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Brit retailers tell Amazon and Google to pay their taxes

Your tax avoidance is killing our business, mate

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British retailers have been calling on overseas firms that make a profit in Blighty to pay their tax in the country as well.

Dixons boss Sebastian James tweeted that he agreed with John Lewis chief Andy Street, who said on Wednesday that Amazon can use its tax position to get one up on UK companies.

"There is less money to invest if you are giving 27 per cent of your profits to the Exchequer,” he told Sky News. “Clearly, if you are domiciled in a tax haven you’ve got much more [money]. [Amazon] will out invest and ultimately out trade us. And that means there will not be a tax base in the UK."

Mothercare chairman Alan Parker also supported Street, saying that unfair pricing from tax avoiders was putting UK businesses at risk, The Guardian reported.

Amazon was hauled up in front of MPs at the start of this week, along with Google and Starbucks, to answer questions about how it got away with paying so little corporation tax in Britain when the bulk of the business seemed to be carried out in the country. None of the three companies were able to change the Public Accounts Committee's mind that they may be avoiding tax legally, but not morally.

Retailers have a particular axe to grind with Amazon, as its lower prices and internet business model has long been accused of putting high street shops out of business.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said that public anger was building against apparent tax-dodgers and Chancellor George Osborne should address the issue in his Autumn Statement.

"Some of them [multinationals] seem to be avoiding tax systematically and this is deeply angering tens of thousands of British companies who do pay their tax properly, so we have to get to grips with it," The Financial Times and others reported him as saying. ®

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