Wash your (golf) balls
A petition to strip Richard Branson of his knighthood goes viral after his bailout request. The 69-year-old billionaire has requested the United Kingdom government to help his Virgin Atlantic airline by providing his company a bailout amounting to $620 million. This request comes as a severe shock to the country’s citizens since he hasn’t paid a single penny in taxes for the last 14 years.
Due to his bailout request, a Change.org petition has been initiated which essentially aims to strip the business magnate of his knighthood. Branson was knighted by the Queen in March of 2000 at Buckingham Palace for his significant contribution towards the field of enriching himself!
As of now, the online petition, which says in its description that Branson is a disgrace to the UK, has garnered more than 575,000 signatures.
Last month, Branson came under a ton of scrutiny when it was announced that Virgin Atlantic’s employees were being furloughed for a period of about eight weeks and are not going to get paid until the airline resumes its operations. Branson, who has a net worth of about $4.2 billion, had agreed to put his $80 million Necker Island as collateral to keep his company running.
Notably, Virgin Atlantic isn’t fully owned by Branson as the US-based Delta Airlines holds a 49 percent stake in the struggling company. The petition targeting Branson argues that what he is trying to get away with by requesting a bailout is simply wrong because the UK government cannot help a firm that is partially owned by an American corporation. In 2016, Branson and his Virgin Group’s healthcare division called ‘Virgin Care’ was heavily bashed by the United Kingdom’s news media outlets and prominent Celebrities because of a dispute that had emerged between Virgin and the National Health Service. The disagreement began when Virgin lost a contract worth $82 million to operate children’s services in Surrey, a county in South East England. At the time, the Virgin Group said that it truly believes there are various issues in the procurement procedure.
In 2017, the National Health Service in England ultimately decided to settle the lawsuit by paying Virgin Care an amount that hasn’t been disclosed to the public [Believed to be £2million]. Shortly after the NHS lawsuit was settled, Richard Branson sent a tweet from his personal twitter account, saying that he doesn’t believe materialistic stuff brings happiness. Former Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, replied to that tweet by advising Branson to give NHS England its money back.
Numerous social media users are also irritated by Branson over his shady taxation practices. One such irritated user said that the UK government should not help the billionaire in any way because neither he nor his company is based in the United Kingdom.
While another furious user commented that Branson has enjoyed quite a flamboyant lifestyle until now by avoiding taxes on almost every single thing. So now, he should take some money out of his $4.2 billion fortune and put those funds in Virgin Atlantic.