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Online shopping tax mooted as high street sales falter

16 August 2018 - 09:56 by David Aiken

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Politicians may introduce a tax on safe shopping online in order to make up for the fact that bricks and mortar stores are continuing to struggle, according to Internet Retailing.

The tax is seen as a way of levelling the playing field and ensuring that traditional outlets can survive on the high street in spite of the seemingly unending rise of e-commerce in the UK.

It is also a measure which would allow the government to tax retailers that only operate online more fairly, as Amazon and a handful of other firms have been criticised for taking steps to minimise the amount they pay into the British treasury each year.

Behemoths of the high street including House of Fraser and Marks & Spencer have hit choppy waters so far in 2018, raising questions about the long term viability of this section of the retail market.

There is also concern about how town centres across the UK would change if bricks and mortar shopping was completely eradicated as a result of the popularity of safe shopping online.

While this tax has yet to be confirmed, the fact that the government is considering it in the first place is a signal of just how problematic the situation has become for traditional retailers.

Tens of thousands of jobs are at risk and 1644 shops have already shut their doors for the last time this year, according to stats published by the Centre for Retail Research.

For consumers, the option to buy products online at a lower price and in a more convenient manner than is achievable on the high street is clearly appealing. It is up to politicians and retailers to make changes to ensure high streets remain viable, so fairer taxation seems like a sensible path to take.