Labour and Conservatives pledge to keep books VAT free

The Labour Party has renewed its pledge not to extend VAT to books in its manifesto published 12th April. In the run up to the election, which will take place on 6th May, both the Labour and Conservative parties have ruled out adding tax to printed books.

The Labour manifesto said: "We renew our pledge not to extend VAT to food, children’s clothes, books, newspapers and public transport fares." Shadow culture minister Ed Vaizey said: "We have absolutely no plans to put VAT on books. I know that VAT on e-books is an issue for the industry and one that we will look at after the election."

The parties have also said they are committed to libel law reform. The Labour manifesto said: "To encourage freedom of speech and access to information, we will bring forward new legislation on libel to protect the right of defendants to speak freely."Last week Dominic Grieve, the shadow justice minister, told libel reform group Sense About Science that his party was "committed, if elected, to undertaking a fundamental review of the libel laws with a view to enacting legislation to reform them".

He added: "This reform could best be done by means of a separate Libel Bill and this is the preferred approach for us."

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