Darling’s tax competitiveness review

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Alastair Darling has reacted to the 'exodus' of two companies from the UK by launching a review of the competitiveness of the UK's tax system.

There's no problem with that, although it does look awfully like another decision made after the horse has bolted.

There is, however, a massive problem with the proposed composition of the review body. It is, apparently, to include up to ten senior representatives of multinational companies.

Of course these companies should be represented. But they would also be represented if the review was on income tax. In that case though so would employees be represented. And yet when it comes to business tax there appears to be no reciprocal invitation. Nor is there mention of civil society being represented on the body. Why not? Isn't this an issue for us all?

Consultation is good. Consultation that is simply a mechanism for big business to ask for lower taxes is not just poor consultation, it could be positively harmful in a tax system where many already perceive that the rich and the companies they won do not pay enough tax.

If Alastair Darling wants to out things right call the TUC now. And some people with tax expertise who might be seen to represent civil society. Then this body might create a more useful outcome. Right now that is no in prospect.