There has been an outcry after news emerged that the tax delivery giant Amazon pays in the UK has fallen despite profits almost tripling.
Amazon’s turnover was nearly £2 billion in the UK and its profits leapt. Yet the internet delivery giant’s taxes fell, partly due to being able to pay some of the staff in shares.
Amazon UK’s taxes fell to just £1.7 million last year, down from £7.4 million in 2016.
Billionaire Jeff Bezos’s company says it pays all the taxes it is due. But High Street shops which have been hit by the use of the ubiquitous multinational have slammed the giant for paying less corporation tax.
Meanwhile High Street shops are continuing to suffer from people’s use of online deliveries.
House of Fraser could be the latest casualty on the High Street. The iconic company is in last ditch talks with bidders after a take-over failed.
Amazon UK Services runs the giant fulfilment centres which process deliveries of items to UK customers. Its accounts reveal that it deferred £2.9 million of its £4.6 million tax bill.
An Amazon UK spokesman said the company paid all the taxes due “in the UK and every country where we operate”.
Turnover for Amazon in the UK jumped from £1.43bn to nearly £1.98bn as it grew shopping and entertainment services.
Earlier this week, Amazon reported a record £1.9bn profit for just one quarter worldwide for the three months to 30 June – about 12 times what the Seattle-based giant paid in the same quarter last year.
“Ignored for too long by the Government who seem happy to see so many retailers go under while a handful rake in the cash. Not a level playing field” tweeted Labour MP Jim McMahon.
Yesterday, GMB, Britain’s general union, branded Amazon’s £600million public sector deal ‘a joke’ as it emerged that Amazon signed a five-year deal with Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO), a procurement body owned by local authorities which helps to drive the cost of goods down by agreeing mass deals with suppliers.
Neil Derrick, GMB Regional Secretary, said:“Amazon has a record of exploitation so terrible, literally hundreds of ambulances are called out to their warehouses as workers suffer from appalling conditions at work.
“The idea a company like that can provide services for emergency services is a joke… It’s a crying shame the Conservative’s obsessive austerity drive has left local authorities in this position – having to drive public procurement through an anti-public service ethos company such as Amazon.”
Last year an investigation revealed that Amazon drivers are being forced to deliver up to 200 parcels a day and urinate in plastic bottles so as not to leave their vans.
And at the end of last year, Uber, Amazon and Hermes workers told a parliamentary committee of MPs about the horrors of life in the gig economy.