- UK Labour proposed a new tax on tech giants including Amazon and Google which would allow for free, high-speed internet for the whole country.
- The party floated plans on Thursday to buy up most of the UK’s existing internet infrastructures for an estimated cost of £20 billion (around $25 billion), which it pledged to massively expand.
- Amazon, Facebook and Google were named as companies that would be hit with new taxes to help pay for the scheme.
- Labour said it would reform the system to tax large tech companies on their global profits rather than those registered in the UK.
- The plan is one of several proposals to nationalize private industries in the UK, which Labour hopes will help them win power in the upcoming general election against the incumbent Conservative party.
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Britain’s Labour party threatened billions of dollars in new taxes on large tech companies to fund the nationalization and expansion of the country’s internet infrastructure if it wins the forthcoming general election.
The party floated plans Thursday night to spend a total of £20 billion (around $25 billion) to buy up most of the UK’s existing internet infrastructure, which it pledged to then massively expand.
It named Amazon, Facebook, and Google as companies it wants to hit with new taxes to help pay for the scheme.
The plan is one of several proposals to nationalize private industries in the UK, which Labour hopes will help them win power in the upcoming general election, scheduled for December 12.
The specifics of the funding were not absolutely clear. Labour said taxes on tech companies would be one of two funding streams for the plan. The other source of money is government borrowing.
It said that as a result of the scheme, home internet access would be free, saving each household an average of £30 ($38) a month.
Its total initial cost was pegged at around $25 billion — though the BBC reported that the true cost could be as high as $50 billion.
In addition there would be a recurring annual cost of around $300 million, Labour said, which would be “more than covered” by plans to reform tax laws to extract more money from multinationals.
A video from Momentum, an activist group aligned with Labour, promoted the scheme after its launch. It also named Apple as a company that could be taxed to fund it.
—Momentum (@PeoplesMomentum) November 15, 2019
Labour said it would reform the system to tax large tech companies on their global profits rather than those registered in the UK.
The party has criticized companies for structuring their companies in ways that send profits to low-tax jurisdictions and effectively avoid paying higher taxes in markets where their consumers are located.
Labour said it would take an as-yet-undisclosed portion of worldwide profits, meant to reflect the company’s footprint in the UK.
Boris Johnson, the current UK Prime Minister, called the plan a “crackpot scheme.”
His Conservative party also wants to invest in internet infrastructure, but within the existing framework of private companies.