'The A team' | Ed Sheeran won't furlough staff at his firm

Ed Sheeran won't furlough staff at his firm

The current pandemic has seen a number of employers take drastic measures to maintain staff headcounts and keep businesses afloat.

For example, over the past month US department store Macy’s chose to furlough the majority of its staff members, while celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay decided to let 500 of his employees go.

Elsewhere, CEO of media company BuzzFeed, Jonah Peretti, revealed that he would not take home his six-figure salary until the current pandemic blows over.

It has since been announced that singer Ed Sheeran will be doing whatever it takes to keep his staff employed during the current crisis, and has refused to furlough his staff under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, reported Metro.

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Sheeran is a part owner of Notting Hill-based restaurant and bar, Bertie Blossoms, which he owns alongside Manager Stuart Camp. Despite the restaurant having to close its doors last month following the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s instruction for all non-essential businesses to close their doors, Sheeran has chosen not to furlough his staff.

While the business does have the option of taking up the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, where employees can be paid up to 80% of their wage thanks to an HMRC grant, it seems Bertie Blossoms will not be taking up the offer.

A representative for Sheeran told The Sun: “The business, co-owned by Ed Sheeran and Stuart Camp, is not, and will not, be accessing any Government scheme of any kind, including furloughing, grants, loans and so on.”

According to The Daily Mail, the famous singer, who is worth £170million, is said to be using his personal wealth to support his business.

This news comes as fashion designer and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham was heavily criticised after she chose to furlough her staff. Beckham was slammed for making the decision to use taxpayer’s money to support her staff and business, despite reportedly having millions to her name.

Recent statistics have found that more than seven in ten UK firms have furloughed staff, according to a British Chambers of Commerce survey, indicating that many employers are choosing to go down this route to ensure staff are not laid off during this uncertain time.

However, while this may be the case, many businesses that have furloughed their employees have come under scrutiny for paying their execs millions. In fact, some FTSE 100 firms that have furloughed staff under the Government’s scheme paid their chief execs an average of £3.6million per year before the pandemic hit, a new report found.

Research from thinktank The High Pay Centre, claimed that, from April 22, 2020, the 18 organisations who stated they would use the scheme had spent a combined figure of £321million on chief executive pay over the last five years.

The report said: “In these circumstances, it is highly questionable whether companies in receipt of public money should continue to disproportionately channel private gains to a small number of often very rich people, in the form of very high chief executive pay and dividend payments.

“It is right to question the resilience of companies that have lavished billions on shareholders and executives in recent years, but now depend on public funding to cover their costs throughout what will hopefully be a brief pause in economic life,” the report added.

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Comments (1)

  • Ben
    Wed, 29 Apr 2020 2:08pm BST
    Would it be OK for Ed, or indeed Victoria Beckham, to use their respective company's money for their own personal gain? If not, why is it OK or even expected for them to use their own personal money for company gain?

    The government furlough scheme is there to support businesses and is absolutely reasonable to be used for this reason, regardless of a business owner's personal wealth.

    Failing to do so could ultimately jeopardise the future success of the business and the only deciding question should be around the business' wealth. Can this business afford to pay their staff or is it relying on Ed?

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