The carnage on the British high street from the likes of House of Fraser and Homebase naturally leads to calls for blood from internet-retailing behemoth Amazon.com. Enter chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond, who last week said he was strongly considering an "Amazon tax" to help retailers. Conservative Scottish legislator Ruth Davidson lent her support this week. It’s a bad idea. For a start, let’s just get one thing straight. Amazon did not kill the British high street. The UK store chains that have collapsed this year did so because they didn’t have the right products at the right prices, invest enough in their businesses, or stay up to date with consumer trends. Associated British Foods’ Primark faces exactly the same pressures as everyone else, and doesn’t even sell via the internet. But it has prospered. As things stand, retailers pay a disproportionate share of business rates, effectively a tax on property. While store chains account for about 5% of the economy, they pa...

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