27 June 2017 | 10 °C

What's With The Big Issue?

By Megan Last edited 140 months ago
What's With The Big Issue?
big issue.jpg

What's with The Big Issue? The other week I saw a seller giving a guy his mobile number. I thought you had to be homeless to sell it. Not that I want to, though —Tom

Actually, you don’t have to be homeless to hawk The Big Issue, but you do need to prove you are at least “at risk” of homelessness, though we’re not really sure what that means. Contrary to what you might think, salespeople are not employees of The Big Issue magazine or The Big Issue Foundation. They purchase copies wholesale and sell to the public at the cover price of £1.40, keeping the difference. Basically, they’re freelancers, and if you’ve ever been freelance, you know that as long as you get the job done, you can do whatever the hell else you want. This is the general philosophy of The Big Issue, to inspire self-reliance in the homeless without passing judgement on them. In reference to vendors’ income, their web site says, “The Big Issue believes that all people must take responsibility for themselves, and homeless people have as much right to spend their earnings as they wish as anyone else.” They probably aren’t only talking about mobile phones here, but you get the point. The Independent claims salesman Richard Yappaw makes £10,000 off The Big Issue, which is enough to pay for this Londonista’s crap pay-as-you-go for a long time. And yes, The Big Issue sellers do have to pay tax on their revenue as well.

If you would like to volunteer for The Big Issue Foundation, please see their website.

To get your own question answered, email asklondonist(at)gmail(dot)com

Last Updated 07 October 2005