Amazon not only avoids tax, it takes taxpayers’ money
There’s tax avoidance, and then there’s taking the piss. We are all aware of Amazon’s reluctance to pay UK tax, but did you know that they are also taking Government handouts in order to earn these huge, tax-free profits?
In 2011, Amazon set up a distribution centre in Dunfermline and a callcentre in Edinburgh. Presumably these bases helped Amazon report a jump in international sales by 20 per cent to $9.09 billion (£5.8bn) in the last three months of 2012. Net income of the group stood at $97m (£61.6m) during just the final quarter of last year.
However, what you may not know is that the Scottish Government paid Amazon over £10m as an ‘incentive’ to bring their business to Scotland. Not only are Amazon not contributing to the UK tax pot, they are actually taking taxpayers money.
Of course, the Scottish Government is trying to spin this as a victory, creating Scottish jobs. Because without the funding Amazon were not going to bother with the UK, clearly.
David Smith, innovation and enterprise services director, said: “Amazon received an RSA (Regional Selective Assistance) grant in 2011 to create a major new fulfilment centre. As a direct result of this, Amazon and its private developer committed to invest more than £52m in Scotland.”
However,Tommy Campbell, a Scottish organiser of the Unite union, said: “It’s an absolute disgrace that the Scottish Government used taxpayers’ money to help increase the profits of a private company. Workers are constantly angry about the austerity and cuts, and the cry from the Scottish and UK governments that they have no money.
“Yet here we have an example of taxpayers’ money going to a multinational corporation when it should have been spent on funding the NHS and education.”
We think he may have a point. And now we know why Amazon have a smile on the box...