Booksellers across the country are displaying “We Pay Our Taxes” posters in their shop windows in a reference to rival company Amazon’s appearance in front of the Public Accounts Committee last week (12th November).
The Booksellers Association has created striking red point-of-sale materials for its IndieBound members to encourage their customers to choose to shop at their local bookshop as opposed to using rival online site Amazon.
The first of the two POS styles reads: “Your Money, Your Bookshop, Your Community", with a stack of pound coins followed by the message “We Pay Our Taxes”; the second features a Union Jack-patterned purse with the message “Can Pay Do Pay!”, followed by “We Pay Our Taxes.”
The posters have been produced as part of the BA’s campaign to Keep Bookshops on the High Street and booksellers can download them from the BA website.
Last week Amazon’s public policy director Andrew Cecil appeared in front of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee along with executives from Starbucks and Google to answer questions on company structure and UK earnings after investigations revealed all three companies pay a relatively low corporation tax in the UK after basing their headquarters in tax haven Luxembourg.
Booksellers have responded to the tax revelations with fury and contempt.
Frances Smith of Kenilworth Books said: “We pay tax on everything, rates, rents, staffing as well as corporation tax. Rates on out of town and industrial parks are lower than high street rates. Perhaps with the decline of the high street, local authorities should look at their ratings structures and reduce the amount small businesses pay and government should seriously look at ways of rejuvenating the high street.”
The national press has also begun asking if consumers should boycott companies like Amazon and Starbucks.