Amazon’s Praise For Marcus Rashford Backfires Spectacularly

Sara C Nelson
·Senior Editor, HuffPost UK
·3-min read

Amazon, the tech giant owned by the richest person in the world, tweeted praise for man of the moment Marcus Rashford over his incredible work to stop poor children going hungry – and it not go down well.

Its Prime Video Sport sent support to the England star on Twitter, calling him a “national hero”.

But the gesture backfired somewhat, given ongoing criticism for the firm over tax avoidance and its decision to base its European operations in low-tax state Luxembourg. It also relies on wide-scale use of zero-hours contracts and accusations of workers being overstretched in warehouses.

The tweet was greeted with a cacophony of users calling on the firm to pay more tax and for its owner Jeff Bezos – who is officially the world’s richest person – to share some of his personal £148.5 billion wealth for the causes Rashford is championing.

One user asked: “What about you ask Jeff to chip a few quid in to help the campaign, eh?”

Football star Rashford has vowed to continue campaigning to extend free school meals over the holidays despite MPs voting again the measure.

The Manchester United forward told politicians to “stop stigmatising, judging and pointing fingers” as he warned a “significant number” of children will go to bed hungry and “feeling like they do not matter” because of comments made during the debate.

He called on people to “unite” to protect the most vulnerable children, adding: “For as long as they don’t have a voice, they will have mine.”

On Thursday he began sharing the details of dozens of restaurants, shops and community groups offering to feed the country’s poorest children after 322 Tories voted down a motion to extend free school meals.

Last year it was reported that Amazon has paid less corporation tax in the UK over the last two decades than major retailers such as Marks and Spencer paid in one year alone.

An investigation by the Mirror found that Amazon UK Services had paid £61.7 million corporation tax in the UK in the last 20 years.

It also found the company had turned over £6.86 billion in the UK since 1998, but made £213 million profit – including five years of losses.

Amazon, which is valued at around 1.6 trillion US dollars (£1.24 trillion), was founded in 1994 by Bezos, a hedge fund executive.

Bezos is the world’s richest person and worth a fortune of around 193.5 billion US dollars (£148.5 billion).

A spokesperson for Amazon pointed out that the firm delivered over one million free breakfasts to UK school children as part of a partnership with charity Magic Breakfast in May.

The added: “We are investing heavily in creating jobs and infrastructure across the UK – more than £23bn since 2010. The UK has now become one of Amazon’s largest global hubs for talent and this year we announced plans to create 10,000 new jobs in the country by the end of 2020, taking our total workforce to over 40,000.

“This continued investment helped contribute to a total tax contribution of £1.1 billion during 2019 – £293m in direct taxes and £854m in indirect taxes.”

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.