Philip Hammond mulls new ‘Amazon tax’ for online retailers
Philip Hammond is considering slapping a new tax on online retailers like Amazon in a bid to boost Britain’s flagging high street.
The Chancellor told Sky News that the levy could even go ahead without international cooperation.
He said: "We want to ensure that taxation is fair between businesses doing business the traditional way and those doing business online.
"That requires us to renegotiate international tax treaties because many of the big online businesses are international companies.
"If we can't get international agreement to do this we may have to look at temporary tax measures to rebalance the playing field until we can get international agreements."
Asked what kind of measures the Government was looking at, the chancellor replied: "The EU has been talking about a tax on online platform businesses based on value generated.
"That's certainly something we'd be prepared to consider."
This comes as Sports Direct announced it was buying failing high-street retailer House of Fraser, after it was forced into administration.
Mr Hammond acknowledged that high-street firms must adapt to compete with online businesses but said the Government would support them through the adjustment.
"We're changing our shopping habits," he said.
"More and more of us are buying online. Indeed, Britain has the biggest percentage of online shopping of any major developed economy. That means the high street will change.
"We're very clear that you have to support the high street through that process of change.”