90% of Conservative voters want Amazon to pay more tax

More than 90% of Conservative voters believe the Chancellor should change tax rules to make large international firms like Amazon pay more.

Polling carried out by Survation for 38 Degrees found that, of those who expressed an opinion, more than 90% of Conservative voters agreed with the statement: “The Chancellor should change tax rules so that large international firms like Amazon pay a similar amount of tax on their profits to UK domiciled businesses.” (When Don’t Knows are included the figures are 82% in favour and only 8% against, with 9% saying they did not know.) [1]

The polling comes in the run-up to the Budget, with pressure building for a change to make firms like Amazon pay more tax. More than 267,000 of the public have signed a 38 Degrees petition demanding that Amazon pay their fair share in tax. [2] The Chancellor has already said he is considering such a move. [3] He has been backed by Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, and Jake Berry, the pubs minister. [4]Recent reports show that 100,000 retail jobs have been lost in the UK in past three years and that, since Amazon started business, every second high street bookshop in the UK has closed. [5]

As part of our campaign, more than 40,000 people have emailed the Chancellor and 20,000 people have contacted their MPs to call for Amazon to pay their fair share.

Charlotte Woodworth, Campaigns Director at 38 Degrees, said: “This poll will leave the Chancellor in no doubt: his party’s voters want Amazon to pay their fair share in tax. He needs to make sure his October Budget delivers on that change.

“While Britain’s high streets are suffering and our public services are struggling for funds, it isn’t hard to see why so many people are outraged by how little tax online giants like Amazon pay. That’s why 90% of Conservative voters want the Chancellor to act, and why more than a quarter of a million people have put their name to this petition.

“The upcoming budget is an opportunity to level the playing field and make companies like Amazon pay their fair share. The Chancellor should listen to what his own party’s supporters – and people from all political backgrounds – are saying: the time to act is now.”

Susanne Johnson, a 38 Degrees member from Chester who signed the petition, said: “I have a fabulous independent wool emporium in Blackpool. I love it, but its an excellent way to die of hard work having not made minimum wage for decades. How does it make me feel when the fat cats are getting ‘fatter’ while I’m poor and getting poorer and live in a poor town that’s getting poorer? Pretty angry.

I’m a member of an online group of independent wool shop owners and recently there have been 1 to 2 closing their doors for good each week. For a long time shops haven’t been able to sell their businesses, because nobody wants to live in penury, so people who have invested their whole lives and worked hard and well retire from them when they can no longer work, and are left with no wealth. I have no pension, my husband supports me financially.”

Richard Hopley, a 38 Degrees member in Oxford who also signed the petition, said: We have a Cafe/Tearoom business in Lampeter High Street. We are fortunate enough to have a good reputation which is due to our very hard work with extremely long hours. We employ 7 members of our staff who are all local and depend on the work that we provide them. Our business along with many others very much depends on the High Street having a number of different shops, eateries and banks to attract footfall to that High Street. Our small business very much lives on a Hand to Mouth basis.

We pay our fair share of taxes which, sometimes is a struggle but we realise these things have to be paid. If any businesses deserve to have a reduction in the taxes paid it should be businesses in the High Street, not multi-million pound business such as Amazon. Our High Streets are a very important facility to communities throughout the UK and should be treasured and businesses encouraged to take up the ownership of the ever increasing number of closing properties. In recent months several large shops have closed in Lampeter including The National Westminster Bank. Customers of this bank now have to travel one hour by car to get to the nearest branch. The Government should take notice of High Streets such as Lampeter becoming like a ghost town. Lampeter is a university town and it is still experiencing these problems. What hope is there for towns who do not have such an establishment. All companies should pay their fair share of taxes and no company should be excluded from doing so.”

NOTES:
[1] The polling of 1,233 Conservative voters (respondents who self-reported as having voted Conservative in 2017) was conducted online by Survation between 21 and 24 September 2018. Full results available on request.
[2] 38 Degrees: Make Amazon pay their fair share: https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/4178
[3] Sky News: Chancellor Philip Hammond considering ‘Amazon tax’ for online retailers:
https://news.sky.com/story/amp/chancellor-philip-hammond-considering-amazon-tax-for-online-retailers-11468623
[4] The Herald: Ruth Davidson backs ‘Amazon tax’ for online retailers:
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16417247.ruth-davidson-backs-amazon-tax-for-online-retailers/
Morning Advertiser: Pubs minister: ‘Amazon tax’ will provide freedom for business rates review:
https://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Article/2018/09/14/Pubs-minister-Amazon-tax-will-provide-freedom-for-business-rates-review
[5] Daily Mail: Almost 100,000 retail jobs vanish in three years amid on-going crisis for the high street:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6174283/Almost-100-000-retail-jobs-vanish-three-years-amid-going-crisis-high-street.html