General Secretary Claire McCarthy and Labour & Co-op MP Seema Malhotra

Today we announce the news that the Co-operative Party has been awarded the Fair Tax Mark – the first for a political party.

Since it was launched in 2014, the Fair Tax Mark is fast becoming the standard for identifying those businesses that pay their fair share from those who do not. It’s been dubbed the ‘new Fairtrade’ as the latest standard for ethically-minded consumer.

And just as the co-operative movement led the way on Fairtrade, we’re proud to join the ranks of leading co-operatives including the Co-operative Group and Midcounties Co-operative in being awarded the Mark.

Given our values, this is a natural step. Whether on employee ownership, profit sharing or our approaches to local transport or housing, our policies promote the idea that the economy should work for the benefit of us all, rather than private profit alone.

Recognising companies who pay their fair share is an obvious part of that agenda, which is why in the past year the Party has worked to raise the profile of the Mark, both in Westminster and local government. Only this week, Labour & Co-operative councillors in Plymouth tabled a motion calling on Devon County Council to tighten its procurement rules to avoid doing business with those who themselves avoid tax, mirroring similar efforts by co-operative councillors across the country.

We hope that by achieving the Mark ourselves, we will help to inspire others to achieve the Mark, and draw attention to the way in which fairness is at the heart of how co-operatives do business, rather than an add-on.

It’s also vital that members and the wider public see us practicing what we preach, and alongside our status as a Living Wage employer, commitments to 50/50 gender balance among our National Executive and politicians, and other internal policies, we hope to set an example which others across the political spectrum will follow.

Britain’s economy is being held back by an obsession with short-term profits and lack of long-term investment. It’s creating an economy where low wages, skills gaps and slowing productivity are becoming the norm, leaving us all worse off.

If we’re going to change that, it’s vital that a greater share of the wealth generated in our economy ends up in the pockets of workers, communities and is invested in our public services, rather than being whisked away offshore. Fair tax is a central part of our vision for the economy and society, and we’re proud to support it.