Westmill Wind Farm and Westmill Solar become first community energy co-operatives to secure fair tax mark
By Westmill Wind Farm & Westmill Solar
Oxfordshire-based Westmill Wind Farm and Westmill Solar have today (10th November) secured their first Fair Tax Mark certifications, and join the growing movement of responsible businesses who are proud to 'say what they pay with pride'.
The two renewable energy co-operatives are co-located on agricultural land in Oxfordshire and pursued Fair Tax Mark certification in parallel.
- Westmill Wind Farm was the first 100% community owned onshore wind farm to be built in the south of England. Its five turbines came online in 2008 and produce low-carbon electricity equivalent to that used by over 2,500 households per annum.
- Westmill Solar began operating in 2012 and was, at the time, the world’s largest co-operatively run, community-owned solar park. It is made up of 20,000 polycrystalline PV panels that generate the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of over 1,600 homes.
The Fair Tax Mark is an independent certification, which recognises organisations that demonstrate they are paying the right amount of corporation tax in the right place, at the right time. More than 55 businesses have now been certified. These include national brands such as Timpson, Lush, and Richer Sounds, FTSE listed companies including SSE and Marshalls Plc., as well as co-operatives, family businesses and social enterprises.
Mark Luntley, Westmill Wind Farm, Chair said: “We are delighted to have jointly received this accreditation with Westmill Solar. Taxes are the price of a civilised society, they pay for the public services we all use. As member co-operatives we see paying correct taxes as part of our commitment to the seventh co-operative principle - concern for community.”
Tom Parkinson, Westmill Solar, Chair said: “The Westmill energy co-operatives were founded to pioneer a cleaner energy system and a more sustainable world. A fair tax system is essential to both – and so something that all organisations should crave.”
Paul Monaghan, Chief Executive, Fair Tax Mark, said: “We are delighted to announce that two of the UK’s pioneers of community-led, renewable energy generation have newly secured the Fair Tax Mark. Westmill Wind and Westmill Solar are inspiring co-operatives that demonstrate a deep commitment to responsible tax conduct, and grasp how important this is to the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy. Their certification has been supported by Energy4All (who were accredited in 2019) and Ethex.
“The public rightly expects responsible behaviour, but far too often they’re reading headlines that describe the tactics businesses employ to avoid contributing the tax they should to the public purse. It is estimated that annually, due to corporate profits being shifted to tax havens, corporate tax revenue losses in the UK amount to at least £7bn. Just think of the nurses, doctors and teachers we could employ, or the renewable energy infrastructure we could build if that tax was paid as it should be?”
Polling* commissioned by the Fair Tax Mark from ICM has recently found record levels of post-covid concern among the public about the use of tax avoidance practices by business in the UK. Over three-quarters of people responded said that they would rather shop with (79%) or work for (82%) a business that can prove it is paying its fair share of tax. Eight in ten people (82%) believe businesses benefiting from Government bailouts should be forced to agree terms that prohibit tax avoidance and enforce responsible tax conduct.
* 2020 ICM Omnibus: a nationally representative omnibus survey of c.2,000 adults across GB between 15th and 17th May 2020.
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