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UK chancellor Phillip Hammond has served notice to the likes of Facebook and Google of the likelihood that a temporary tech tax on revenues rather than profits could be imposed to prevent existing laws from being circumvented.

The escalating rhetoric comes amid concern that Silicon Valley firms are failing to pay their way and an acknowledgment that any international agreement on the issue remains some way off.

Also in Hammond’s sights is online selling amid similar concerns that businesses such as Amazon and eBay were unfairly minimising the tax paid on transactions by avoiding or otherwise neglecting to pay VAT.

Hammond said: “The current misalignment between where digital businesses are taxed and where they create value threatens to undermine the fairness, sustainability and public acceptability of the corporate tax system."

At the same time Hammond is mindful of the contributions such companies do make to the UK, employing 1.5m people and investing £6.8bn in 2016.

Amazon has defended paying a paltry £15m in tax across Europe on sales of £19.5bn. Facebook meanwhile paid corporation tax of £5.1m last year on revenues of £842.4m.