MPs propose an online sales tax to save high street

A parliamentary inquiry has called for an online sales tax to help secure the future of the high street.

The investigation was led by Labour MP Clive Betts into high streets and town centres in 2030 found “dated policies and an unfair tax regime” must be changed to allow high streets to survive.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee reported that “business rates are stacking the odds against high street retailers” and the Government must give “considerations to proposals for an online sales tax to level the playing field.”

The report also said: “The government should conduct an assessment of proposed remedies proposed to the committee over the course of the inquiry, including a sales tax, an increase in VAT, an online sales tax and ‘green taxes’ on deliveries and packaging.”

However, MPs said high street retailers have to accept that they need to change and adapt and try to offer what online isn’t able to, focusing on personal interactions such as experiential retail.

Meanwhile, the report was compiled after hearing from Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley, who called for a tax for any company that had over 20% of its sales online, which he said would encourage shoppers to go back into stores.

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