Borough MP invites Amazon boss over to discuss tax affairs

Big business - Amazon
Big business - Amazon
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Borough MP Jo Platt has invited one of Amazon’s bosses to her constituency to address her concerns over its tax affairs.

The member for Leigh raised issues about the “mega-firm” this week, saying a future Labour government would be able to help eradicate child poverty if huge companies like Amazon paid their “fair share” of corporation tax.

James Johns, Amazon’s manager of UK public policy, wrote to Ms Platt offering to meet in person to discuss the situation further.

But Ms Platt said she would accept the invitation on two conditions: that Mr Johns comes to Leigh and sees the impact consistent underinvestment has had on post-industrial towns, and that she is able to discuss Amazon’s tax arrangements.

This follows her intervention in Parliament, raising the situation of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) receiving a declining proportion of UK Government spend on cloud services, while public money spending on Amazon Web Services has rocketed 8,000 per cent since 2015.

Ms Platt received a letter from Amazon Web Services last week in defence of its position, highlighting a scheme it runs to feed 7,000 hungry children in the UK every day. The letter also pointed to an Amazon proposed investment in Manchester city centre.

Replying, Ms Platt raised the giant’s tax affairs and the Labour Party’s eight procurement points to ensure firms receiving public money pay their fair share of tax to fund public services. Amazon’s corporation tax bill has totalled just £27.8m since 2015.

She agreed with Mr Johns that child poverty is a “stain on our society” with one in four children in Leigh living in poverty after housing costs.

She said: “I am firmly of the opinion that if mega-firms like Amazon paid their fair share of tax in the UK, a Labour Government would be able to implement a truly transformational programme to eradicate child poverty in the UK. This is the path that will lead us to create a society that truly works for the many and not just the few.”

Ms Platt welcomed Amazon’s planned expansion into Manchester but voiced fear that local young people in outer towns like Leigh struggle to access these high-skilled and professional employment opportunities in city centres.

“Amazon’s involvement in areas like the one I represent is almost entirely restricted to the presence of its warehouses which, while employing thousands of people, are frequently the subject of accusations of extremely poor working conditions,” she said.