I was contacted last week by the PR person at the Ecology Building Society who told me that the Ecology now had accreditation under the Fair Tax Mark. I emailed back to ask if the Ecology, a small building society with all the financial regulatory regime it is required to abide by, could actually avoid paying its taxes even should it want to, Fair Tax Mark or not. I can’t somehow see the Ecology with its single office in the West Yorkshire town of Silsden opening up, say, a Channel Islands offshoot as once upon a time an ex-building society named Northern Rock chose to do.
My email response was a little unkind. The Ecology, set up by a group of activists at the time when it was just about possible (with a lot of hard work) to start a new building society from scratch, has gone on to do good things. And the Fair Tax Mark (very much a creation from within the cooperative movement) is a useful propaganda vehicle when so many companies appear to feel that UK Corporation Tax is a voluntary commitment that they may or may not decide to meet.