Online Sales Tax

Treasury – in the House of Commons on 15th September 2020.

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Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The Chancellor has regular discussions on a range of topics with Cabinet colleagues. As the right hon. Gentleman will know, the Government are committed to a fundamental review of the business rates system in England and have launched a call for evidence inviting views on reform. That review will also consider the merits and the risks of introducing an online sales tax.

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

Online shopping offers a range of choice and opportunities for many of my constituents and other people throughout the highlands and islands that they simply cannot get from local shops, but it often comes with the whammy of delivery charges that make the purchase itself look small, or a refusal to deliver at all. An online sales tax could be an opportunity to give a small tax break to those making online sales who deliver as a universal service with a single price across the whole country. Will the Minister consider that along with his other considerations?

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

I am very grateful for the suggestion. Now that the right hon. Gentleman has placed it on the public record, I will ask my officials to look more closely at it and to engage with him on it. He will know that we have already introduced, in a quite different context, a digital services tax. We are open to these potential ideas. We will be looking very carefully at this area. Intelligent and well thought through feedback is always of great interest to us.