RETAIL GIANTS GIVEN FOREIGN AID TO IMPROVE FOREIGN SUPPLIERS WORKING CONDITIONS – I’ve got a question for the taxpayer… ‘As a small privately owned business, that being meebal.com, would it be acceptable for the taxpayer to provide me with cash so that I could employ foreigner workers to report news from their countries; in other words would the taxpayer feel happy for a private company to pay the wages of foreign staff?’
Now you might think I’m being pedantic or even facetious but I tell you that’s exactly what is happening and is being perpetrated by the Department of International Development (DIFD) and some of the largest high street names in retail; including Asda, Marks & Spencer, Primark, Debenhams and Tesco.
You might be shaking your head wondering how these highly profitable companies are able to acquire taxpayer’s money to basically help develop their own business interests.
It’s quite simply really;,all you do is go along to the Secretary for the Department of International Development Justine Greening and tell her you want to improve the working conditions of your foreign suppliers; that is bring the factories up to modern standards and stamp out what is little more than slavery through the use of sweat shops.
As if the foreign aid cash isn’t already a highly offensive notion as most of it falls in to the hands of corrupt officials; yes we end up ultimately supporting yet another despot dictator and funding lavish lifestyles whilst the minion continue to live in abject poverty and squalor.
This morning I emailed the DIFD to clarify a couple of points, under the Freedom of Information Act. What I’ve asked is how does a company apply for such a grant and two, what is the current amount handed over to the companies listed above. It certainly will be interesting to see the reply I receive and I’ll update this page accordingly.
Currently there are thousands of Asian firms supplying the top brand retailers in the UK but what I find disturbing is why the British taxpayer has to hand over cash to private firms.
It could be argued, as it is, that some countries like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are extremely poor with notorious working conditions and therefore the aid is designed to help them develop better businesses under much improved working conditions.
No, I’m sorry I still can’t justify such in my mind for these are ‘foreign private companies’ and therefore shouldn’t be subject to Government funds from the British taxpayer. What we need to examine here is the fact that the Government does little to help the small business on its own soil so why hand out taxpayer’s cash to foreigners?
Surely the cost should be covered by businesses both in the UK and in the foreign countries for they are the ones who ultimately benefit from improvements to manufacturing by the way of greater productivity resulting in increased profits.
The question here is… ‘Where is the benefit to the British taxpayer?’ Well unless you are a major shareholder in one of the retailers then the answer is ‘none at all’. The issue here is that British taxpayers are once again forced by legislation from the corrupt and inept to hand over cash to private companies in order to allow them to make larger profits through development and no matter how you carve up the cake it’s wrong.
Think of all the problems the British citizen faces such as a crumbing NHS, standards of education falling, welfare rampant and high unemployment and the Government’s answer is what… oh yes that would be to throw millions of pounds at UK and Foreign privately owned businesses for what is ultimately the ability to make greater profits.
So there we have it, the DIFD, is now also responsible for subsidizing private businesses… when I do get a reply from the DIFD I’ll see if they’ll chuck me a few million so I can employ a few hundred foreigners around the globe so that I could produce more content and hopefully increase my earnings.
Yes it might seem like a ludicrous idea but evidently that’s exactly what’s happening, although meebal.com is a business that generates less than £20 a month whilst the likes of Tesco makes billions… I guess the modern day concept has changed in that people now steal from the poor to give to the rich.
Update: February 26, 2014
After nearly a month I finally received a reply from the DIFD; this is the full email I received:
Freedom of Information Request F2014-045
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request dated 28 January 2014 in which you asked for the following information:
“We’re currently constructing an article on the DFID giving taxpayer’s money to high street retailers in order to help develop the businesses of their foreign suppliers.
Q. How much money in total has been provided?
Q. How does a company apply for such a grant?”
This initiative is not giving money to UK retailers or their foreign suppliers to develop their business.
Through the Trade and Global Value Chains Initiative (TGVCI) DFID will work with UK high street names to improve working conditions and job opportunities for more than 700,000 workers and smallholder farmers in countries like Kenya, South Africa and Bangladesh. The initiative will match funds that companies or suppliers invest in projects to improve working conditions, job opportunities, and community services for workers and communities involved in the horticulture and garment sectors. Funding from DFID and the global retailers will go towards specific projects which will be implemented by local and international organisations.
Detailed information on DFID’s TGVCI project ‘Promote sustainable global value chains which includes spend and budget figures is available on DFID’S Development Tracker using the link given above.
Information relating to how a company applies for TGVCI grants is available here on the Inside Government website.
The Information Commissioner’s Office
DFID Information Rights and Public Enquiries Team
I’ve read it time and time again and it still looks to me as if UK retail giants are receiving cash that ultimately helps boost productivity and profits; albeit under the disguise that the DFID is helping foreign countries to create better working conditions.