View from Westminster: When it comes to COVID-19 economic recovery we need to follow Joe Biden’s lead

News Desk (03 June, 2021)

'His plan for a global minimum rate of corporate tax is a once in a generation opportunity to stop tax avoidance by large multinationals'

36601Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood

Across Southwark and Lambeth we have brilliant high streets and town centres, full of independent businesses who make each neighbourhood special and serve their communities, writes Dulwich and West Norwood MP Helen Hayes…

The Covid-19 pandemic has been very difficult for many local shops with online sales from multinational giants like Amazon soaring, increasing by more than a third year-on-year. With many ‘non-essential’ shops shut under coronavirus regulations and more people working from home this was completely understandable.

Now that the lockdown is easing, however, it is important that we support the businesses in our high streets and shopping parades by shopping local wherever we can.

The last national revaluation of business rates saw the government increase the costs on local London businesses, whilst reducing costs for local businesses elsewhere in the country. At the same time, the government continues to fail to create a level playing field in terms of tax for our local high street businesses, compared to both online businesses like Amazon and other global multinationals.

US President Joe Biden has proposed a plan for a global minimum rate of corporate tax as a once in a generation opportunity to stop tax avoidance by large multinationals. Companies like Amazon and Google hardly pay any tax in the UK. They undercut British businesses who pay their fair share of tax and leave our high streets struggling.

President Biden’s plan would mean an additional £13.5bn a year extra to invest in public services and make sure we have thriving high streets and town centres at the heart of our communities.

Last week, the Labour Party forced a vote in Parliament calling on the Government to support this plan when the G7 meets next month. The Tories voted against this amendment, shamefully siding with tax avoiders over British businesses and communities.

Last week I asked Boris Johnson during PMQs why the UK was the only G7 nation not to support a global minimum rate of corporate tax. In answering, he once again failed to stand with our local businesses who so urgently need our help at this challenging time. All of us will be poorer if the government continues to fail the small businesses which make our communities unique and special.

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