The Chancellor is being urged to apply a 3% sales tax on internet giants to help Britain’s ailing high streets.
Tory MP Neil O’Brien claims the move could raise as much as £500m a year. Speaking to The Sun newspaper, he said this money could be used to slash sky-high business rates blamed for pushing shops to the wall.
The Centre for Retail Research claims as many as 20,000 shops could go bust between now and 2020. DIY giant Homebase was sold to restructuring specialists for £1 last week.
Neil commented: “You could raise hundreds of millions through a turnover tax. This could allow us to do something useful for the high street. The Treasury are considering what to do. They want to do the right thing.”
The backbencher has the support of Tories such as former minister Nick Boles, Michael Gove’s ex-campaign manager during the 2016 leadership battle.
Under the plans, the tax would hit social media firms, online marketplaces and search engines with annual global revenues of £650m or more.
The Chancellor hinted he was minded to tax digital giants revenue in the Spring Statement in March. The European Commission separately brought out its own proposals.
Treasury Minister Mel Stride has told MPs the UK would rather act with Brussels to ensure every member state has the same rate. But he added the UK would act unilaterally if “we do not move forward at sufficient pace”.