Earlier this week, I posted a story on my website about smugglers bringing salt from Ireland to North Wales to avoid the new salt tax introduced by the crown. The object of the post was to promote my book Welsh Legends and Myths where the story came from. The irony of this is that the greedy mandarins of the European Union had just come up with a new wheeze to rob me by taxing eBooks sold in the UK by 20%.
Tax is nothing new, we’ve had taxes on windows, tea, bibles, brandy, wine, lace, candles, linen, booze, fuel and anything else those in power can think of. We’re taxed while we live, when we die and now I’m being taxed when I write. George III lost America because of a tax he imposed on tea. Remember that time in Boston Harbour when a load of men dressed as Red Indians – sorry Native American Indians – and had a party.
What is particularly unfair is that while there is 20% VAT on eBooks, printed books are VAT free, apparently I’m told, because of their cultural value! It’s a ridiculous policy, aren’t eBooks equally cultural? The content is the same and there’s another thing; what about saving the planet? Our politicians bang on about going green and planting trees. They introduced carbon credits and other whacky schemes to save them, and make the companies that trade in them rich. Wind farms, solar panels and biomass now have huge subsidies that distort the energy market and force up the prices we pay for our energy. At the same time eBooks, which destroy no trees, are taxed while paper books that consume wood pulp are excluded. It’s bonkers. These politicians aren’t green at all. They’re just plain greedy.
Perhaps we should start a new political party. Either that or emigrate to Luxemburg where the VAT is only 3%. Sadly, that ruse won’t work either. The tax is levied in the country the book is sold in and since the UK is the biggest eBook market in Europe it looks like I’m stuffed. All I can say, is bring back King Arthur, a Welshman who knew how to deal with injustice – another quick plug for Welsh legends and Myths. If you don’t believe he was Welsh have a quick read of this King Arthur.
While I wait for a knight in shining armour, I will keep writing my next book ‘A White Man’s War’ and squirm as the new tax rubs salt into an open wound.