Amazon set for £3m rebate with cash-strapped council forced to pay bill

Web giant Amazon is set for a £3million business rates rebate and a hard-up local council is among those footing the bill.

The US retail outfit, worth over £700billion, argued it was paying too much after building a mezzanine floor at its fulfilment centre in Rugeley, Staffordshire.

It won an appeal and Cannock Chase District Council says the firm is now entitled to a £3million rebate.

The council will pay £1.2million, with Staffs County Council and central government coughing up the rest.

Cannock Chase will also get £700,000 a year less as the depot’s rateable value is cut.

It also lost £1million in rates when Rugeley power station shut in 2016.

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Amazon, meanwhile, was blasted for paying just £1million in corporation tax in 2018.

Councillor Gordon Alcott, deputy leader of Labour-controlled Cannock Chase, said the decision is a “bitter pill to swallow”.

He called for a level playing field in overheads paid by online retailers and bricks-and-mortar ones.

Amazon successfully claimed its mezzanine level did not amount to a second floor.

Union GMB said: “It looks like Amazon is happy to rely on our vital public services but pay as little as possible to actually support them.”

Amazon said that business rates are part of its “broader £18billion investment in the UK since 2010”.

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