Debate: Can traditional small-state conservatives justify imposing a new digital tax?
YES, says Waqar Riaz, head of data-driven marketing at Cheil Europe.
Few can argue with the idea that big business should pay its fair share towards public services like the NHS or education.
Yet, as business has become increasingly global in nature, legislation has failed to keep up, and many tech giants are – perfectly legally – paying less into the kitty than many would like. Rectifying that on an international scale is surely in the interests of fairness.
A tax is a good idea, but Conservatives must be careful not to go too far with ideas like this one, because it risks stifling innovation. The tech giants of Google, Facebook, and Amazon to name just a few, have contributed hugely to our daily lives, with investment, life-changing products, services and job creation.
Also, once we introduce this kind of tax, where do we stop? The world is digital now. Should we tax anyone who handles data? Anyone with a website?
We need to move fast and break things, but a tax should not slow innovation.
NO, says Rashid Ajami, the founder of Connectt.
As is usually the case when the government weighs in with heavy handed “solutions” like taxation or regulation – it’s the little guys that get hurt.
At a time when Britain needs to be investing heavily in its future, a tax on our tech sector is the last thing we need, especially for ambitious tech startups that seek international expansion.
Facebook is a US giant that aggressively avoids tax and has incited consumer backlash through improper use of data and an increasingly poor user experience, making them an
easy target. However, the solution lies in supporting forward-thinking British tech firms that can compete with the giants and spur on our economy.
Facebook can cope with higher taxation but it’s struggling to address the needs of the modern user who wants to connect with like-minded individuals as part of a community.
Let’s fight back by supporting a new wave of British tech companies, not taxing them.