David Gauke, Treasury Minister, welcomes Fair Tax Mark

David Guake
David Gauke welcomes the Fair Tax Mark as a valuable contribution to the debate about tax transparency

Treasury Minister David Gauke yesterday said the government approved of the principles behind the Fair Tax Mark and suggested it could be a ‘valuable contribution to the debate’ about corporate tax avoidance and greater transparency.

The Minister’s remarks came during an adjournment debate proposed by Caroline Lucas MP on the subject of the Fair Tax Mark.

It is worth quoting Mr Gauke’s words in full:

I welcome any contribution that informs and progresses the debate about transparency and a better understanding of the taxes paid by companies. We welcome any business moving to improve the transparency of its own tax affairs. Indeed, as a Minister I have made the point for at least three years that companies must do more to explain the tax that they pay and some of the complexities of their situation, which can be lost in a febrile public debate. They must be much more open and transparent in explaining their arrangements, because it would be to the benefit of all companies if people understood such matters better. Often, companies’ silence leads to suspicion, whether well-founded or not.

The specific proposal for a Fair Tax Mark is a new initiative — let us see how it works. I generally welcome anything that progresses the debate. If such an initiative is to work effectively, clear and objective criteria must be in place and must be applied fairly and objectively by informed and credible experts who are well respected by business and the wider public. There must also be a governance structure that addresses any concerns about conflicts of interest and ensures independence. If the fair tax mark can meet those tests, it will be a particularly valuable contribution to the debate.

We have the independence and objectivity the Minister mentions.

Businesses and the general public alike can read our clear assessment criteria, which are open to future development under the guidance of our expert technical advisory group, and we are developing our governance structures as we expand.

We welcome this endorsement from the government and hope they will continue to support us in our efforts.