Tory MP Liz Truss labelled clueless by her own High Street over online sales tax

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A Tory mayor in Liz Truss’s seat has urged her to see the high street’s woes for herself after she rubbished calls for an online sales tax.

Tesco boss Dave Lewis wants a new 2% internet levy to fund business rates cuts for brick-and-mortar shops.

But Tory leadership hopeful Truss said it would hit small UK internet firms as well as global giants like Amazon.

The Treasury Minister will today give a wide-ranging speech aimed at the party faithful as she jockeys for position in the race to replace Theresa May .

However shopkeepers in Thetford, in her South West Norfolk constituency, yesterday said Truss was out of touch.

Mayor Roy Brame is the owner of a domestic appliances store

Unoccupied shops in Thetford town centre

Roy Brame, 64, town mayor and owner of Cobra Domestic Appliances, said: “Truss needs to come down this high street, talk to people and work out a way to solve this problem. A levy is the way to go. Online companies don’t pay premises or business rates, and most don’t pay taxes.

“All we’re asking for is a level playing field… the internet is killing off our high street.”

At least 12 shops are empty in the town. Roy said his expenses forced him to charge a mark-up of 25%, but Amazon’s mark-up was just 5%.

A proposed internet levy would go towards boosting the high street

David Wortley runs a mobile phone accessory shop

 

David Wortley, 50, who owns mobile phone accessory store Case Place, said: “People pick up a phone case and tell me, ‘I can order this cheaper online’.”

He tells them about his business costs but added: “It’s 50/50 as to whether they walk out or buy.”

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