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The Government have indicated that they are looking to introduce a new tax or levy on companies who do online shopping. We are concerned that this charge will be passed to the consumer leading to an increase in prices. A new online shopping tax like this will disproportionately affect those with a disability and we believe that this amounts to a tax on disability. We are calling on the Government to abandon plans for a blanket tax and meet with us to discuss how they can ensure disabled people are treated equally.

The letter says:

“Dear Chancellor,

On behalf of the UK’s 14 million people with a disability or long-term health condition, we are writing to highlight the disproportionally detrimental effect a tax on online shopping will have, ask you to ensure people with disabilities are not discriminated against further and stop this tax. People living in the UK with a long-term health condition already face considerable disadvantage. 

Many people with disabilities rely on online shopping to maintain independent living. During the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen people unable to obtain delivery slots they have relied on for years because of an increase in demand. As a result, many have been paying a premium to get food and essential supplies delivered to their home. 

People with chronic conditions must balance their time and energy carefully in order not to exacerbate their symptoms, so will often rely on online shopping. It is clear that any tax targeting those who shop online will adversely hit those with a disability and their carers.

Research undertaken by Scope has highlighted that, on average, people with a disability already face extra costs of £583 a month. The Government must act to reduce this additional burden faced by people with a disability and address the inequality further highlighted by the pandemic. 

Please will you meet with us and other organisations supporting people with long term health conditions, to discuss how the Government can ensure people with a disability are treated equally.”

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