Fortnum & Mason is owned by Wittington Investments. Wittington Investments has a 54% stake in Associated British Foods (ABF), a multinational food corporation with revenues of some £10bn/year.
Some time between 2005 and 2008, ABF set up a holding company in Luxembourg. It then sent large sums of money – interest free – from ABF PLC and Primark (Ireland), also owned by ABF, into this holding account, from which it was sent straight back, this time with interest charges.
According to tax experts, this has meant ABF’s annual tax avoidance amounts to at least £10m through offsetting interest payments on profits.
Although Wittington is ultimately linked backed to the Weston Family Trust, which has charitable status, ABF is not a charity in any sense. The Weston Family Trust naturally support the pro-corporate, pro-privatisation policies being promoted by the coalition government and are major backers of the Tory Party.
This is just one example of the many super rich individuals and profitable big businesses going out of their way to minimise their tax bills. Some £25bn every year is thought to be lost to the public purse by wealthy tax avoiders. This money needs to be recouped to help save our essential public services.
All in this together?
£15,000 hamper to take to the Henley Regatta anyone?
F&M perfectly symbolises the vast inequalities in wealth that exist in this country, showing just how wrong George Osborne is when he says ‘we are all in this together’.
Travel from the West End of London to the East End or down to the estates in Peckham and Brixton and it is plain to see that we are not all in this together even at the best of times.
£82bn is being slashed from public spending. These cuts will directly hit the poorest hardest – to pay for a crisis that had nothing to do with libraries or social care, and everything to do with a reckless banking system.
Now take a wander around places like Fortnum & Mason and consider the effects of the cuts on the people who can afford to shop there. George Osborne plans to get rid of the 50p tax rate in order to make the lives of the super-rich even easier.