Do as I say at The Guardian, not as I do

Isn’t this a nice piece of the curtains matching the carpet?

The Guardian is facing calls to return the furlough cash it has claimed during the pandemic after the newspaper criticised the government’s support for the salary bills of billionaire tax exiles.

Andrew Bridgen, a Tory MP, said it was a “huge embarrassment” for the publisher to claim up to £100,000 when “other newspaper groups have not taken it”. “Given [that] they are such harsh critics of the government and its policies, they seem to have been very keen to exploit this one for their own benefit,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.

The Telegraph furloughed 90 staff in April but repaid the support in June. News UK, which owns The Times, has not used taxpayer support.

The Scott Trust, which controls The Guardian, recorded in 2019 its first operating profit for 21 years. Last year the trust valued its endowment at £1 billion, including a £134.8 million cash operating reserve. Last week the paper revealed that the furlough scheme had been used by the tax exiles Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Guy Hands.

A Guardian spokesman said that it had nothing to add to previous comments on furlough. In June Kath Viner, the editor, denied feeling “queasy” about using taxpayer support and told BBC Radio 4 that the scheme was designed “to keep people employed so I think it’s reasonable to follow it”.

10 thoughts on “Do as I say at The Guardian, not as I do”

  1. Will they also be following the law and taking on all their freelancers as full employees with fully-funded pensions and holidays?

  2. An operating profit, an endowment of £1 billion, and £135 million cash operating reserve.

    Could someone who knows about this stuff tell me whether that means the Guardian can keep going? I always thought that they were going downhill rapidly, and that we would hear about their financial situation getting steadily worse and then bankruptcy. That gave me great comfort. Has anything changed?

  3. The Guardian gets subsidised by the taxpayer in the form of recruitment advertising.

    If Boris had a backbone he’d ensure there was a website called something like jobs.gov.uk, with all public sector jobs advertised there, and no public body given funding to advertise anywhere else.

    The lamentations would dominate the news agenda for a week.

  4. CJNerd – yup

    Stick a data feed up and someone will whip up a website helping applicants sort/track/etc for free (well, other than the usual adds).

    Easy wins like this never seem to be taken

  5. isp001,
    I wasn’t thinking of just a data feed with third-party aggregators.

    I was thinking more along the likes of buying job site software off the shelf, then telling all public-sector HR managers: “Here’s your logon to jobs.gov.uk. Any vacancies you have, put them on there. And by the way, we’re reducing your budget by £X, where £X is how much you spent on external advertising last year”.

  6. If they made a profit last year it can only have been from govt money. Advertising revenue was very heavily weighted towards govt buying

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