Fianna Fáil Press Office
Lorraine Clifford-Lee
Dublin Fingal

13 December 2015

VAT on school text books should be abolished – Clifford-Lee

Fianna Fáil candidate for Dublin Fingal Lorraine Clifford-Lee is a calling for the VAT rate on school text books and iPad texts to be completely abolished. At present they are subject to 23% VAT which is causing hardship for parents especially those with more than one school age child.

“This is an issue that has been brought to my attention time and time again on the door step. A lot of schools in the constituency (and right across the country) have switched over to using iPads instead of books. This is proving to be very expensive for parents. They pay for a licence for the text which expires after 12 months. This means that parents with children close in age can’t pass on text books as they would have done in the past. They then have to pay the licence fee again (without any reduction) for the second and subsequent child.

“Also there’s 23% VAT on these texts and iPads which pushes up the cost for parents. This comes at a time when the overall cost of sending a child to school has gone up this year compared with last year.

“School books continue to be a substantial cost, particularly for secondary school pupils, where they make up on average over 40% of the total costs. It is worrying to see that after plateauing for a number of years, the cost of school books seems to be creeping up again.

“This is particularly true for parents of secondary school pupils; not surprising when many parents report the cost of their child’s secondary school books exceeds €300. Almost half (47%) of parents with children entering first year and 29% of parents with children entering fifth year say their school books cost in excess of €300.

“A Barnardos survey on the use of digital technology in schools carried out earlier this year found that around 80% of primary school parents whose children use tablets in school say their child’s school provides the device and the software. In contrast, secondary school parents say just 25% of schools pays for the device and 41% pay for the software,” continued Ms Clifford-Lee.

“There is an urgent need for a standardised system for all schools on the cost of the software and the licence for the use of text books. The abolition of VAT on these texts will also reduce costs for parents.”