Regional newspapers call for a zero VAT rate

Last Thursday morning, industry representative body Local Ireland and local newspaper publishers across the country made a presentation to TDs and Seantors at Leinster House ahead of the 2023 budget calling for the introduction of a rate of 0% VAT on newspapers.

Newspapers staffed by professional journalists play a vital role in ensuring that as a society we are informed by reliable and verified news and information,” said Drogheda Independent, editor John Mulligan.

“Local newspapers play a vital role in community life and without these headlines many important local stories would never be told, council meetings would go unreported, courts would go unreported, local campaigns and celebrations would go unreported. would never be defended”.

Social media has challenged traditional local newspapers and costs such as newsprint raw material have more than doubled and continue to rise.,

Denmark, Austria, the UK and other European countries have applied 0% or low VAT rates to protect and support their indigenous newspapers in the digital age.

The industry is calling on the government to protect the future of independent journalism in Ireland by backing its campaign to scrap VAT for print and online newspapers in next week’s budget.

Local Ireland states:

The growing power of big tech platforms is disrupting journalism around the world

New digital advertising models have put enormous pressure on local and national media

The growth of online disinformation means that reliable and professional sources of information are more vital than ever and essential to democracy itself

· The new EU VAT directive means the Irish government now has the power to remove VAT from print and online newspapers.

The introduction of a 0% VAT rate in the 2023 budget will provide crucial support to journalism and press publishers

· Other European countries support journalism with zero or lower rate VAT. The Irish VAT rate for press publishers is 9%. The UK is zero.

Local newspapers are vital to their communities and provide factual sources to inform political opinions and decisions

Quality professional journalism is essential for a healthy democracy and supports the wider news ecosystem for broadcasters and digital publishers

· Without newspapers and their digital content, many important stories would not be told.

· The Irish love the news. 82% of the population reads a paper or digital news title every week (Source: Kantar TGI 2022)

Journalism faces challenges related to the cost of living crisis, the growing commercial power of technology platforms, the legacy of the pandemic that has hit advertising and broadcasting, and soaring newsprint costs , which has increased by 140% in the last 18 months

Zero VAT would allow Irish newspaper publishers to help secure their future by investing in journalism, giving greater value to readers and safeguarding jobs

· Press publishers must invest in the digital transition. Ending VAT would help support their transformation to competitive online models

A detailed submission was made to the Ministry of Finance before the summer holidays.

The aid measure for national and local newspapers would bring 18.5 million euros to the sector.

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