Victoria Beckham has faced backlash for using the UK government’s job retention scheme to pay the wages of furloughed staff during the coronavirus crisis. Despite having a family fortune estimated at £335 million, Beckham has been accused of using taxpayers’ money. While the fashion industry has received negative attention during this crisis, other industries have largely avoided public scrutiny.
Approximately 30 employees at Beckham’s fashion company have been placed on furlough, with the government covering 80% of their salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Reports suggest that Beckham is voluntarily contributing the remaining 20% of their wages, even though she is not legally obligated to do so.
The furloughed staff includes workers from Beckham’s temporarily closed Mayfair store, as well as employees in marketing and customer services. It is important to note that the company has been operating at a loss in recent years and has not made a profit since its establishment in 2008.
Beckham’s decision to utilize the job retention scheme has drawn criticism from TV commentator Piers Morgan, who referred to it as a “loss-making vanity project.” This led to an on-air disagreement between Morgan and co-host Susanna Reid, with Reid defending the move as a means to protect jobs.
In the midst of the pandemic, where businesses in various industries are facing financial challenges, the use of government funds by wealthy individuals like Beckham has sparked a debate on the ethics of such actions. Critics argue that individuals with significant personal wealth should be able to support their employees without relying on taxpayer money.
As the fashion industry continues to grapple with the impact of the coronavirus crisis, it is crucial for brands and public figures to carefully consider their actions and the potential ramifications. Maintaining transparency and ethical practices will be essential in gaining public trust and support during these challenging times.