UK Mulls New Online Shopping Tax to Curb Pandemic Debt


by Evgeny Mikhaylov

While the British economy was hurt by lockdowns, online shopping thrived, as the government was encouraging people to stay at home to curb the coronavirus.

Britons may be slapped with a new tax on their online purchases, Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman said after discussing the issue with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, who is trying to patch up the budget amid the coronavirus crisis.

“When we thought about business rates in the recent consultation, we touched on the idea of an online sales tax and just put that out there for discussion and evaluation and we’re still reflecting on that”, he told MPs.

“The Chancellor is looking to build strong sustainable finances when circumstances permit that… That seems to me to be a judicious recognition that some taxation could impede growth and damage our recovery”, Norman added.

He noted that the tax was first suggested in July, as the Treasury reviewed business rates, but did not elaborate on the details of the tax.

The United Kingdom remains one of the most affected by the pandemic in Western Europe, with a new strain of coronavirus forcing the nation to go into another lockdown, while other countries have suspended air travel with Great Britain.

At the same time, the British economy has suffered from the pandemic, showing a 2.6% GDP plunge in November, while the Office for National Statistics warned that the country is in for an even steeper decline of 5.7%.



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