Councillors were unanimous in wanting to see how the borough council can use its procurement system to ensure companies that pay their proper taxes are rewarded.

Deputy labour group leader Steve Allsopp bought the motion which proposed trying to use companied which could display the fair tax mark, but agreed to a Conservative amendment which said: "The cabinet member for finance and education brings a report to Cabinet outlining the feasibility of including the government's underlying principles on fair tax in the council’s procurement processes."

The cabinet member for economy and place, Oliver Donachie, who introduced the amendment said: "There are two things everyone here agrees on: one - taxes pay for essential services; two - taxes should be fair. Only thing separates us is the arbiter of what’s fair."

Coun Allsopp said: "We should use our procurement to try and ensure we deal with companies that are efficient and well-run, not just those that are most aggressive in avoiding their tax liabilities.

The Co-operative movement issues a fair tax mark to companies that pay their full tax liability on time in the UK.