In Brief

Richard Branson criticised for fresh bailout request

Controversial billionaire told to draw on his own fortune to save airlines

Richard Branson has claimed that his airlines will collapse without government cash.

Branson, described by The Guardian as “the UK’s seventh richest person with an estimated £4.7bn fortune,” has asked the government to give his airline a £500m bailout to help it through the “devastating impact” of the coronavirus pandemic on his Virgin carriers.

In a blogpost yesterday, he wrote: “The reality of this unprecedented crisis is that many airlines around the world need government support and many have already received it.”

He said he is willing to put his private Caribbean island up as collateral, as he promised to “raise as much money against the island as possible to save as many jobs as possible”.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazine. Start your trial subscription today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

However, the controversial billionaire has come under fire for requesting taxpayers’ cash, rather than using his own fortune to rescue the airlines.

Labour MP Diane Abbott tweeted that “Branson has not paid tax in this country for 14 years. On no account should he get a taxpayer bailout, loan or otherwise.”

Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour party, tweeted: “Richard flog your private island and pay your staff, we are in unprecedented times here. Now is the time your staff need support after making mountains of cash for the company.”

Luke Hildyard, of the High Pay Centre, said: “At a time when the government is struggling to fund the NHS and support low and middle income earners hit by the economic shutdown, it would be unthinkable to commit hundreds of millions of pounds to an effective bailout for billionaire Richard Branson.”

However, rejecting the idea that he should draw on his significant personal wealth rather seeking government support, Branson said: “I’ve seen lots of comments about my net worth – but that is calculated on the value of Virgin businesses around the world before this crisis, not sitting as cash in a bank account ready to withdraw.”

Recommended

China General Nuclear: banned from Britain?
David Cameron and Xi Jinping
In Focus

China General Nuclear: banned from Britain?

‘Britain’s back in business!’
Today's newspaper front pages
Today’s newspapers

‘Britain’s back in business!’

‘Covid conspiracy theorists are not necessarily stupid – they’re scared’
Anti-lockdown protest in London
Instant Opinion

‘Covid conspiracy theorists are not necessarily stupid – they’re scared’

Why England is dropping isolation for EU and US tourists
Border Force staff
Behind the scenes

Why England is dropping isolation for EU and US tourists

Popular articles

Why your AstraZeneca vaccine may mean no European holidays
Boris Johnson receives his second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine
Getting to grips with . . .

Why your AstraZeneca vaccine may mean no European holidays

What next as homes raided in search for Hancock affair whistle-blower?
Matt Hancock leaving No. 10 with Gina Coladangelo in May 2020
The latest on . . .

What next as homes raided in search for Hancock affair whistle-blower?

Dildo-wielding rainbow monkey booked for kids’ reading event
A rainbow monkey
Tall Tales

Dildo-wielding rainbow monkey booked for kids’ reading event

The Week Footer Banner