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MPs back call to boycott low-taxed tat from Amazon over Xmas

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Eight MPs are backing a call in Blighty for Christmas shoppers to boycott the convenience haven of Amazon after its aggressive tax avoidance regime in the country.

Ethical Consumer magazine has launched a campaign to get people to stop using the mega-etailer over the holidays and politicians including Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee, are lending their support.

"Amazon is one of the global companies that aggressively avoids paying tax on the profits that they earn from the business they undertake in the UK," Hodge told the magazine.

"Not only is this morally wrong but it disadvantages every business from the local community-based bookshop to bigger, British-based companies like John Lewis and therefore endangers British businesses and British jobs.

"I haven't used Amazon for a year and I have found plenty of alternatives for buying goods online. It's hugely important that we all take a stand and damage the reputation and business of companies that deliberately avoid paying their fare share of tax to the common purse for the common good."

Other MPs including Natascha Engel, Meg Hillier, John McDonnell, Michael Meacher, Austin Mitchell, Graham Morris and Dennis Skinner have joined Hodge in backing the campaign.

A Companies House filing by Amazon over the summer showed that the firm had paid just £2.4m in corporate taxes in the UK last year, despite the fact that its sales were £4.3bn and it got as much as £2.5m in government grants to expand its warehouse operations in Scotland.

Hodge and the public accounts committee have been vocal in their condemnation of legal tax avoidance practices by companies including Amazon, Google and Apple and have called on the firms to give evidence on how their British tax bills end up so small. The committee has previously demanded that the government act to revamp the tax structure to close loopholes that allow legal, but arguably immoral, creative tax accounting. ®

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