Rishi Sunak urged to pay postage costs for small retailers this Christmas to “level the playing field”

Industry

Rishi Sunak has been called on to help struggling retailers this Christmas trading period by covering their delivery costs.

Non-essential retailers currently in the midst of a second national lockdown should have their postage fees subsidised by the government in order to “level the playing field” with online giants like Amazon, according to political and business leaders.

The Liberal Democrats’ treasury spokesperson Christine Jardine penned a letter to Sunak this week, urging him to give “small businesses the chance to thrive for online at-home shoppers.”

“When people turn online to do their Christmas shopping, free postage offers from online shopping giants and the ease of Amazon Prime are incredibly tempting.

“We want the PM to pay the postage on online purchases from small local independent shops to make them a more viable option for people hunting for Christmas presents and encourage people to shop small from home.”

READ MORE: Digital Services Tax allowing Amazon “to avoid tax on its own sales” as business groups slam Sunak

The proposal was also supported by business leaders, including the Federation of Small Business’ national chair Mike Cherry, who said we “must pull out all the stops” to help business survive this Christmas.

Cherry added: “This is the type of creative idea that would boost small businesses and balance out the playing field.

“This is going to be the most important festive season our economy has ever seen and could be make-or-break for some of our small businesses.”

The scheme has been proposed as a similar measure to the “eat out to help out scheme” launched at the end of the previous lockdown period to help restaurants and pubs boost their income.

A treasury spokesperson said: “We keep our support under constant review and are committed to helping people and businesses through this crisis.”

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