Larder East

Things We’re Tired of Hearing

...and what we'd like to hear instead.

"Do you get many abusing the system and taking when they don’t need it?"

We'd love to say this is an oft unheard line of questioning, but it seems a knee jerk and common concern. Fuelled by misinformation, concerns like this are often planted as a ploy to distract us from more important and pressing questions. Especially during an election campaign, we see headlines about benefit scroungers as some politicians seek votes by blaming the poor and disenfranchised for their lack of resources to public services.

First and foremost, if you want to get angry about people abusing the system, we suggest you turn your rage first and foremost to billionaire tax dodgers and multi-national corporations structuring their wealth for tax avoidance. According to a report by the EU Tax Observatory, part of the Paris School of Economics, billionaires are able to get away with paying tax rates equal to 0% or 0.5% of their wealth, while those of us on an average income pay 20%. Tax dodging has become so commonplace, companies who do comply get awards, like the Fair Tax Mark, for meeting what should be the requirements for all. You can peruse those who make the mark here.

Secondly, It’s more complex than this question suggests. Sometimes we see people operating out of a scarcity mindset, where they’ve become so worried about being without food, they might hoard it. To this, we advise them to breathe easy, assure them we are here to support them on an ongoing basis and gently remind them of our mantra: there is always enough when we share.

But we're less softly-softly with our mantra when it comes to the super rich. We’d like to hear more commonplace outrage, frustration or even just bewilderment at the tax evasion and wealth hoarding of the top 1% instead of reinforcing a narrative that stigmatises people experiencing poverty and often prevents them from accessing help when needed.

You can read more about wealth inequality and how to teach the playground principle of sharing to the super-rich in Oxfams annual report on wealth inequality.

As a basic principle, punch up, not down. The super-rich can shoulder it and our politicians should be convincing us all right now they have the courage to implement greater accountability, transparency and repercussions for corporate greed.

Making a choice between feeding your children and having a hot shower shouldn’t be happening in 2023. The work the Larder>East team have done in East Belfast is amazing, we couldn’t survive without them.

Lizzie, shopper since 2021

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