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Bankrolling redundancy

Written by: on February 2, 2010

“When British taxpayers bailed out the banks, they would never have believed that their money would now be used to put British people out of work.”

As Nick Clegg spoke these words in the Commons, the prospective deal for the American company Kraft to maximise their chances of a monopoly on the British confectionary market took a giant leap forward with the talks taking place of a deal for Cadbury. Shareholders are currently agreeing a deal to sell the company for a total of an estimated £11.5 billion, a price of 840p per share. The board have until the second of February to back a deal that will see Britain lose one of its last remaining treasures.

The company attempting to purchase Cadbury, Kraft Foods, are the world’s second largest food product, with brands such as Philadelphia, Milka, Kenco Coffee and Toblerone selling globally as part of their quest for world dominance. The huge popularity of Cadbury, beaten only by Mars in the confectionary market, has led to this bid as Kraft attempt to monopolise the whole field.

The proposed takeover has come just months after Business Secretary Peter Mandelson announced that he would back the company into not allowing the takeover; but after a failed bid the refreshed and higher offer has seen the company agree to a provisional deal amid huge criticism. With the announcement of the deal came the two major pieces of news that have caused the most controversy regarding this deal. The news that of the 5500 jobs that Cadbury provides to the British market, a number are at risk of being cut in the name of efficiency and saving money. Kraft are well known for streamlining their companies and the same is expected to happen to Cadbury.

The further announcement that has caused even more issues is that the Royal Bank of Scotland (which is 84 percent taxpayer owned) has agreed to loan Kraft Foods £630 million out of a total of £7 billion that the company is borrowing to pay for the deal.

The British taxpayer and in particular the other parties have shown a huge amount of disgust at the news of the deal with Nick Clegg the most prominent outspoken critic of the fiasco. His comments have questioned how a foreign company has been able to get credit so readily when it has been so difficult for British companies to get any money to invest in the market. He has also questioned how a company that is majority taxpayer owned can what will ultimately result in an increase in unemployment.

His complaints are not unfounded and the government needs to answer to the critics, however the move by the government will create potential money for the British market. From a business mind it makes common sense but to the British public it’s an atrocity. The government is endorsing job cuts and the loss of the British heritage for Cadbury. Economically it makes sense but for a government currently under fire the social impact will be tremendous.

What bothers me the most though is not only that Britain will lose its heritage and lose a product that is so British it puts Churchill and the Bulldog to shame, it is the potential poisoning of the Cadbury taste that will occur once the American company takes over and pours some of what they use in Milka or Hershey chocolate into the mix. Cadbury chocolate is what we British love and what we deserve; no American alternative will suffice.

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