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Amazon paid £400,000 more to one Scottish council than the government

Amazon paid £400,000 more to one Scottish council than the government

Amazon UK Services has paid £400,000 more to one Scottish council than it did in corporation tax to the entire UK government, it has emerged.

This arm of the company, which has a turnover of more than a billion pounds, paid Fife council £2.1million in 2018, while the UK government received just £1.7million in a tax on profits.

The Scottish government has given Amazon more than £3.6million since 2007 in enterprise schemes to encourage it to set up shop on the council’s land.

In 2016, workers at its Fife distribution centre were believed to have resorted to sleeping in tents by the building so they could make it to work.

Amazon UK Services has paid £400,000 more to one Scottish council than it did in corporation tax to the entire UK government

It paid Fife council £2.1million in rates and rent in 2018 while its most recent filing with Companies house revealed it paid the UK government £1.7million in corporation tax

A Freedom of Information request showed the company paid more than £2million for its Dunfermline-based distribution centre.

For setting up Amazon lockers at Wemyssfield service station and Kingsgate it paid the council an additional £1,200.

The giant has been heavily criticised over its tax policy after it emerged that the company almost halved its corporation tax bill in 2017, compared to the previous year.

As a whole the company paid £4.5million in corporation tax in 2017, a drop from £7.4million the year before.

TaxPayers’ Alliance Chief executive, John O’Connell, called on politicians to simply the tax code so that ‘some faith can be restored in the system’. 

‘It’s understandable that some people may be angry at those not seen to be paying their ‘fair share’ of tax,’ he said, ‘but there is little to be done when our tax code is absurdly complicated and leaves loopholes for accountants to take advantage of.’ 

What has Amazon UK Services paid to Fife council? 

2018

£2,073,588 for its Dunfermline distribution centre

£1,200 for lockers in Wemyssfield and Kingsgate

2017

£2,016,216 for its Dunfermline distribution centre

£8,509.58 for a service site in Halbeath 

£391.71 for lockers in Wemyssfield and Kingsgate

 2016

£1,925,760 for its Dunfermline distribution centre 

A spokesman for amazon told MailOnline: ‘We pay all taxes required in the UK and every country where we operate,’ an Amazon spokesman told MailOnline. 

‘In May 2015, to ensure we had the best business structure to serve our customers going forward, we established a local country branch of Amazon EU Sarl in the UK, with all retail revenues, expenses, profits and taxes due now accounted for in the UK.

‘Corporation tax is based on profits, not revenues, and our profits have remained low given retail is a highly-competitive, low margin business and our continued heavy investment. 

‘We’ve invested over £9.3 billion in the UK since 2010 including in 2017 opening a new head office in London alongside development centres in Cambridge and London. 

‘Last year we created 2,500 permanent jobs across the country in research and development, our head office, customer service and fulfilment centres, to bring our total workforce in the UK to over 27,500.’

In 2016 hard-pressed workers at Amazon’s Fife distribution centre were believed to have resorted to sleeping in tents so they could make it to work.

At least three were spotted in woodland beside the online retail giant’s base, sparking concerns about the depths some employees were going to in order to hold down a job.

In 2016 tents were spotted outside its Dunfermline distribution centre. It is believed that workers were sleeping there so that they would get in on time

As a whole the company paid £4.5million in corporation tax in 2017, a drop from £7.4million the year before

An Amazon worker pictured preparing for the Christmas rush

One worker, who did not wish to be named, was reluctant to speak at the time but described the firm as a ‘poor employer’ and criticised working practices at the Fife site, according to The Courier.

He added that he had opted to stay in a tent as it was easier and cheaper than commuting from his home in Perth, although his camping equipment later disappeared. 

Amazon employed around 1,500 staff on a permanent basis at the centre in Dunfermline, Fife, in 2016 but created an additional 4,000 seasonal jobs to help cover the busy Christmas and New Year period.

Another tent appears to have been abandoned, with rubbish, discarded sleeping bags and cans of cider among the items strewn around nearby.

Commenting on the tents outside, which happened in 2016, an Amazon spokesman said: ‘Amazon employees get industry-leading pay. That’s from £9.50 upwards and well ahead of other companies. 

‘They also get comprehensive benefits and career growth opportunities, all while working in a safe, modern work environment.’ 

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