Chancellor Philip Hammond considering 'Amazon tax' for online retailers

The UK's catapult centres are getting a fresh boost

With the High Street struggling, the Chancellor Philip Hammond says he is strongly considering introducing a so-called 'Amazon tax, ' a prospect Dragon's Den star and entrepreneur Theo Paphitis fully supports.

Speaking in Coventry today, the Chancellor said that taxation needs to be "fair" between traditional retailers and online firms - including negotiating global rules for web retailers. The government legislation is not keeping up with the change in technology.

Ian Campbell, Interim Executive Chair of Innovate UK, said: "Today's significant announcement means our world-class network of catapults can build on their success and continue helping thousands of businesses across the UK to undertake innovative R&D".

Mr Paphitis responded: "Taxation as it stands. does not work with the way technology is moving".

"We're very clear that you have to support the high street through that process of change. There's going to be less retail, more leisure, bars, community facilities".

"That requires us to renegotiate worldwide tax treaties because numerous big online businesses are global companies", he said.

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If there was no worldwide agreement, the Chancellor said the United Kingdom "may have to look at temporary tax measures to rebalance the playing field" until an global consensus was reached. The 169-year-old department store chain, which employs 16,000, was subsequently bought by Mike Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct. The stock has been moving mainly higher in recent weeks.

He added: "The European Union has been talking about a tax on online platform businesses based on the value generated".

"That's certainly something we'd be prepared to consider".

The chancellor also told Sky News that while he was encouraged by the 0.4% GDP growth figures on Friday, the economy remained weaker than it would have been had the United Kingdom not voted for Brexit.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said:We are backing innovative British companies to grow and create jobs, as we build an economy fit for the future.

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