump. compared to a traditionally fiscal conservative political party. Commentators have said this is closer to a Labor government budget in terms of priorities, and a U-turn in terms of policy.