SAJID Javid has been given a Fifty Shades spanking over a tax on book lovers.

Erotic novelist EL James, along with two hundred authors, is demanding the Chancellor scraps VAT on reading in the Budget.

The romantic writer, who has sold 125 million novels, wrote to the Treasury saying e-book charge hinder young and low income readers.

Comedian Stephen Fry and children’s author Konnie Huq are among those demanding the changes.

In an open letter to the government, they say: “Young people are increasingly reading using phones, e-readers and audio devices.

“Digital formats can enable reluctant readers to engage with, and benefit from, books.

“There are many people in the UK who are living with a visual impairment or a disability that prevents them from being able to use print books who are taxed unfairly by this policy.”


The writers also say that reading through e-book or listening to an audiobook is one of the “greatest pleasures” there is and provide a “passport to other worlds”.

The high-profile writers, who also include Chocolat author Joanne Harris, say: “It is vital that everybody can access the joy and opportunity of reading; regardless of their age, income or physical capability.

“VAT is rightly not applied to print books and digital formats should be treated in the same way.”

The Treasury takes £200 million into its coffers from the charge which campaigners call “illogical”.

Books and newspapers are zero-rated since VAT was introduced in 1973.

Both Ireland and France have removed VAT on e-books and online newspaper subscriptions.

A Treasury spokesperson said: “We recognise changes in technology are shifting traditional publishing online.

“That’s why we are considering the case for a range of potential tax incentives to support the news publishing industry.”

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