The pound in my pocket… and the billions in Branson’s

Photo: Steve Smith on Unsplash

The pound in my pocket is no longer there, it is gathering dust. Sometimes there was more than one, with five needed to secure a parking space at one of my jobs.

There is now no need to park anything but my bum on this isolated chair.

Four one-pound coins settled the weekly cappuccino tax at another of my jobs, while the fool’s gold tax known as the office lottery syndicate took care of a further two.

And two more paid for my own long-running waste-of-money go at the lottery (now frittered away online).

I miss that pound in my pocket, but nobody wants coins anymore. This is one small consequence of Covid-19 as people fear, understandably, that coins can carry the protein molecule that cannot be killed but has to be left to die on its own (thanks to my mother for that email from the John Hopkins University in the US).

“The disintegration time depends on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it lies,” says the maternally propelled email.

Those lurking protein molecules have made cash disappear for now. The idiot lottery tax is paid for online or transferred monthly to the syndicate ‘boss’.

Our small local Sainsbury’s stopped taking cash two or three weeks ago. Will this be the end of cash? The disappearance of coins and notes has long been prophesised. Maybe Covid-19 will finally see off cash for good.

Plenty of street food places and small independent bars no longer take cash. This makes sense, but still I miss tapping my right pocket to sense the weight of coinage.

Oh, Richard that’s a bit rich…

As we are talking money, I see that Virgin tycoon Richard Branson has put himself up for a new TV game show called Who Wants To Stay A Billionaire.

The bearded awkward grin on legs is reportedly asking the government for a £500m bailout of his Virgin Atlantic airline. As Branson is said to be worth $4bn, that strikes some as a stretch, especially as the government money is intended to support people who otherwise would have no coins in their pocket.

Still, Sir Richard has at least offered to put up Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands as collateral – generous of him, as it appears to be sinking.

Sir Richard – you and your beard are reported not to have paid any income tax in Britain for 14 years. Asking the taxpayer to stump up for your airline is, well, a bit rich. Especially times two as a year or so ago, you were offering trips to the “edge of space” for a reported $200,000 a ticket.

Oh, and five years ago, Richard, your company was reported by the Observer to be one of 10 private health providers that use tax havens as part of their corporate structure. And you sued the NHS in a contract squabble.

If you use a tax haven, you haven’t the right to ask for money from the government. That isn’t me speaking, or not just me, it’s Denmark, which has told companies that they will not be eligible for bailout funds if they are registered in tax havens (as reported by the Independent yesterday).

Smart move, Denmark.

Leave a Reply