Thursday, September 13, 2018

Amazon: Time for the Welby Effect?

If you earn money from a community, you should pay your share of tax to that community. I was in business, and I know that, within limits, its right and proper for people to arrange their tax affairs, and for companies to do so. But when vast companies like Amazon, and other online traders, the new industries, can get away with paying almost nothing in tax, there is something wrong with the tax system. They don’t pay a real living wage, so the tax payer must support their workers with benefits. And having leached off the tax payer once they don’t pay for our defence, for security, for stability, for justice, for health, for equality, for education. Then they complain of an undertrained work force, from the education they have not paid for, and pay almost nothing for apprenticeships. Those are only a fraction of the costs of aggressive tax management.
Mary spoke of the God who gave us Jesus as the one who “has shown strength with his arm;
He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
And lifted up the lowly;
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And sent the rich away empty”.  
From Justin Welbys speech at the TUC conference yesterday. (Btw, he very cleverly tackled the anti-Semitism debate within Labour too, see if you can spot it)  Welby's comment about doing Wonga out of business in 2013 was followed by a series of revelations and disasters at the company. Amidst an avalanche of complaints, Wonga went into administration a few days ago. 
Biblical prophecy operates on the basis that as the prophet speaks God's message and God's verdict on human institutions, the act of speaking it out helps to bring that verdict into being. It may be my fevered imagination, but it has been downhill for Wonga ever since Welby publicly took them on. 
Amazon has so far remained untouched by every criticism and every revelation about its appalling record in paying tax. Will we see the Welby Effect on Amazon? Lets hope so.