Money for Some… Less and Death for Others

In Leicestershire a few have it good, and many others have it not so good. Homelessness is on the rise, and coincidentally so is the wealth of the richest; with reports last year showing that Leicestershire now “has the fourth largest number of multi-millionaires in the UK.”

Last week, with unrestrained jubilee, the Leicester Mercury announced that the founder of Syston homeware chain Dunelm, Bill Adderley, has become Leicestershire’s “first-ever billionaire.” By way of a contrast, the Mercury played down a three-night sleep-out on the doorstep of the Leicester city Town Hall (ending this morning) which was organized to protest the fact that the Council was making savage cuts to homelessness services. (The Mercury mentioned the presence of just two protestors and “a tent” when in actual fact there is a  mini tent city of sorts on the grass.)

No need to worry though, because multi-millionaires are generous indeed. For example, in 2011 the Mercury reported the good news, with no hint of irony, that Dunelm had “donated £11,000 to charities across the UK.” Yes that’s right, Dunelm — home of the richest man in Leicestershire — gave a whopping £11,000 to the needy; with the Mercury breathlessly noting how they “gave £100 to Redgate Animal Sanctuary in Markfield as part of the donation.”

Dunelm is of course no corner shop, and their current chairman, Geoff Cooper, is the CEO of the construction giant Travis Perkins plc; while in the past Cooper served as the Deputy Chief Executive of Alliance UniChem plc — a company which since its merger with Boots Group plc in 2006 has been known as Alliance Boots.

This big pharma connection is interesting because fellow Dunelm board member, David Stead, formerly served as the Finance Director at Boots Group plc, and until earlier this year acted as a board member of Eredene Capital plc — an investment company which specialises in investing in Indian infrastructure. Another notable board member of Eredene is the former chairman of Boots Group plc, Sir Christopher Benson.

Such Indian profiteering brings us back to the Midlands, as the former New Labour MP for Leicester West, the Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, not only worked as a consultant to Alliance Boots (after stepping down as Secretary of State for Health), but is presently the chair of the UK India Business Council. [1] Here she is perfectly placed to lend a much needed charitable hand to New Labour’s multi-millionaire friends in Leicestershire.

[1] Travis Perkins plc board member, Philip Jansen, is the Group Chief Executive of the Brakes Group plc (which is Britain’s largest distributor of frozen food to restaurants). This is noteworthy as the President of the UK India Business Council, Lord Karen Bilimoria, happens to be a former board member of the Brakes Group plc.


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