Amazon pocketed 40% of new online spend amid pandemic, says MP

PA

Online retail giant Amazon has pocketed 40% of the additional money spent by consumers online during the pandemic, MPs have heard.

Calling on the Government to provide “firm commitments” to support small businesses against the rising popularity of e-commerce sites, shadow business minister Chi Onwurah warned many high street shops are “afraid they won’t make it through the winter”.

Amazon is among the world’s richest corporations, with its owner Jeff Bezos worth 113 billion dollars (£84 billion), making him the richest person in the world.

Business minister Nadhim Zahawi said the Government is spending £300 million to “support technology adoption into manufacturing” to assist smaller companies.

Speaking during business departmental questions in the Commons, Ms Onwurah told MPs: “Of the £5 billion of new online spend because of the pandemic, 40% has gone to one website – Amazon.

“Many small businesses are afraid they won’t make it through the winter because of the lack of Government support and they have Brexit, climate and technological change to deal with too.

“So I want to ask the minister, what is the plan for small businesses to survive Covid and build back smarter and greener?”

Ms Onwurah urged the Government to provide “not vague promises, but firm commitments” to help small businesses.

Mr Zahawi replied: “I think (Ms Onwurah), as a fellow engineer, will know that the Made Smarter initiative has been a tremendous pilot in the North West and we recently announced a further expansion with £300 million – £147 million coming from Government and the balance coming from the private sector – to support technology adoption into manufacturing.”