By Graham Vanbergen – Anarchy – By the rich and powerful : The Case of the starving verses a tax dodging transnational food company
In July 2014, Darren Head eloquently told of his anguish via an article in The Guardian as someone who was living in the twilight zone of unemployment and homelessness in Britain. In an excerpt from that piece he wrote “There were benefits sanction due to a mix-up about Work Programme courses I should have attended as a condition of receiving out-of-work benefits. Life became hell. Once my food had run out, I had no money to buy more. I was sent back on the Work Programme but without funds to feed myself. The hunger was unbearable. I did not have the energy to turn up. This led to another sanction. The sanctions became a vicious cycle as I became too ill to do anything. When I did get a job interview, I looked like a zombie as I had lost so much weight. I could not focus properly and lacked energy. Support from friends and family fell away as they assumed I was addicted to drugs. I was just hungry. I tried contacting my local MP but he did not seem interested. I felt alone and trapped. With nobody to turn to, and feeling like it was my only option, I pocketed a sandwich from a supermarket. I was arrested and fined £80. I had no way of paying and spent a week in prison for non payment. I lost my flat as I was £1,000 in rent arrears.”
Some months earlier, The Guardian also reported that “One of Britain’s biggest multinationals, whose brands include Silver Spoon sugar, Twinings Tea and Kingsmill bread, is avoiding paying millions of pounds of tax in an African state blighted by malnutrition”.
The report went further by saying that for years the company was effectively paying less than 0.5% in taxes and that this one British headquartered transnational organisation managed to deprive the country of Zambia of a sum 14 times larger than the UK aid provided to the country to combat hunger and food insecurity.