Cumbria’s water provider United Utilities has secured a new accreditation for paying the right amount of corporation tax.

The company has received the Fair Tax Mark – an independent certification scheme which recognises organisations that demonstrate they are paying the right amount of corporation tax in the right place, at the right time.

United Utilities made improvements to their tax notes in their financial statements – which were supplemented with a detailed tax report setting out plainly what tax they pay and why in both the UK and overseas – to secure the mark.

The company – which provides water and wastewater services to three million homes and 200,000 businesses across the North West – pays in around £240 million each year into the public finances.

The accreditation comes at a time when new data shows record levels of concern among the public about the use of tax avoidance practices by business in the UK.

It is estimated that at least £7 billion is lost to the public coffers each year due to corporate profits being shifted to tax havens and corporate tax revenue losses.

Russ Houlden, chief financial officer at United Utilities, said: "Each year United Utilities contributes around £240 million to public finances and we are fully committed to paying our fair share of tax and acting in an open and transparent manner in relation to our tax affairs.

“We are constantly looking at ways to further improve the communication and transparency of our approach to tax and we are very pleased to receive this independent certification from the Fair Tax Mark.”

Paul Monaghan, chief executive of Fair Tax Mark said: “United Utilities join a growing list of responsible businesses who recognise that a transparent approach to tax is not only the right thing to do, but increasingly what their customers expect.

“Far too often tax is presented as a burden, rather than an essential component that helps glue our society together. Having a fair approach to tax recognises the vital contribution tax makes towards the shared public services we all rely on, from the NHS to schools and policing; as well as ensuring a level playing field for business.”

United Utilities join fellow FTSE 100 company SSE and high street names including The Co-op, Timpson Group and Lush, in securing the accreditation.

It employs more than 5,000 people and is currently delivering the £300m West Cumbria Water Supplies project, which will take water from Thirlmere Reservoir to bring more reliable and sustainable water supplies into Allerdale and Copeland.

The project, which involves 100km of new pipeline, is due to be completed by 2022.