MPs are calling on the government to raise taxes on online retailers such as Amazon and use the money to reduce business rates for high street retailers.
The recommendations are contained in a report from the House of Commons Housing Communities and Local Government Committee.
It said: “High street retailers are paying more than their fair share of tax, while online retailers are not contributing enough: we heard that Amazon UK’s business rates amounted to approximately 0.7 per cent of their UK turnover, while high street retailers are paying considerably more, with business rates as a proportion of turnover ranging from 1.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent.
“We recommend that the Government urgently assesses the main proposals that we received in evidence, including a sales tax, an increase in VAT, an online sales tax and ‘green taxes’ on deliveries and packaging, and make recommendations for change to provide fast relief to high street retailers.
“ The revenue raised should be used to support the high streets in the following ways: A reduction in business rates for retailers in high streets and town centres; a 12-month holiday for high street retailers from rates increases which result from investments to improvements in property; and an increase in the funding available to local areas through the Future High Streets Fund.
The recommendations are part of a package of proposals. Even so, the committee concluded that to succeed in the future, high streets would need to shift from purely retail focused activities to new uses and purposes which foster greater social interaction, community spirit and local identity and characteristics.