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”.