Amazon has pocketed a whopping 40 per cent of the entire £5 billion new online spend seen through the pandemic.
The online retailer, which recently said it has had its “biggest holiday season to date”, has increased its market dominance to even greater heights throughout 2020, MPs have heard.
Shadow business minister Chi Onwurah yesterday called on the government to make “firm commitments” to small businesses who are afraid they won’t survive the winter in a market so heavily weighted towards one company.
Onwurah asked MPs during business departmental questions in the Commons to provide “not vague promises, but firm commitments” to small businesses across the UK.
“Of the £5 billion of new online spend because of the pandemic, 40% has gone to one website – Amazon,” she said.
“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?”
In response, business minister Nadhim Zahawi said that the government is spending £300 million as part of its Made Smarter initiative to “support technology adoption into manufacturing” and assist smaller companies.
Zahawi added: “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.”
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos’ net worth has increased $76.1 billion to $191 billion this year, the equivalent of New Zealand’s GDP.
As Washington Post data reporter Christopher Ingraham pointed out on Twitter, Bezos could give each of his 876,000 Amazon employees a $105,000 bonus and he would still be as rich as he was at the start of the pandemic.