Co-operative Party brings Fair Tax to politics

With the tax avoidance row still raging, the Co-operative Party has become the UK’s first political party to obtain the Fair Tax Mark for tax transparency. Since its...

With the tax avoidance row still raging, the Co-operative Party has become the UK’s first political party to obtain the Fair Tax Mark for tax transparency.

Since its launch in 2014, the mark has been awarded to a number of co-ops and co-operative organisations including the Co-operative Group, Midcounties Co-operative, Co-operatives UK, the Phone Co-op, the Radstock Co-op and East of England Co-op.

The Mark was pioneered by the first three businesses to obtain it; the Phone Co-op, Midcounties Co-operative and Unity Trust Bank. Enterprises that sign up for the Mark show they are paying the right amount of tax, at the right time, in the right place. The Fair Tax Mark team also looks at whether a business is transparent about who owns it, what it does and where it is.

Parliament debates Fair Tax Mark pioneered by co-ops

Labour/Co-op MPs, including shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Seema Malhotra, and chair of the public accounts committee Meg Hillier, unveiled the Mark in Westminster on 14 April.

Earlier that week, Labour/Co-op councillors in Plymouth tabled a motion calling on Devon County Council to tighten its procurement rules in line with the Mark.

Co-op Party chair Gareth Thomas said: “Just as co-operatives led the way on Fairtrade, we are now setting the pace when it comes to tax transparency. In becoming the first political party to secure the Mark, we hope to lead the way for others to follow.”

The UK's Fair Tax Mark
The UK’s Fair Tax Mark

Paul Monaghan, a co-founder of the Fair Tax Mark, said: “Given the manner in which the co-operative sector has been at the vanguard of the Fair Tax Mark, it seems appropriate that the first political body to achieve the Mark would be the Co-operative Party. We have been particularly heartened to see the publication of a new tax policy that rules out the use of tax havens by the Party, and adds transparency around tax due on investment income.

“More broadly, the Party’s work to support the Fair Tax Mark and other progressive programmes to tackle tax dodging has been much appreciated.”

Given our values, this is a natural step

The party’s general secretary, Claire McCarthy, wrote in a blog post: “Since it was launched in 2014, the Fair Tax Mark is fast becoming the standard for identifying those businesses that pay their fair share from those who do not. It’s been dubbed the ‘new Fairtrade’ as the latest standard for ethically minded consumer.

“And just as the co-operative movement led the way on Fairtrade, we’re proud to join the ranks of leading co-operatives including the Co-operative Group and Midcounties Co-operative in being awarded the Mark.

“Given our values, this is a natural step. Whether on employee ownership, profit sharing or our approaches to local transport or housing, our policies promote the idea that the economy should work for the benefit of us all, rather than private profit alone.”

In this article

Join the Conversation