Simon Cowell has urged celebrities to “rise to the challenge” when it comes to paying their employees, rather than accessing taxpayer-funded furloughing schemes.
Under the Job Retention Scheme that came into effect in the UK on Monday, employers can claim for a grant that covers up to 80 per cent of their workers' wages (with the intention that the remaining 20 per cent is met by the company, where possible).
But the 60-year-old TV personality has said he’ll continue to pay 50 full time staff who work at his Syco production company.
He told The Sun last month:
I don’t like celebrities telling people what to do, and I know this is a hugely difficult time for so many — worries about family, health, jobs, paying the mortgage and feeding their family are at the forefront of people's minds.
But there are still other people in business and in entertainment with resources available, so today it's those people I'm urging to rise to this enormous challenge.
Similarly, Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne tweeted:
Earlier this month, Richard Branson asked for government financial support to help keep his airline Virgin Atlantic afloat.
The 69-year-old multi-billionaire wrote in a letter to Virgin Atlantic staff:
We will need government support in the face of the severe uncertainty surrounding travel today and not knowing how long the planes will be grounded for. The reality of this unprecedented crisis is that many airlines around the world need government support and many have already received it.
Without it there won’t be any competition left and hundreds of thousands more jobs will be lost, along with critical connectivity and huge economic value.
Branson even offered his luxury island resort, Necker Island, as collateral for the loan.
Similarly, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham – who has a reported £350m net worth – came under fire for furloughing 25 members of staff, shortly after buying a £17m mansion.
The move prompted many to ask – just like the Spice Girls song – "Who Do You Think You Are?"