With high streets closed for several months, and so many of us on furlough, the big tech companies have been raking it in.
These companies connect people to each other, and to things they want to watch and buy.
They are making big profits but paying very little tax.
That’s why Labour backs the thinking behind the new Digital Services Tax.
For too long the companies which make the modern economy work have got away with complex ways of moving and hiding the money we pay them.
At the same time, too many of our high streets are struggling, as the Mirror’s ‘High Street Fightback’ campaign recognises.
Local firms and UK chains face an uphill struggle competing with those that base themselves overseas, don’t have the overheads of physical shops, and seek to minimise what they pay in tax.
Some of the big tech firms – like Netflix – make their money through streaming content.
Others, like Facebook, provide platforms for people to share content themselves.
We should tax all these ways of making profits.
What the Tories have announced doesn’t go nearly far enough.
They’re not even trying to tax streaming services like the ones provided by Netflix and Amazon.
Research by TaxWatch UK estimates that five US tech firms account for £1.3billion of lost corporation tax every year – but the Digital Services Tax will raise just £440million per year by 2024.
While other countries have moved ahead with more ambitious schemes, the Tories are making no effort to secure international agreement.
We need to work with other countries to reach a global solution, so companies can’t just change HQ to escape the tax.
People and businesses in Britain know that tax is the price for our public services – £1.3bn a year could pay for tens of thousands of nurses, new jobs or improved schools.
Tory inaction on tax tells us what they think is really important.
It isn’t public services, the people who use them, or the people who provide them.
We need a Labour government to put the people first.
Bridget’s article was first published in the Daily Mirror. You can view the full article by clicking here.