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MP calls for ‘VAT-style’ tax rise to help high street shops

PUBLISHED: 13:01 25 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:21 25 March 2020

Duncan Baker. Picture: Submitted by Duncan Baker

Duncan Baker. Picture: Submitted by Duncan Baker

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A Norfolk MP is calling for a “VAT-style” tax rise on online sales to help shops get back on their feet after the coronavirus pandemic eases.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker asked parliament to consider the 2-3pc rise for internet vendors to help bricks-and-mortar shops.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Baker said: “Let us just remember that our last great leader was Margaret Thatcher, who said that we are a nation of shopkeepers — let us help them.

“Many sectors will be hugely impacted by coronavirus.

“We are now seeing shops being shut on the high street — quite rightly so — and I just want the minister to consider that they will be hit enormously. When we come out of this pandemic, a 2pc or 3pc VAT-style tax rise on online sales transactions to help high streets would be very well considered and welcome.”

A rise in tax on online sales has been called for to help high street retailers recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Neil DidsburyA rise in tax on online sales has been called for to help high street retailers recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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Mr Baker added later: “This would be a really sensible and practical way of looking after our local communities and helping them get back on their feet after we come out of this.”

He said the money raised could be used for rate reductions or other forms of support.

Jesse Norman, the financial secretary to the Treasury, said any tax changes would be taken into consideration “at future fiscal events”.

Mr Norman, who is the MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, said: “The high street, which was under pressure years before the current outbreak, is something we have supported over a period of time, most recently with a comprehensive package of support.”

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