Richard Branson’s Virgin airlines needs a bailout fast. He has pleaded with the UK government, but the latter is not too keen on granting taxpayers money to a billionaire who has moved to a private island in the Caribbean where he pays 0 income tax.
In a rather strange twist, it is now the leftwing Guardian that is sticking the knife in.
Whereas Branson is trying to plead with the UK government of Prime Minister Johnson to at least grant him 500 million pounds to already stave off bankruptcy for his Virgin Atlantic group, an op-ed in the newspaper stated today:
Ultimately, it’s hard to see Branson as anything other than the classic “billionaire philanthropist” (is there any other kind of billionaire?) who declines to accept that public finances would be in rather better shape if people like them contributed their fair share. Philanthropy starts with paying tax. With the best will in the world, it isn’t enough to imply the only reason you operate out of a tax haven is because you like the weather.
It is a fair point, but of course if Virgin Atlantic goes bust, the employees will be out of a job and the British taxpayer will have to pay for their benefits anyway, and Richard Branson…. will still be a billionaire.
Perhaps it is time for the entertainment industry (and the media as well) to treat there billionaires a bit differently. I remember reading this past week that Mr Jeff Bezos has seen his personal fortune increase by 24 billion since the corona lockdown as Americans are shopping on Amazon like crazy. Might be a nice gesture that he should prop up US hospitals in return. Just a thought.