The government has announced a special digital services tax on US technology firms – including Google, Facebook and Amazon – to make sure “these global giants with profitable businesses in the UK pay their fair share”.

Philip Hammond, the chancellor, said the UK could no longer wait for “painfully slow” discussions on an international agreement on tackling tech firms’ tax avoidance. He said the UK would go it alone and introduce the tax on online firms that make more than £500m a year globally. Hammond said he expected the “narrowly targeted tax”, which will come into force in April 2020, to raise more than £400m a year for the exchequer.

Miles Dean commented that it “beggars belief” that the government would introduce a new tax on multinationals when the UK requires fresh international investment in a post-Brexit economy.

“At a time when the UK must pull out all the stops to attract inward investment with Brexit looming on the horizon, it beggars belief that a Conservative chancellor should contemplate levying a brand new tax on companies that have already invested heavily in the UK, employ thousands of people and whose total tax contribution is very often overlooked.

“The reality is that Philip Hammond needs to raise revenue somewhere but inventing a digital services tax isn’t the answer. The idea that the UK is prepared ‘to go it alone’ without any international consensus is ridiculous and will undoubtedly lead to a retaliatory response from trading partners, most likely the US.”

Read Miles’ comments in: