Severn Trent secures Fair Tax Mark

Severn Trent has today secured its first Fair Tax Mark certification, and joins the growing movement of progressive businesses who are proud to say what they pay with pride.

Severn Trent is one of the UK’s largest water companies, providing water and sewerage services to more than 4.3 million homes and businesses in the Midlands. It becomes the third FTSE 100 listed organisation (alongside SSE and United Utilities) to have achieved Fair Tax Mark certification, and the seventh FTSE listed business.

In preparing for the Fair Tax Mark, Severn Trent enhanced its tax transparency and disclosures by publishing a separate tax report for the first time which sets out plainly what taxes it pays and why.

Paul Monaghan, Chief Executive, Fair Tax Mark said: “We are delighted to see the third FTSE 100 listed company, Severn Trent, accredit as a Fair Tax Mark business.

“Severn Trent is joining a growing movement of businesses that are proudly saying what tax they pay, committing to transparency in their reporting and being clear to their customers that they won’t be using tax havens or shifting profits to avoid paying what they owe. The public rightly expects responsible behaviour but far too often they’re reading headlines that describe the tactics businesses employ to avoid contributing the tax they owe to the public purse.

“It is estimated that annually, due to corporate profits being shifted to tax havens, corporate tax revenue losses in the UK amount to at least £7bn. Just think of the nurses, doctors and teachers we could employ, or the renewable energy infrastructure we could build if that tax was paid as it should be?”

James Bowling, Chief Financial Officer at Severn Trent, said: “Receiving the Fair Tax Mark is fantastic news and a major milestone for Severn Trent. It recognises that we’re a company that likes to do the right thing – paying the right amount of corporation tax, in the right place at the right time. Most importantly, this accreditation will show our customers that we are a responsible businesses which takes a great deal of pride in being open and transparent in how we do things.”

Earlier this year the Fair Tax Mark released polling data from ICM[i] that showed record levels of concern among the public about the use of tax avoidance practices by business in the UK. Over three quarters of people responded that they would rather shop with (77%) or work for (78%) a business that can prove it is paying its fair share of tax – in both cases, up eight percentage points on 2018. An increasing number also said that it was important to celebrate businesses who can demonstrate good tax conduct and shun the artificial use of tax havens and contrived tax avoidance practices, up six percentage points on 2018, to 75%.

Paul Monaghan continued: “Paying the right amount of tax is about fairness. The Fair Tax Mark is one way that consumers can easily recognise those who are doing the right thing, and show their support through using their goods and services.

“We’re pleased to see that there’s a growing movement of responsible businesses that are stepping up and voluntarily demonstrating a transparent approach to tax. We hope others will follow the leadership of Severn Trent in this area.”