Amazon has helped many in lockdown, and reaped soaring profits. But the company must be held to account
It was hard to miss the fact that Amazon Prime had a sale this week. Newspapers and magazines covered the event as a celebration of consumption. This on top of a coronavirus pandemic that has accelerated the collapse of already struggling bricks-and-mortar retailers.
It is not surprising that so many of us shop with Amazon. The prices seem low. Purchases arrive promptly. But an examination of this gift horse’s mouth also raises serious concerns. Even before the pandemic Amazon’s aggressive pricing strategies made it difficult for smaller companies to compete. This is exacerbated by the fact that the company does not pay enough back to the state. In 2018 it paid £14.3m in corporation tax on £13.7bn in UK revenues. Without shops on the high street, it pays less in business rates than more traditional competitors such as Tesco.