The UK supermarket chain Morrisons yesterday agreed to support the growing food bank crisis in the UK by giving away £10m worth of food to UK food banks during the current Covid-19 crisis.
On the face of it, this seems like a very generous and public spirited move on the part of the supermarket, and it will certainly help a large number of people who currently struggle to put food on the table. Whilst however, it is perhaps a worthy move, it strikes me that we should also question how it is that an organisation can afford such largesse? Surely, whilst applauding the gesture, we should at the same time ask ourselves the question “how is it that we live in a world where companies can readily make such large sums of money?”
According to the preliminary figures for the tax year 2019/2020 the supermarket chain Morrisons is set to make a pre-tax profit of £408m. With UK Corporation tax set at 19%, that means that at a basic level, Morrisons will make an after-tax profit of £330m. …of which, they are now going to give away £10 – or around 3%. What I wonder are they going to do with the remaining £327m?
I do not wish to denigrate in any way what Morrisons are doing – I think that the move is a very positive one, which should rightly be recognised as such. Yet at the same time, I wonder at the political and economic system which we have put in place which continues to allow companies of all sorts to make such profits in the first place. Perhaps if the supermarkets charged less for the goods that they sell in the first place there would be no need for food banks? How is it that we have created a society where many individuals have to rely upon the charity of others to survive? How is it acceptable to make money in this way, and is it right that those in need should have to depend upon the generosity of a few: the few that have a who choose to give (because let’s face it – there are a lot more who have and who choose not to give).