Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU Commission Gives Little VAT Hope to the British Music Industry

17th June 2003

There is little chance of the music industry being given a reduced rate of VAT, to bring it into line with other cultural goods such as books and theatre tickets, Commissioner Fritz Bolkenstein said today in response to a question from British Conservative MEP Charles Tannock.

VAT on sound recordings is currently set at a minimum of 15% across Europe and in some countries is as high as 25%. By contrast, other cultural goods such as books, newspapers, magazines, admissions to theatres and cinema tickets are subject to levels as low as 5%.

Dr Tannock said:

"Music is an essential part of our culture, it is unreasonable that it is taxed at a higher rate than other cultural goods.

However Commissioner Bolkenstein today hinted that if there were to be change, it would be an increase in the minimum rate of the other goods, rather than a reduction in music goods.

Whilst discrimination against one cultural industry is wrong, it must not be solved by damaging new costs on the rest."