Who funds Victoria Beckham’s staff layoffs? Guess you know the answer… and bet you don’t like it
Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Beckham’s eponymous fashion label has shuttered its flagship Hong Kong store, and Beckham has furloughed some 30 staff back at home. £1,500 dresses are, understandably, not classed as an ‘essential’ item. Though British tabloids report that Beckham has taken a pay cut, the one-time pop megastar has been flayed alive on social media for using taxpayer money to pay her temporarily laid off employees.
Under a UK government scheme, the taxpayers are supposed to cover 80 percent of these workers’ wages, with Beckham voluntarily chipping in the rest.
Brits on social media were livid, especially given that Beckham and her husband, former footballer David, recently splashed out on a £20 million Miami penthouse, a small dent out of her reported £335 million fortune.
The Beckhams have a combined wealth of £335m but #VictoriaBeckham furloughed 30 employees. If you can spend £31m on an apartment in Miami & have a £1.5m handbag collection then you certainly can afford to pay 30 people. Absolutely disgraceful— amit sohal (@amitsinghsohal) April 19, 2020
When I seen Victoria Beckham trending I was expecting it to say she’s got Covid19 but nah she’s making the government pay her staff despite her net worth of £335million, just like all the other Millionaires in this country doing the same but won’t spend a penny on their staff— 𝒲𝒾𝓁𝓁𝒾𝒶𝓂 ♛ (@W1LL1AMRFC) April 19, 2020
Buoyed by the news that we will now be paying the wages of 30 staff working for Victoria Beckham’s fashion business - a business/hobby/tax write-off that has made losses in every one of its 12 years. She bought a £17m property in Miami a couple of weeks ago.— Jon Wilson (@jonnywils) April 19, 2020
Even politicians got involved. “It is extremely regrettable that a prominent figure in the fashion world has taken this step, given the many selfless acts we are seeing across the country every single day,” Tory MP Tom Hunt told the Sun. “At a time when millions are struggling, it would be good if multi-millionaires helped the country rather than seeking to profit from hard-pressed taxpayers,” fellow Tory Robert Halfon told the Daily Mail.
True to her 1990s persona, Posh Spice is a woman of refined taste. According to the tabloid gossip mill, she is rumored to have a collection of Birkin handbags worth between £10,000 and £80,000 each, and reportedly spent upwards of £100,000 for her eldest son Brooklyn’s 21st birthday party.
Despite her family’s lavish lifestyle, Beckham’s fashion label has never turned a profit. In 2018, the brand suffered a smashing £12.3 million loss.
To griping taxpayers on social media, the idea of using government money to prop up a multi-millionaire’s floundering business is outrageous. Many of them will likely be asking the same question Posh herself crooned in 1996: “who do you think you are?”
To be fair, Victoria Beckham is not the only millionaire to lean on the government during the coronavirus shutdown. Shareholders in retail giant Tesco – though less publicly known than Beckham – were paid a handsome dividend of £635 million this month, despite the company claiming a similarly massive tax break from the government. Moreover, Tesco’s offerings – including prized commodities like hand sanitizer and toilet paper – have been in higher demand than Beckham’s dresses, and the company recorded a surge in sales since the beginning of March.
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