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Retailers fear government could ditch plans for online sales tax


Online sales tax
An online sales tax has split opinion across retail
// Retailers are set to meet with Treasury minister Lucy Frazer on Wednesday to discuss whether the government should introduce an online sales tax
// Fears are rife that the government could abandon plans due to the difference of opinion by big retailers over the proposed tax

Leaders from some of the UK’s biggest retailers, including Amazon, Asda, Asos and Currys, will hold talks with a Treasury minister this week as concerns grow that the government’s appetite to bring in an online sales tax is waning.

The retail execs will meet with Lucy Frazer, financial secretary to the Treasury on Wednesday to make their case for reform of the business rates system and the introduction of an online sales tax, according to Sky News.

It comes as the government’s consultation on such a tax was closed last month.

Retail has been split on the matter with businesses such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, The Co-op, Morrisons and Kingfisher forming the the Retail Jobs Alliance, which is pro online tax, while John Lewis Partnership, M&S and Currys have argued against the introduction of the tax.

READ MORE: Should the government bring in an online sales tax?

Retailers expected to attend Wednesday’s meeting including Tesco UK and Ireland CEO Jason Tarry, Asos CFO Mathew Dunn, Amazon’s UK country manager John Boumphrey, and currys boss Alex Baldock.

A Treasury spokesman said: “We recently completed our Business Rates Review which led to £7bn of support to reduce the burden of rates over the next five years and brought about reforms which will make the system fairer.

“We have not decided whether to proceed with an online sales tax. The purpose of the recent consultation was to consider the design options and economic impacts of such a tax, and explore the arguments for and against.”

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