John Lewis: solve Amazon tax 'problem' or we'll go bust
John Lewis boss says his company will be out-traded by multinationals like Amazon because they pay less tax
JOHN LEWIS has said the Amazon problem - whereby foreign multinationals pay little or no corporation tax to the UK Exchequer - must be addressed urgently or retailers might go out of business and the UK will lose tax-paying companies.
Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, told Sky News: "If you actually improve your business by investing... you have got less money to invest if you are giving 27 per cent of your profits to the Exchequer than, clearly, if you are domiciled in a tax haven and you've got much more.'
Asked by Sky's Jeff Randall about what he termed the "Amazon problem", Street said: "They [Amazon] will out-invest and ultimately out-trade us and that means there will not be a tax base in the UK."
Committee chairman Margaret Hodge accused the companies of being "immoral" for taking money out of the country and giving nothing back.
Amazon's Brussels-based director of public policy Andrew Cecil was singled out for being "totally evasive" and "pathetic" and Hodge said she would "order" Amazon to send someone more serious to answer her questions.
Street is the first leader of a British business to lend his voice to calls for an investigation into the way foreign firms are taxed here.
Former Labour City minister Lord Myners made a similar point to Street's earlier this week when he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that it is "unfair competition" that Caffe Nero and Costa do pay tax in this country while Starbucks does not.