Publishers tell Brooke 'stop VAT'

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The Independent Online
MAGAZINE publishers yesterday asked Peter Brooke, Secretary of State for National Heritage, to use his influence with Cabinet and the Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke, to argue against VAT on books, newspapers and magazines in this month's Budget, writes Maggie Brown.

Neil McRae, chairman of the Periodical Publishers' Association (PPA), told Mr Brooke at the association's annual lunch that VAT would be 'enormously damaging', creating a negative impact on the economy while raising only about pounds 80m a year. The PPA estimates that up to 1,700 titles and 4,000 jobs are threatened.

David Sheilds, marketing director of National Magazines, which publishes Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping, said there were fears that magazine prices would rise from pounds 1.60 a copy to pounds 1.90.

Editors from Midland Independent Newspapers, publishers of the Birmingham Post, Evening Mail and Sunday Mercury, also presented a 258,000-signature petition from readers to 11 Downing Street.

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