Gransnet forums

News & politics

A whip-round for Richard Branson?

(64 Posts)
MawB Tue 21-Apr-20 08:49:39

Sir Richard Branson has said he will mortgage his private Caribbean island to raise money to help his Virgin Group empire, as he pleaded with the UK government to step in and save his Virgin Atlantic airline from collapse.
Branson, who is the UK’s seventh richest person with an estimated £4.7bn fortune, and has lived tax-free on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands for the last 14 years, promised in a public blogpost on Monday that he would “raise as much money against the island as possible to save as many jobs as possible ”.
Branson, 69, made the pledge as he tried to convince the government to give his airline a £500m loan to help it through the “devastating impact this pandemic continues to have
hmm hmm <thinking...>
While on the one hand I suppose yet again jobs will be at risk, on the other, he has made a very comfortable living out of Virgin over the years, so my sympathy is hardly going to be undiluted.
I believe I read yesterday that Denmark has refused to bail out companies registered in tax havens.
That sounds more like it.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 21-Apr-20 08:53:10

Absolutely maw

Those not paying the correct amount of tax to the U.K. government should not expect assistance from the tax payers who pay every penny due.

This of course also includes those people resident and self employed in the U.K. but suppress (don’t declare) their full earnings.

Now any payments will be based on that declared. Quite correct!

Hetty58 Tue 21-Apr-20 08:55:17

I'd put him at the end of a very long list of priorities.

If he really wants to save his airline he should 'cut his cloth' accordingly. Sell the island and live in more modest accommodation perhaps?

vampirequeen Tue 21-Apr-20 08:55:50

He has £4.7billion yet he wants to 'borrow' £500K. Why can't he fund it out of his money? After all he's made a lot of it at the expense of the British taxpayer. I thought the buck stopped with the company owner or is that only small businesses?

Smileless2012 Tue 21-Apr-20 08:56:13

"Now any payments will be based on that declared" as it should be Whitewavemark.

I find it difficult to have any sympathy for him at all Maw, he's lucky to have an island to mortgage!!

vampirequeen Tue 21-Apr-20 09:06:02

Sorry should have put £500million not £500K

GrannyGravy13 Tue 21-Apr-20 09:07:25

Richard Bransons Virgin Group only own 20% of Virgin Atlantic, the rest is owned by Delta Airlines and Air France KLM So why on earth should the British Government bail /lend Virgin anything? Look to the Governments of the majority shareholders, or is the U.K. a soft touch?

Grandad1943 Tue 21-Apr-20 09:11:45

One solution could be for the British Government to wait for Virgin Atlantic to fall into administration and then for the state to take over the ownership as a going concern at its then valuation.

In the above the staff would retain employment, the creditors would be paid, avoiding heavy financial loss to them, but the owners and shareholders get nothing or at best very little.

The Government could then re-float the airline onto the stock market when this air transport crisis is over.


ExD Tue 21-Apr-20 09:12:53

If you choose to live in a tax haven to avoid uk taxes, you can't expect a bail put fromthe people who have paid their uk taxes all their working lives!

TwiceAsNice Tue 21-Apr-20 09:18:21

People like him are just TOO entitled! I’m not impressed with Victoria Beckham either worth hundreds of millions but asking the government to pay her staff. When will these super rich pay their dues and manage their money in the same way ordinary people have too. Let’s try and save all the little hardworking businesses who deserve it

GrannyGravy13 Tue 21-Apr-20 09:27:33

Virgin Australia has gone into voluntary administration after the Australian Government did not give them the $1.4 billion bail out they asked for.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 21-Apr-20 09:28:26

Frankly I would rather give a pay rise to all the essential workers who have toiled for years on little income, whilst still paying every penny of tax due, if they earn sufficient.

Grandad1943 Tue 21-Apr-20 09:29:42

Well, in this crisis for many the "pigeons have come home to roost".

Small businesses especially very often do not declare large amounts of their income in yearly returns so as to avoid tax. However, the government crisis support scheme for business is based on last years declared income to Companies House and the tax authorities

So that builder or gardener who said he/she would do the job cheaper for "cash in hand" is now very much "up the swanny" and I have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever.

Iam64 Tue 21-Apr-20 09:30:54

Grandad - good idea

Everyone else (and Grandad) well said. Honestly, the nerve of this man.

Davidhs Tue 21-Apr-20 09:58:02

Branson offering to mortgage the island is just a PR stunt he is not likely to actually do it. The finances of the “Virgin” brand are highly complex with all sorts of holding companies in tax havens, you can be sure it will be the small investors and unsecured creditors that loose out.

He will most likely sacrifice Virgin Australia to save the rest, China would love to take that over at a knockdown price but maybe it will get absorbed into Qantas to save jobs. The £4.7bn would save Virgin Australia but he would still have a loss making airline.

Jillybird Tue 21-Apr-20 09:59:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MBM Tue 21-Apr-20 10:00:06

Virgin Bank , he should ask them to bail him out.
I definitely don’t want my Tax going to help the idle rich Beckham & Co
It’s the small business that should be helped not the ones in Tax exile or avoidance payers of tax investing in off shore companies.

Oldwoman70 Tue 21-Apr-20 10:03:58

I gather he has now said that his money is all tied up in his businesses and he doesn't have that much cash, also he moved to his island because he loves it there and not to avoid paying tax in UK hmm (oh look a pig has just flown past my window)

marpau Tue 21-Apr-20 10:05:51

Some years ago when british airways were in trouble and looking for help Richard Branson said the government should not help. He thought they should go bust as Virgin would take over the routes and the travelling public would not suffer. He also sued the government and received a very large payout.

polnan Tue 21-Apr-20 10:13:59


now,, at last someone saying what I have been thinking. well sort of..
this clapping for the NHS (NHS WORKERS) yes, lovely morale boosting

but I am waiting to hear that they are all getting a good pay increase,, and the "management" taking a pay cut..

similarly, most of the low paid wage earners.. now they are real EARNERS! another rant of mine.... so many of the top people , described as being paid "earnings" do they like as heck, earn!

Richard Branson said on tv he went to his island cos he loves it, not to escape British taxes....

no sympathy...

Doodledog Tue 21-Apr-20 10:29:28

In normal circumstances, if Mr and Mrs Bloggs fall on hard times, most of their savings have to be spent before they can claim benefits, even when they have paid tax and NI all their lives. Why should it be different now? Give him £97 a week after he has spent all but £16k of his money, assuming he has enough contributions to qualify.

sazz1 Tue 21-Apr-20 10:31:28

I've met Richard Branson when he gave a press conference at a large house years ago. I was working as a waitress for the catering team. He invited all the team into the room, poured us all a drink whatever we wanted, told us all to get a plate and help ourselves to the buffet. And at the end of the night gave us all a bottle of wine to take home and a plateful of food. We had cavier smoked salmon everything. He could have got a refund on the wine that was left but gave it to us. Really nice person. Feel sorry he's in financial trouble.

Happygirl79 Tue 21-Apr-20 10:32:04

If he is not paying UK tax then he should not be looking to us for help
He reminds me of Trump in his heyday
He effectively got a 20 year tax break in the US
I believe?

annifrance Tue 21-Apr-20 10:36:13

Good posts Grandad and polnan.

Doodledog Tue 21-Apr-20 10:38:19

Refund on the wine? Didn't he get it from Virgin Wines? grin.

Yes, he's good at PR and pushing the 'decent bloke' image, but don't forget that he's the one who threatened to sue the NHS when he lost a private medicine contract, and took a cut from charitable donations.