As part of the broader debate around business rates, the story of Amazon’s contribution to the UK economy, through jobs, investments and business rate payments, hasn’t always been clear.
In the past, some reports about the business rates that Amazon pays in the UK have been based on just a small number of our fulfilment centres in England and Wales, and did not take account of our substantial investment right across the country. We have close to 100 UK sites, and last year Amazon paid business rates of more than £63 million – tens of millions of pounds more than estimates and more than is paid by many well-known high street retailers. These sites include fulfilment centres, research and development centres, corporate offices in London, Amazon Lockers, Whole Foods Market stores, and delivery stations. These diverse facilities are home to almost 30,000 full-time employees and the result of nearly £18 billion invested across the UK since 2010.
Many of our facilities are very large—a million square feet or more with thousands of employees—and need to be located outside city centres, with major transportation links that enable us to meet the needs of customers and sellers. Other locations, like Whole Foods Market stores, our corporate offices, and research and development centres, are in the heart of major cities like London. In each case, the business rates for those facilities are set by local authorities.
The facilities are part of our efforts to offer shoppers and small entrepreneurs the best possible experience, whether they live in London or Lynton. And we’re proud to have created tens of thousands of good jobs and billions of pounds of investment across the country.
Online sales are still less than a fifth of total retail sales in the UK, and Amazon is a small percentage of that – perhaps a lot less than some people realise. We’ll continue working hard to earn customers’ trust and, if we’re successful and British customers choose to shop with us, we’ll continue to invest and create jobs in the UK to meet that demand. And, of course, we’ll continue to pay all the taxes owed in every community that we call home.