Experts voice positive reaction to the Fair Tax Mark
Some of the UK’s leading voices on tax agree that the Fair Tax Mark is a step in the right direction.
That was the general consensus at a recent round table discussion organised by one of our pioneer companies Midcounties Co-operative.
The forum, run in association with the Guardian and published today, was attended by some of the country’s leading authorities on tax and tax campaigning, including Robert Hodgkinson, Executive Director of Technical Strategy at the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and Chas Roy-Chowdhury, Head of Taxation at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, along with our founder and leading tax campaigner, Richard Murphy.
In particular, participants felt that the new scoring system went a long way to addressing problems outlined earlier in the year by people from our own technical group and those watching from the sidelines and had really helped to increase the marks credibility.
Many of the participants also felt the public would embrace having an easy way to tell if a company was paying a fair amount of tax or not “All consumers want to know,” said Robert Hodgkinson of the ICAEW, “is has it passed, or failed?”
The Mark was compared to the Fair Trade movement and other consumer awareness campaigns. “These things started off very small and now they dominate global markets – they have become really influential,” said the Fair Tax Mark’s business administrator, Rob Harrison. Ben Reid, Chief Executive of Midcounties Co-operative, added that Fair Tax was now attracting the same type of passion as Fair Trade and hoped that it snowballs in the same way.
Jenny Ricks of Action Aid added that companies are “responding to public demand for change on this issue”, and that, “[the Fair Tax Mark] will be another tool to democratise the debate around tax.”
Even the most sceptical panelists, Ken Olisa OBE, Corporate director of ThomsonReuters and Chair of Restoration Partners, came around to the idea in the end, suggesting that if the scheme focused on “justice more than tax”, it could and should succeed. “The idea of tax justice, as a citizen, I find hugely attractive,” he said. “As a businessman, I find it hugely attractive. The only way we create wealth in society is through businesses and we have to operate in society, so it’s an easy argument.”