News

Top retail m.d. urges government to tackle 'Amazon problem'

A leading retail m.d. has said the government must "address the Amazon problem" in order to prevent other businesses paying full tax going out of business.

In the Times today [15th November], John Lewis m.d. Andy Street is reported as saying that John Lewis could be put out of business if foreign multinationals such as Amazon are allowed to carry on paying only small amounts of tax in Britain. Street made the comments on "Jeff Randall Live" on Sky News last night.

He said: "If you actually improve your business by investing, what that means is you have got less money to invest if you're giving 27 per cent of your profits to the Exchequer, than
. . . if you're domiciled in a tax haven and you've got much more. So they will out-invest and ultimately out-trade us and that means there will not be the tax base in the UK. So I do think it's an issue that needs to be examined."

He added that he thought that John Lewis customers would expect "a fair and level playing field" in which both companies were treated the same.

Street's remarks come two days after the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee grilled executives from Amazon, Google and Starbucks about the levels of corporation tax paid by the multinational businesses in the UK.  Amazon was accused of putting UK booksellers out of business by using corporation tax avoidance strategies which made it impossible for other businesses to compete.

Comments: Scroll down for the latest comments and to have your say

By posting on this website you agree to the Bookseller comments policy. Comments go direct to live please be relevant, brief and definitely not abusive. Report any "unsuitable comments by clicking the links"

The answer could be a Turnover Tax of 20% on foreign registered companies. This would encourage them to set up UK companies to pay only 20% Corporation Tax on profits. License fees to parent companies would not be allowed as inputs to be set against tax. Capital could only be sent abroad after the payment of Corporation Tax.

This would help the Exchequer but do nothing to slow the decline of the high street book trade. 220,000 ebooks are published a year, soon the question asked by publishers of any new author will be: how many are you selling online?

Many ebooks are being given away on Kindle Select. The cheapest Amazon will allow me to sell my 'Deadly Prediction' is 75p (it's actually 99p) but Amazon are selling some titles for 20p to compete with Sony. My only commercial reason to write a book is in the hope of selling the film rights.

With that in mind, together with no need for a decent sized spine, I am following Amazon's Singles lead. Thirty-thousand words are all you need to get an idea over and that's more than enough for a film treatment when a screenplay tops out at twenty-thousand words. I won't be the only one to think like this and I am pretty sure the shorter, quicker read will be the way things will go.

Darcy Blaze

http://www.darcyblaze.com/

The answer could be a Turnover Tax of 20% on foreign registered companies. This would encourage them to set up UK companies to pay only 20% Corporation Tax on profits. License fees to parent companies would not be allowed as inputs to be set against tax. Capital could only be sent abroad after the payment of Corporation Tax.

This would help the Exchequer but do nothing to slow the decline of the high street book trade. 220,000 ebooks are published a year, soon the question asked by publishers of any new author will be: how many are you selling online?

Many ebooks are being given away on Kindle Select. The cheapest Amazon will allow me to sell my 'Deadly Prediction' is 75p (it's actually 99p) but Amazon are selling some titles for 20p to compete with Sony. My only commercial reason to write a book is in the hope of selling the film rights.

With that in mind, together with no need for a decent sized spine, I am following Amazon's Singles lead. Thirty-thousand words are all you need to get an idea over and that's more than enough for a film treatment when a screenplay tops out at twenty-thousand words. I won't be the only one to think like this and I am pretty sure the shorter, quicker read will be the way things will go.

Darcy Blaze

http://www.darcyblaze.com/