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Apolitical English fashion designer Victoria Beckham is facing backlash over her decision to “furlough” dozens of employees despite being worth hundreds of millions.
“The former Spice Girl, whose handbag collection alone is thought to be worth £1.5 million, is to claim what could amount to tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to pay a quarter of her employees under the Government’s job retention scheme,” the Daily Mail reported Sunday.
She’s able to do this thanks to a “furlough scheme” instituted by U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak that “will pay up to 80 percent of [furloughed] people’s wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month” for a period not to exceed three months, as reported by Wired magazine.
Beckham has opted to take advantage of this scheme, and in doing so she’s provoked an intense backlash, with noted British commentator Piers Morgan leading the pack.
Look (*Language warning):
Sorry, but this makes me puke. If you care this much about the NHS, @victoriabeckham – then why are you taking taxpayer money the NHS desperately needs – and you DON’T need – to furlough your staff & prop up your failing business? https://t.co/pTVaODxk5V
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 19, 2020
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
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
Really disappointed in Victoria Beckham opting to use taxpayer money to pay her staff. She’s a multi-millionaire who has got where she is thanks to tax paying loyal fans. Posh Spice but definitely not Classy. #VictoriaBeckham
— Vitt2TsnoC, Thanks (@Vitt2tsnoc) April 19, 2020
Next up, assholes of the day are #Victoriabeckham and #davidbeckham with a combined net worth of roughly £700 million have furloughed 30 staff of Victoria’s fashion line….on the government. Fuck me. The greed and audacity of these people.
— Laura Nadia Hunt (@LauraNadiaHunt) April 19, 2020
Victoria Beckham with a wealth of over £350 million has put 30 of her fashion range staff on furloughed pay using tax payers money.
When I found out I was speechless, a bit like when she was “singing” in the Spice Girls…
— The Tears of a Clown (@Modmuffin) April 19, 2020
Never liked your clothes either. They suck as much as your singing voice, your social climbing, and your desperation to have a daughter. Materialistic witch. #VictoriaBeckham
— Heather Gray (@studioeverglow) April 19, 2020
Greedy #VictoriaBeckham! I have 1% of what she has & despite the entertainment industry being completely wiped out, with not a penny coming into our agencies for clients in over 6 weeks – I have not furloughed my @UrbanAssociates team & am paying them from my own pocket.Bad move. pic.twitter.com/DDNGRBbdrR
— Melanie Blake (@MelanieBlakeUK) April 19, 2020
Oh Carole please don’t get me started.. we have people suffering with no wage waiting on universal credit with nothing..then #victoriabeckham plus others take tax payers money when they have more than enough to pay her staff,
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer 😡🖕to VB
— Whatevernext in Wales. 🏴 (@Bevvym10) April 19, 2020
Instead of greedy #VictoriaBeckham taking money away from taxpayers she should be paying her staff to make scrubs for the NHS and donating them for free. It would make up for some of the taxes that she and her greedy arse husband have avoided paying in their time.
— Sara (@Mabel_Mouse_) April 19, 2020
At the core of their complaint is Beckham’s estimated net worth of £360 million ($450 million). That someone so wealthy would use up taxpayer funds comes off as unseemly to them, especially when weighed against some of her recent purchases.
“David and Victoria Beckham, two of the globe’s most famous citizens, have purchased a full-floor condo in one of Miami’s most exclusive and eye-catching condominiums,” Variety magazine reported at the beginning of the mouth.
“The futuristic, 62-story condo tower known as One Thousand Museum — designed by the late, Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid — is prominent in the downtown Miami skyline. Although the acquisition was initiated a few months ago, Mansion Global revealed that the deal didn’t formally close until the first week of April, as detailed in a press release from the developers.”
The pair reportedly paid $24 million for the condo.
See a tour of the lavish condo below:
However, defenders of Beckham argue that her personal wealth and personal purchases should not be used to judge her business decisions.
“To all of the people hating on #VictoriaBeckham because she is using the furlough scheme, why shouldn’t she use it?” one defender wrote. “She has every right to. Why should she pay her workers from her own pocket? People are slagging her without knowing the full story. No surprise there.”
After all, the “scheme” reportedly doesn’t forbid the wealthy from taking part.
But by the same token, is it really worth it for the British government to subsidize a company that reportedly hasn’t earned a profit since it launched in 2008?
“In 2018, it suffered losses of £12.3 million. The year before that, Mrs Beckham lost £10.3 million, but the business was propped up by her 44-year-old husband,” the Daily Mail noted.
“Despite the clearly unprofitable business model, Mrs Beckham is determined to keep the label going. And the business’s poor performance hasn’t stopped her and David from living an ostentatious lifestyle, with much of it flaunted to their fans via social media.”
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