Amazon to open major London office

Amazon to open major London office

Amazon is to open a London office large enough to accommodate 1,600 employees later this year.

The new office will be based at 60 Holborn Viaduct, 210,000 square foot in size and spread across 12 floors, accommodating "several hundred existing employees" from "a variety of teams", as well as hundreds of future ones. The first phase of the building work will be completed in September.

Amazon's Slough office will remain the company's UK headquarters.

London's mayor Boris Johnson has given his support to the development, stating via Amazon's press release that he is "delighted" the company is choosing London for its expansion plans, and calling it "excellent news for London¹s continued growth as a leading global hub for tech talent".

Christopher North, managing director of Amazon.co.uk, said: "Amazon has over 6,000 permanent employees in the UK and we will continue to create thousands of jobs in the coming years across the UK. We look forward to drawing from the capital's strong pool of talent as we continue to innovate and enhance our service for the benefit of all our customers."

That 6,000 employee figure quoted is at odds with what Amazon's director of public policy Andrew Cecil told the Public Accounts Committee in the House of Commons last November when questioned over the company's tax affairs. Cecil then numbered the employees working in the UK for Amazon at 15,000.

When asked to clarify the discrepancy, Amazon said the larger figure included temporary staff.

The company has recently been under fire for its tax operations in the UK, along with other global businesses such as Google and Starbucks. Earlier this month, Amazon's account filings on Companies House revealed the UK subsidiary paid just £3.2m in tax last year, despite overall UK sales of £4.2bn, attracting widespread criticism from  politicians, media and rival retailers.

The tax payment figure is only marginally higher than the £2.5m the company received in government grants during the year to open up warehouses, the filings also revealed.

Last September, another UK politician, prime minister David Cameron, was quoted on an Amazon press release praising the opening of a new fulfilment centre in Hemel  Hempstead, creating 600 permanent jobs. "This shows that the UK has the infrastructure and talent to continue to attract major investments from leading companies such as Amazon," he said.