As reported by The Morning Advertiser in an exclusive interview, pubs minister Jake Berry said that the Government is committed to reviewing business rates and has pointed to an “Amazon tax” as a potential way to move forward.
Conducted in the build up to Philip Hammond’s Autumn budget – which has been moved forward by a month to 29 October to avoid clashing with an emergency Brexit summit in November – polling by Survation for campaign organisation 38 Degrees found that more than 90% of Conservative voters agreed with the statement: “the Chancellor should change tax rules so that large international firms like Amazon pay a similar amount of tax on their profits to [that of] UK domiciled businesses”.
In addition, more than 267,000 people signed a 38 Degrees petition demanding that Amazon pay their fair share in tax.
The Chancellor has already said he is considering such a move, receiving the backing of Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson as well as Berry.
Level the playing field
Charlotte Woodworth, campaigns director at 38 Degrees, commented: "This poll will leave the Chancellor in no doubt: his party's voters want Amazon to pay their fair share in tax. He needs to make sure his October Budget delivers on that change.
"While Britain’s high streets are suffering and our public services are struggling for funds, it isn’t hard to see why so many people are outraged by how little tax online giants like Amazon pay.
“That’s why 90% of Conservative voters want the Chancellor to act, and why more than a quarter of a million people have put their name to this petition.
"The upcoming Budget is an opportunity to level the playing field and make companies like Amazon pay their fair share. The Chancellor should listen to what his own party's supporters - and people from all political backgrounds - are saying: the time to act is now."
As part of the 38 Degrees campaign, more than 40,000 people have emailed the Chancellor and 20,000 people have contacted their MPs to call for Amazon to pay their fair share.
High streets becoming ghost towns
Richard Hopley, a 38 Degrees member who signed the petition, commented: “We have a cafe/tearoom business in Lampeter high street.
“We are fortunate enough to have a good reputation, which is due to our very hard work with extremely long hours. We employ seven members of staff who are all local and depend on the work that we provide them.
“Our business, along with many others,very much depends on the high street having a number of different shops, eateries and banks to attract footfall to that street. Our small business very much lives on a hand-to-mouth basis.
“We pay our fair share of taxes, which sometimes is a struggle, but we realise these things have to be paid. If any businesses deserve to have a reduction in the taxes paid it should be businesses in the high street, not multi-million pound businesses such as Amazon.
“Our high streets are a very important facility to communities throughout the UK and should be treasured and businesses encouraged to take up the ownership of the ever increasing number of closing properties.
“In recent months several large shops have closed in Lampeter including the National Westminster bank. Customers of this bank now have to travel one hour by car to get to the nearest branch.
“The Government should take notice of high streets such as Lampeter becoming like a ghost town. Lampeter is a university town and it is still experiencing these problems. What hope is there for towns who do not have such an establishment.
“All companies should pay their fair share of taxes and no company should be excluded from doing so.”