Now consumers can choose to shop where they see the Fair Tax Mark
When it was first mooted, it was a bit of a joke, but following the consumer backlash against Starbucks, resulting in them promising to make ‘voluntary’ additional tax payments and growing consumer grumblings about boycotting the worst tax offenders, the new fair tax mark has indeed come into existence.
With the same kind of idea as the fairtrade badge, where consumers can choose whether they spend their money on items that are fairtrade or not, the fair tax campaign think their mark is “a unique tool aimed at setting a high standard of corporate behaviour and transparency relating to tax.”
Today, the first set of rankings have been released, where 25 of the UK’s largest retailers (note this is UK companies, so Amazon is not included as it is not a UK company) have been scrutinised on three separate measures,; whether they report their earnings by each country, how close their effective tax rate is to the headline rate, and whether they have subsidiary companies in tax havens. Only companies with a score of 12-15 (out of 15) will get the all-important badge.
The results of the retail sector can be seen here. Top of the shop is George Osborne’s favourite Greggs with an impressive 15 out of 15, closely followed by wine retailer Majestic, which has seen impressive growth over the past few years since no-one can afford to pay pub prices any more, with a score of 14. These two are the only two UK retailers to earn a Fair Tax Mark.
At the bottom end, Carphone Warehouse, Home Retail (Argos), Sainsburys and WH Smith all languish on just 2 points, with Tesco and N Brown Plc (clothing) just a point higher on 3. Tesco apparently got all defensive claiming their tax rate is low because of Government subsidies to encourage investment and job creation. Not sure what the 50+ tax haven subsidiaries have to do with the Government though.
The plan is to roll out the judgment to various other sectors in due course.