Scottish booksellers have called on the Scottish Government to end subsidies to Amazon
Independent booksellers are furious that the online giant has been given millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money while high street stores across Scotland are facing extremely challenging trading conditions.
A recent study showed that Scotland’s retail sector was contracting quicker than the rest of the UK’s, with an average of one shop closing down every day.
Amazon has received more than £7.5million in grants from Holyrood since 2004 without being obliged to pay the living wage.
Kevin Ramage, owner of The Watermill in Aberfeldy, Perthshire – recently named one of the world’s best bookstores – is set to lobby the Scottish Government to “level the playing field”.
He plans to call on Joan McAlpine MSP, who is hosting the Scottish Book Trade Parliament Reception, to offer a guarantee Amazon will no longer be given subsidies which give the company an unfair business advantage.
Mr Ramage said he will urge Ms McAlpine, convener of the Culture, Tourism, Europe & External Relations Committee, to work to halt a slump which has seen shops across all sectors close down.
It is time for the Scottish Government to show some support for the independent traders
He said: “It is time for the Scottish Government to show some support for the independent traders who form the backbone of our town and city centres.
“It is incredibly frustrating to watch a global company with a morally dubious approach to paying tax in the UK walk off with millions of pounds in handouts from the SNP Government.”
The shop owner added: “Like other independent stores, we pay our taxes in full and give our staff the living wage and yet we feel we are hamstrung by the lack of a level playing field.
Amazon Prime Day 2016: The Best Gaming deals for Xbox One and PS4 Tue, July 12, 2016
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
AMAZON Prime Day returns with deals on video games, consoles, electronics, clothes, beauty products, books and lots more.
AMAZON 1 of 8
Sony PlayStation 4 500GB – Black C Chassis Graded (with 12 month warranty) with a Sony PlayStation DualShock 4 – Magma Red
The internet giant has been given millions of pound in subsidies while independent traders struggle
“We are not looking for handouts from the government. All we want is for them to stop paying huge sums in incentives to these companies who take trade away from local businesses. It is not just about Amazon, or the book trade in particular – it is about saving our town centres.
“The free ride for global corporations who thrive on tax avoidance schemes and zero hours contracts must be ended.
Figures have shown that Scotland’s retail sector is contracting quicker than the rest of the UK
“We will be seeking assurances from the Government that independent stores will be treated the same as corporations.”
Amazon insists it meets the UK Government’s mandatory minimum wage requirement of £7.50 an hour, but it falls short of the £8.45 Scottish Living Wage, which Nicola Sturgeon has urged all firms in Scotland to meet.