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High street store owner slams MP's comments about taxing online sales

PUBLISHED: 10:49 22 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:58 22 May 2019

Roy Brame is the owner of Cobra Domestic Appliances. Picture: Archant

Roy Brame is the owner of Cobra Domestic Appliances. Picture: Archant

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

A high street store owner has hit out at his local MP after she slammed plans to bring in an internet levy.

Elizabeth Truss MP has hit out at the idea of an Internet levy. Picture: Ian BurtElizabeth Truss MP has hit out at the idea of an Internet levy. Picture: Ian Burt

It comes after Tesco boss Dave Lewis called for a 2pc internet levy to fund business rate cuts for stores on the high street.

Roy Brame, 64, is a store owner in Thetford and vice-chairman of Breckland Council. He made the comments after MP Liz Truss, who has Thetford in her constituency, slammed the levy saying it would hit small online firms as well as global giants like Amazon.

But the former Conservative Thetford mayor said the internet must be brought into line.

He said: "I agree that there needs to an internet levy but I do not think that it should be one rate. It should be smaller for small online businesses and larger for the biggest, the same with income tax.

Liz Truss MP attended a meeting in Downham Market to discuss the future of the town's Post Office last year. Picture: Ian BurtLiz Truss MP attended a meeting in Downham Market to discuss the future of the town's Post Office last year. Picture: Ian Burt

"The problem is there are retailers fighting against themselves. You can go into a shoe shop and then buy exactly the same shoes cheaper online.

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"Outlet owners are happy for the shops to remain empty as they still own the property and have it on their portfolio."

Mr Brame owns Cobra Domestic Appliances in the town. He has seen the rise of the internet and how it has affected his business.

Roy Brame. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Roy Brame. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

He added: "The internet will be the death of capitalism as if everything moves online there will be no need for stores or staff.

"What needs to come back is the recommended retail price. I sell washing machines and Hotpoint could come to me and say I could sell a washing machine for £300, I'd ask how much is Curry's selling it for and it would be the same but I would make less as they buy thousands of them for less.

"But online they buy them and can charge what they want with as little as a 2pc mark up.

"Also to get the buying contracts you would have to actually have a shop, delivery people and so on, whereas now any 16-year-old can set up a website and make £100 a week which is a lot of money for them."

What do you think of Thetford high street? Email Marc.Betts@Archant.co.uk

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