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'Boycott Amazon' campaign launched
19.12.12 | Lisa Campbell
The Ethical Consumer magazine and campaign group has launched a campaign to persuade customers to choose high street alternatives to Amazon for their Christmas shopping, following revelations of the company's tax avoidance.
Amazon's low payment of corporation tax on its sales in the UK in 2011 has received high-profile press attention. Ethical Consumer is calling on customers to boycott the company and find high street tax-paying alternatives.
Recommended department stores to shop at which pay a fair amount of tax are Debenhams, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Next.
Ethical Consumer director Tim Hunt said: "We're launching the boycott of Amazon in response to the public's growing anger at the scale of Amazon'stax avoidance. By naming these tax-paying alternatives to Amazon we aim to mobilise consumer power to make Amazon pay a fair rate of tax. Shoppers maybenefit from Amazon's cheap shopping but these bargains come at the cost of reduced public services. Amazon's tax revenues could help fund the vital public services that are now being slashed."
Tax Justice campaigner Richard Murphy from Tax Research UK added: "Consumer action works. Starbucks is caving in. People denying their credit cards to Amazon is the sure way to make them pay their tax. The Wise Men celebrated the good news of the first Christmas with gifts they brought from afar. This year Wise People will celebrate Christmas by not buying gifts from Amazon."
Mark Constantine, m.d. and co-founder of Lush Cosmetics, has also added his name to the campaign, accusing Amazon of being "ruthless" in taking advantage of weaknesses in its interpretation of tax law. "This creates a financial advantage that they may use to discount any product and outcompete retailers who are making a contribution to British society," he said.
According to figures published by the Commons Public Accounts Committee in 2011 Amazon's UK sales were £2.9bn but the company only paid £1.8m in corporation tax.