Amazon tax: Labour Party considering all options

Labour is considering an ‘Amazon tax’ on online retailers to help their struggling High Street counterparts, the Shadow Business Secretary has said.

“We are looking at all the options that are available at the moment and it’s about getting something that’s fair, because at the moment we don’t have a fair taxation landscape between online and physical retailers. But it’s a very difficult circle to square,” Rebecca Long-Bailey told the Independent.

“You get some High Street retailers that also have an online presence, so how do you deal with that to make sure that was fair? It’s not a case of black and white, ‘right, well, let’s tax online and give tax reliefs to High Street retailers’, because I don’t think that’s fair either and that’s why there’s been such a long discussion in parliament about the best way forward for this.”

During its annual party conference in September, Labour set out an emergency five-point plan to save Britain’s High Streets. It also announced a cross-departmental working group led by Shadow Small Business Minister Bill Esterson to hone its plans.

“The move to online retail and the changing nature of the way we shop doesn’t need to mean empty High Streets and job losses. It can mean a vibrant community space, with local independent shops, cafes and restaurants,” Long-Bailey said at the party conference.

“But that will require Governmental action to reinvigorate our High Streets. Some of that action will be long-term changes, such as addressing the imbalance of tax treatment between traditional retailers and online sellers.”

Amazon, which recently revealed that last year it paid UK business rates of more than £63 million, declined to comment on the Long-Bailey/Independent interview.