Ben Saunders post on the Fair Tax mark is interesting, I hope it leads to a good debate on methodology


One thought on “Ben Saunders post on the Fair Tax mark is interesting, I hope it leads to a good debate on methodology

  1. Martin I find myself agreeing with you and Ben. Yes the Mark is the product of a few people but, as Richard sort of complained, he’s been very active in getting tax on the public agenda but Oxford still won’t invite him. So this is an analysis with a high profile and high media coverage.
    So I believe we have to engage with it, perhaps more in sorrow at a wasted opportunity than an academic rebuttal. There is a need for a wider public understanding of these issues and all their attendant complexity. So I would have hoped a funded piece of work could have done more. It might have considered behaviours (like Gregg’s and the pasty tax). It might have explained why the 25 were chosen. Was it market share? Was it because their market sector absorbed a significant portion of consumer spending? Was there a minimum threshold on sales or employees? All this would allow us the context.
    Again, why choose the measures used and why only corporation tax? What was the record on pay or the living wage? Why not things likely investment or financing? Also relevant to assessments of a company.
    Apart from Ben’s analysis on averages there’s no explanation of how the scores are calculated (it is hard to see why one company gets 0 and another very similar gets 2, declaring almost all your sales are UK based gets 0, the same score as saying nothing about sales by location). Why is the bottom tier a much wider numerical range than the others? This automatically increase the number of poor companies.Compared to other TJN research the range of sources is narrow and commentators have quickly spotted explanations for things that reduce scores, such as overseas subsidiaries in tax havens that actually probably operate trading activities like a supermarket.
    But it may be too late in the day to start again. I can only hope that TJN have a look at what people are writing and give us some answers.

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