John Lewis managing director Andy Street has told ITV News that he believes Amazon has an unfair advantage due to its tax status in the UK.
“If you think two companies making the same profit, one of them pays corporation tax at the UK rate, one does not because it claims to be headquartered somewhere else,” he said. “That is not fair.”
“The Government is trying to address that but as yet we’ve not actually seen that [reform] really, really bite. It matters because the company paying corporation tax has, of course, less to invest in its future and in this time when retail is changing so fast that is a critical differentiator,” he continued.
Amazon has recently been making advances into the UK market, expanding into groceries and other smaller items. Amazon.co.uk, a subsidiary of Amazon, posted a £35 million ($51 million) profit in 2015, paying corporation tax of £11.9 million ($17 million).
Amazon told Business Insider that the company “pays all applicable taxes in all the countries in which it operates.”
When asked by ITV News about Amazon directly, Street opened up the criticism to all non-UK firms that have headquarters outside of the UK.
“This is not just about John Lewis, let’s be absolutely clear, this is about those UK companies paying corporation tax on the profit made on the UK against companies that make profit here but do not declare it and therefore do not pay tax.”
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