A husband-and-wife bookselling team have described handing a petition into Downing Street calling for Amazon to pay more UK corporation tax as a “proud moment” in their lives.
Francis and Keith Smith [pictured], from Warwick and Kenilworth Bookshops handed in the petition to Number 10 at 11am today (24th April), accompanied by Public Accounts Committee chairman Margaret Hodge; Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White; author Danny Dorling; and their son David Smith and his partner Jennifer Sterjevitch.
Stephen Fry expressed his support for the petition yesterday (23rd April) and Booksellers Association chief executive Tim Godfray also attended in support.
More than 150,000 people have signed the petition calling on Amazon to pay its fair share of corporation tax in the UK, after an investigation revealed the online giant paid a tiny amount of corporation tax in the UK on sales of £3.3bn in 2011.
Frances Smith said: “It is a very proud moment to have reached this stage and the next step is to talk to Margaret Hodge and Chris White and keep putting pressure on the government to so something in the long term.” She added: “A hundred thousand people are telling the prime minister to take action on this issue. We’ve heard some warm words from government on clamping down on the tax avoiders, but not so much action. Surely it’s about time that all companies who choose to do business and make profits in this country pay a reasonable amount of tax on their operations, just like we do.”
Brie Rogers Lowery, UK campaigns director at Change.org, the website where the petition is registered, said the Smiths had shown the internet meant everyone could get involved in campaigning. “Their campaign has taken the fight direct to Amazon via Downing Street —and shown that the power to build movements is firmly in the hands of the people,” she said.
Hodge told The Bookseller there had to be a level playing field between online and independent booksellers. “We all care about our local bookshops and bookshops like Francis and Keith’s pay their taxes, so if Amazon doesn’t it is unfair competition."
She added that she thought the “public outrage” over the issue had given Amazon a bad reputation.