Pounding the Poor

Along with chocolate and toilet rolls, sex toys are now for sale in Poundland. (June 19, Leicester Mercury) But in the bargain-world of budget shops, all is not as it appears, and earlier this year Poundland had to admit that their “Everything for £1” claim is no longer true.

This false advertising, however, does not just apply to their products, as some of their key staff running their stores earn so little they cannot afford to buy the available goods with their pay-packets. That is because Poundland don’t pay some of their staff: but instead, we the taxpayers pay them via the Government’s archaic workfare scheme.

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Whilst Leicester’s residents rank as the poorest in England (May 27, Leicester Mercury), the owners of Poundland, US private equity giant Warburg Pincus, are making their shareholders rich beyond the imagination of ordinary people.

Consider: Poundlands’ chairman, Darren Shapland, whose many other lucrative directorships include his employment with Ladbrokes, the UK’s most profitable betting chain. Just as easy profits acrue to Poundland via the use of free labour, Ladbrokes makes immense amounts by targeting the poorest sections of society with their illusionary promises of easy money. In fact, Ladbrokes burgeoning profits rely upon the sad fact that many people are paid so little that they see gambling as their only hope of attaining the good life.

Of course, Ladbrokes controversially obtains the lions share of their profits from fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT), often referred to as the “crack cocaine of gambling”. Here it is critical to recall that the growth of such addictive machines owes much to the Labour Party’s last term in power, when they pushed through the Gambling Act which took nearly all the caps off the betting industry.

With ten shops in Leicester alone, Ladbrokes is able to drain just over £2 million out of our city every year through the profits derived from such casino-styled machines. No wonder people are angry with the way society is being run. This is no doubt just one of the reasons why more than quarter of a million people turned out in London on Saturday to protest against our Government, who seem intent to put the needs of the super-rich before the needs of ordinary people.

Letter sent to the Leicester Mercury mailbox on 21st June. 

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