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Virgin Atlantic Files for Bankruptcy

From my perspective, I don’t think there‘s much of an issue of being envious about when a multi billionaire makes his first port of call the British tax payer when his train set is getting in trouble and he want’s £600M of public funds to fix it.

Branson does portray this nice guy attitude as part of his PR and yet even a cursory look at the business practices used by companies using his brand and where he usually has a controlling interest shows an organisation using what I consider to be dubious methods to extract money from the gullible public.

In my instance for example, I use virgin broadband while I’m surfing places like here. My monthly bill from virgin has been running at close to £70 a month for quite some time. That includes a phone line which you used to require for the internet and their cheaper tv package.

I was originally just a few years ago paying around £34 for the same package. When I agreed to the original package, the broadband, phone and tv were each separate components that I agreed to. Virgin then proceed to up the ante price wise on each component without notifying me.

The upshot is that if you haven’t been paying too much attention to what’s going on, you find that you are now a year or two later paying much more than you originally agreed. It’s a bit like saying, here’s my bank details, please help yourself.

Finally deciding to take a half an hour to sort this out and reduce my bill, I contact virgin and tell them that I want to reduce my bill and I’m doing that by cancelling the phone and tv components of my bill. They inform me that they are not components but are just part of “my package.”

Their point is that there isn’t an individual price attached to those components that I can just cancel. My response is, well there was when I agreed them in the first place but now, virgin are saying it’s all part of your “package” deal with us and that’s that!

My response is, well that’s a change you didn’t inform me of but anyway, I still don’t want the tv part of it or the phone bit of it so what are you going to do about it?

Eventually, we get to a situation where they will take those elements off the bill after they have squeezed another months fee’s out of me for them for each part of the cancellation. That brings my bill down to £49. I query this further and they haven’t taken the phone bit of it off. So I tell them again that I don’t want that and that brings my bill down to £42 just for the broadband.

That’s still top dollar for a broadband package and I’m only on their basic one. So I’m now looking around for a decent replacement to swap over to. I think the top end of twenty quid or even something in the low thirties is plenty to pay for broadband at home.

Afterwards, I find that virgin are offering the broadband package I’m on to new customers for £24 a month. I also find out that despite my cancelling the phone part of my deal, it hasn’t actually been cancelled so I’m still paying £49 a month.

Not even the equivalent of a grain of sand in the scheme of things generally but when you consider that if every virgin customer experiences similar issues with virgin, you are probably looking at a large pile of sand.

As far as I‘m concerned, his airline can take it’s chances like every other airline and if it’s needs a bailout, it’s multi billionaire controlling shareholder should use his money to sort his airline out.

Bailouts for major commercial concerns is just socialism for the rich. Watch people like Branson throw their hands up in horror and shout heaven (Sorry, I really meant the British tax payer ones) forbid that we might give some extra public money to the poor but when their cash cows need it, despite their enormous personal wealth, the pubic purse is their first phone call!
Bin the lot! Move to a decent mobile provider for your broadband.

As soon as my contract with the Murdochs is up, I'm getting rid of my landline and fixed broadband and moving to a Three, unlimited broadband over 4G for under £25 a month. If we go away for a weekend, I can take it with us too! No downside.


The days of fixed telecomms are firmly numbered.
 
Oh, totally agreed. Dinosaur management, as personified by the IT Director at the last company I worked for directly. It was all about his own little fiefdom, not what was technologically possible. He just wanted to strut around the office lording it over his staff.

IT allows you better than anything else to monitor people's output - actually down to the keystroke.

On the flip side, a big worry for some people as individuals has been the attitude to work - that being at home would be distracting. I've worked at home, pretty much alone, for the last six years. A lot of people in that time asked me how I stayed motivated. The response was a simple one: if I didn't work, pretty shortly thereafter the mortgage stopped getting paid.

Having been forced to work from home in recent months, many others have now also realised this. Quite a number of friends have gone from "I could never work like you" to "I never want to go back to the office five days a week".

And, it'll be bloody hard for any company to suddenly insist on that again, having proven it's not necessary. In fact, it'll be bloody hard to retain staff if other companies operate a more enlightened policy.

All good news, as far as I'm concerned. It'll allow better family cohesion, there'll be (for many) no more 12-hour days for a 7.5-hour working day, and so on. I'd like to see the effects on air quality and local environment (stand fast the loss of fuel tax revenues).

Change has been forced, and we actually have the chance here to do something radical.
Being fortune enough to walk out of the back door and be in my workplace , I used to shudder listening to family tales of two hr. commutes into high flying jobs in London and Manchester...
When niece informed me she was paying circa £10k annually to commute to a mundane job in the Smoke.
I wondered how much of her salary and sanity was being expended simply to sit in an office with hundreds of others....

She now lives/works in Cheltenham.
( And spend her brass on bloody handbags instead!)
 
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My issue with the anti-Branson (or any other mega entrepreneur) pitch is that he got off his arrse and founded an airline. He generated a lot of well paid jobs and livelihoods from an idea. He was the one that made it happen.

Yes, he’s filthy rich and has chosen to (legally) manage his tax in a way that many abhor, but without him there would be no Virgin.

Without entrepreneurism there would be no business.
That's a good point. I don't like him (or what I see of him) but i wouldn't wish unemployment on his staff.
That said, with everything failing, the government will be asked 'Why did you bail out x company and not y company?'
 

endure

GCM
Bin the lot! Move to a decent mobile provider for your broadband.

As soon as my contract with the Murdochs is up, I'm getting rid of my landline and fixed broadband and moving to a Three, unlimited broadband over 4G for under £25 a month. If we go away for a weekend, I can take it with us too! No downside.

Unless you live in a large chunk of the country where the Three signal is pretty ropey. I live in a town and the download speed I can get with Three is about 3Mb/s
 
That's a good point. I don't like him (or what I see of him) but i wouldn't wish unemployment on his staff.
That said, with everything failing, the government will be asked 'Why did you bail out x company and not y company?'
I fear to go back to previous debates I. Here which got abusive.

My view is that the government should support businesses that were pre-covid profitable, making positive tax contributions and employing people. Particularly those in industries that have large barriers to entry and are of strategic value to the UK. That support should be by way of convertible debt; loans that convert into equity if not paid back.

The quid pro quo is that any business taking such funding has to restructure for the new market; in other words, they can’t use the money to avoid redundancies or to fund big salaries or dividends.

We could argue back that the airline industry isn’t strategic. Particularly Virgin who have never been a flag carrier. But what if BA and Virgin go? A whole industry would have been decimated. It wouldn’t come back; long haul out of the UK would be all by overseas airlines. Given that the UK is a global trading nation and that a very significant percentage of UK exports go in the holds of passenger aircraft, I think letting the airline industry go is madness.

Which is a very different position from suggesting that aircrew jobs and terms should be protected.
 
I fear to go back to previous debates I. Here which got abusive.

My view is that the government should support businesses that were pre-covid profitable, making positive tax contributions and employing people. Particularly those in industries that have large barriers to entry and are of strategic value to the UK. That support should be by way of convertible debt; loans that convert into equity if not paid back.

The quid pro quo is that any business taking such funding has to restructure for the new market; in other words, they can’t use the money to avoid redundancies or to fund big salaries or dividends.

We could argue back that the airline industry isn’t strategic. Particularly Virgin who have never been a flag carrier. But what if BA and Virgin go? A whole industry would have been decimated. It wouldn’t come back; long haul out of the UK would be all by overseas airlines. Given that the UK is a global trading nation and that a very significant percentage of UK exports go in the holds of passenger aircraft, I think letting the airline industry go is madness.

Which is a very different position from suggesting that aircrew jobs and terms should be protected.
A good point regarding freight, I have an account with DHL Express and run a retail business, the surcharge on sending shipments via Air has been eye watering to say the least, I could pull up my invoices and look at orders say to USA? Extra few pounds per consignment, add it all up and you've got a holiday saved up
 
The article you quote says it is:

" Branson rejects claims he moved to the British Virgin Islands for tax reasons. Irrespective of why he is there, his flagship airline Virgin Atlantic is based in the U.K. and has obligations there. “Our companies based in the U.K. pay tax in the U.K.,” Branson said. "

Companies are taxed on their profits. If they don't make any they don't pay any tax.
I know DM from 2013 but

 
Unless you live in a large chunk of the country where the Three signal is pretty ropey. I live in a town and the download speed I can get with Three is about 3Mb/s
Wow, that's pretty pants. I'm right out in the country and I'm hitting at least 10Mbps....often more. More than fast enough for 95% of what I need to do, and if we want to stream big movies? Start them off, then go make a cup of coffee and it's usually buffered enough to go right through.

My experience with Three is that I usually get a signal wherever I am, and often in places I didn't with either O2 or Vodafone. They are cheap, good when it works, but you deffo find out why they are cheap when there is a fault....they usually fix it quickly, but getting any info out of the Indian call centre is very painful.

I suppose the answer is that it depends what you are using it for. If it's just email and web browsing even 3Mbps will suffice for the majority of that. Having said that, I still remember 56k dial up! :-(
 
On the flip side, a big worry for some people as individuals has been the attitude to work - that being at home would be distracting. I've worked at home, pretty much alone, for the last six years. A lot of people in that time asked me how I stayed motivated. The response was a simple one: if I didn't work, pretty shortly thereafter the mortgage stopped getting paid.

Having been forced to work from home in recent months, many others have now also realised this. Quite a number of friends have gone from "I could never work like you" to "I never want to go back to the office five days a week".

And, it'll be bloody hard for any company to suddenly insist on that again, having proven it's not necessary. In fact, it'll be bloody hard to retain staff if other companies operate a more enlightened policy.

All good news, as far as I'm concerned. It'll allow better family cohesion, there'll be (for many) no more 12-hour days for a 7.5-hour working day, and so on. I'd like to see the effects on air quality and local environment (stand fast the loss of fuel tax revenues).
Working from home does require strict discipline though.... The 'Forever Available' culture has to be managed and if your work ethic is in the bracket of being on the workaholic side there's a tendency to get out of bed in the morning, switch on laptop straight away, make a cup of tea then sit in front of the screen for the next 12 hours or more in your boxers without moving at all, answering emails and typing out reports and guff.... the laptop's always on.... blinking at you... 'Ping' when another emails hits.... at least in the office it could be snapped shut and thrown in a locker and you'd HAVE TO go home or face being locked in once the cleaners leave....

I've been putting in a huge amount of hours recently and there's no sign of the In Tray getting any smaller... I'm barking mad and I've got to stop as it's become obsessive, all-consuming, to the detriment of other things I should be doing round the house...
 
I fear to go back to previous debates I. Here which got abusive.

My view is that the government should support businesses that were pre-covid profitable, making positive tax contributions and employing people. Particularly those in industries that have large barriers to entry and are of strategic value to the UK. That support should be by way of convertible debt; loans that convert into equity if not paid back.

The quid pro quo is that any business taking such funding has to restructure for the new market; in other words, they can’t use the money to avoid redundancies or to fund big salaries or dividends.

We could argue back that the airline industry isn’t strategic. Particularly Virgin who have never been a flag carrier. But what if BA and Virgin go? A whole industry would have been decimated. It wouldn’t come back; long haul out of the UK would be all by overseas airlines. Given that the UK is a global trading nation and that a very significant percentage of UK exports go in the holds of passenger aircraft, I think letting the airline industry go is madness.

Which is a very different position from suggesting that aircrew jobs and terms should be protected.
I'll agree, to a point. However, flying is all about the product. If you want to fly cheap, you do exactly that. You fly with a budget airline and get nothing. You expect to pay for everything and it's all set up to try to extract every extra penny from you. Think Ryanair, Easyjet, Norwegian....

Then, if you want to go in comfort, you pay for that too! Often big bucks and those airlines that do it well, do well (if you see what I mean?) Singapore, Qatar etc.....

I personally think that some airlines will be in significant trouble because they have tried to reap the benefits of both worlds and done it badly. Have you flown BA in recent years? Top dollar but budget airline service. Rude staff all thinking that you owe them for them letting you on their lovely aircraft.

I'd suggest that the airlines that do, what they do, in whichever sector they sit in, will be ok in the long term. Those that have been trying to take us for for a ride (no pun intended) will suffer.

Look out Willie Walsh, you could well be next!
 

endure

GCM
Wow, that's pretty pants. I'm right out in the country and I'm hitting at least 10Mbps....often more. More than fast enough for 95% of what I need to do, and if we want to stream big movies? Start them off, then go make a cup of coffee and it's usually buffered enough to go right through.

My experience with Three is that I usually get a signal wherever I am, and often in places I didn't with either O2 or Vodafone. They are cheap, good when it works, but you deffo find out why they are cheap when there is a fault....they usually fix it quickly, but getting any info out of the Indian call centre is very painful.

I suppose the answer is that it depends what you are using it for. If it's just email and web browsing even 3Mbps will suffice for the majority of that. Having said that, I still remember 56k dial up! :-(


I think Three offer good value and when they stick a 5G mast up at the end of my street I'll sign up like a shot :mrgreen:
 

endure

GCM
I know DM from 2013 but



" As a result, for 40 years, Branson and the Virgin empire have – albeit legally – limited their payment of British taxes to a minimal amount. Although these tax arrangements have been openly declared in his companies’ annual statements, he continues to minimise his payment of British taxes. "

That's one of the responsibilities of a limited company to its shareholders - to minimise expenses and maximise profits.

Do you have a pension? An ISA? You're minimising your payment of taxes.

He started a company that offers cheap loans to entrepreneurs so they can try and emulate his success


Branson via his various companies over time has provided employment for thousands of people. All of them pay taxes.

Here's a list of them past and present.

 
"I am providing electricity, heating and broadband to the company as well as free office space and giving up a room in my house that I pay a mortgage on. This leads to a direct and real saving the company makes on office space. In light of this I believe I am not due a pay cut, but should receive an increase in salary in line with my increased costs, both direct and indirect."

It doesn’t affect me in the slightest, I was off for 4 days at the start and haven’t missed a day since along with numerous others in the office the boss has however made it quite clear that anyone who doesn’t return to the office by September can use that as their resignation letter accepting redundancy
 
I'll agree, to a point. However, flying is all about the product. If you want to fly cheap, you do exactly that. You fly with a budget airline and get nothing. You expect to pay for everything and it's all set up to try to extract every extra penny from you. Think Ryanair, Easyjet, Norwegian....

Then, if you want to go in comfort, you pay for that too! Often big bucks and those airlines that do it well, do well (if you see what I mean?) Singapore, Qatar etc.....

I personally think that some airlines will be in significant trouble because they have tried to reap the benefits of both worlds and done it badly. Have you flown BA in recent years? Top dollar but budget airline service. Rude staff all thinking that you owe them for them letting you on their lovely aircraft.

I'd suggest that the airlines that do, what they do, in whichever sector they sit in, will be ok in the long term. Those that have been trying to take us for for a ride (no pun intended) will suffer.

Look out Willie Walsh, you could well be next!

Oh dear, now you’ve done it.....
 
I'll agree, to a point. However, flying is all about the product. If you want to fly cheap, you do exactly that. You fly with a budget airline and get nothing. You expect to pay for everything and it's all set up to try to extract every extra penny from you. Think Ryanair, Easyjet, Norwegian....

Then, if you want to go in comfort, you pay for that too! Often big bucks and those airlines that do it well, do well (if you see what I mean?) Singapore, Qatar etc.....

I personally think that some airlines will be in significant trouble because they have tried to reap the benefits of both worlds and done it badly. Have you flown BA in recent years? Top dollar but budget airline service. Rude staff all thinking that you owe them for them letting you on their lovely aircraft.

I'd suggest that the airlines that do, what they do, in whichever sector they sit in, will be ok in the long term. Those that have been trying to take us for for a ride (no pun intended) will suffer.

Look out Willie Walsh, you could well be next!
Frankly that’s irrelevant. BA was a profitable business before Covid with a substantial cash reserve. Virgin was a going concern, although thinly capitalised and lacking cash reserves. Both are now burning their cash reserves keeping empty planes serviceable and crews not flying. When the cash is gone, they’re broke.
 

endure

GCM
Sure. And the responsibility of a government to its actual taxpayers is...?


To collect the tax that's legally owed to it.

'It's not fair they don't pay enough (for some vague value of 'enough') tax' isn't a legal argument.
 
Frankly that’s irrelevant. BA was a profitable business before Covid with a substantial cash reserve. Virgin was a going concern, although thinly capitalised and lacking cash reserves. Both are now burning their cash reserves keeping empty planes serviceable and crews not flying. When the cash is gone, they’re broke.

That's the law of supply and demand though, isn't it? Those airlines that can't keep afloat will go bust. The other airlines will pick up that business.....too many seats, not enough passengers. How long must the taxpayer bail out companies before we accept that there will not be enough passengers, for many years to come, to fill all those seats?

I think the world is changing right in front of our eyes. To think it will go back to where it was before is a little short sighted.

Change is with us now. Virgin is the first to see that and seek protection whilst restructuring.

BA has already said that it won't fly 747's anymore as the demand isn't there. They will probably have to shed more aircraft, staff and routes if they want to remain. As will many other airlines.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
The run on house prices was due to Labour raiding the pension funds in the early 90s, stagnating savings, and letting lots of new people in at the same time. But don’t let facts get in the way.

And also due to that idiot Gordon Brown allowing the building societies and banks to relax the 3x earnings rule as to what they could lend as mortgages. Before his moronic intervention, house prices went up roughly in line with average earnings. After it, the banks and building societies started lending 5x - 6x salary and house price inflation soared.

Classic Labour - fornicate the economy long term for short term political advantage. It was done to create the feelgood factor before a GE.

Wordsmith
 
" As a result, for 40 years, Branson and the Virgin empire have – albeit legally – limited their payment of British taxes to a minimal amount. Although these tax arrangements have been openly declared in his companies’ annual statements, he continues to minimise his payment of British taxes. "

That's one of the responsibilities of a limited company to its shareholders - to minimise expenses and maximise profits.

Do you have a pension? An ISA? You're minimising your payment of taxes.

He started a company that offers cheap loans to entrepreneurs so they can try and emulate his success


Branson via his various companies over time has provided employment for thousands of people. All of them pay taxes.

Here's a list of them past and present.


It’s not a company responsibility to minImise expenses and maximise profits. It’s an obvious aspiration to want to do so under ordinary circumstances but it isn’t written in law or anywhere that directors have a duty to do so.

Branson has been phenomenally successful as a businessman and there is little doubt that most people would like to be a quid behind him in their bank balance.

He legally pays whatever taxes he must pay wherever they fall due but he doesn’t have any tax liability in the UK. I don’t know what the tax regime is where he lives or indeed if there actually is one. The fact is though that he could pay taxes in the UK if he chose to do so. He chooses not to.

I don’t see anything legally wrong in that but wherever he does pay any taxes, I wish he would go and ask them for the huge subsidies that he’s been trying to get the UK to pay. Better still ultimately, if you have several billion quid, I think you should pay for your airline to keep it going. He certainly takes his cut of the profits when it’s doing ok.

I also think the fact that he employs people who do pay their taxes in the UK isn’t isn’t really anything to do with whom employs them. The two sure things in life are death and taxes.... Apparently. Having loads of taxpayers working for you isn’t an excuse for not paying taxes yourself. Living abroad in some places might be.
 
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