Couple to hand over Amazon petition

Stephen FryA couple who run two high street bookshops are due to hand in a petition signed by more than 150,000 people to Downing Street, calling on internet retailer Amazon to pay their fair share of UK tax.

Frances Smith, 66, and her husband Keith, 63, who run bookshops in Warwick and Kenilworth in Warwickshire, launched the petition on the campaigning website last December.
The couple, who live in Warwick, believe the internet retailer Amazon is putting unfair pressure on firms like theirs and driving many out of business by not paying their fair share of corporation tax.

Among their supporters are MP Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, author Charlie Higson and actor Stephen Fry.

Backing the Smiths' campaign, Fry tweeted a link to their online petition and wrote: "AmazonUK may be useful but should they be getting away with funnelling their money through Luxembourg?"

Amazon hit the headlines last year after it was accused of "immorally" minimising UK tax bills along with Starbucks and Google in a damning report by the Public Accounts Committee.

While Amazon's UK website reported a turnover of £207 million for 2011, its tax expense was just £1.8 million, the report said.

Starbucks took the decision to review its "tax approach" and pledged to pay a lump sum to HM Revenue and Customs over the next two years in light of the public pressure that followed.

Mr and Mrs Smith, who set up their first shop in Warwick in 2004, are hoping their petition will force Amazon to follow suit.
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