Terribly Moderately Wealthy James Matthews is taking furlough money

The wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, Pre-Ceremony, Windsor, Berkshire, UK -  12 Oct 2018

Mike Tindall recently got some critical media coverage because he is taking “furlough money” from the British government. The UK’s furlough money scheme is a lot like the PPP loan scheme here in America – employers and businesses can apply for and receive grants and loans from the British government and use that money to keep employing staff. Many wealthy people have exploited the system here in America and in the UK, and Tindall seems to be one of them. Tindall took furlough money even though he’s self-employed (a public speaker) and he’s married to the Queen’s rich granddaughter. Well, here’s another one. Pippa Middleton’s terribly moderately wealthy husband James Matthews is also taking furlough money.

Pippa Middleton’s billionaire husband James Matthews and his Made in Chelsea star brother Spencer have both been claiming taxpayers’ money to furlough staff, MailOnline has learned. Hedge fund boss James, 45, is believed to have been using the government handouts to pay the six employees of his Scottish shooting estate, Glen Affric.

The state-funded Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS), running since the first lockdown almost a year ago, is designed to help cash-strapped employers survive the lean months of the pandemic, but eyebrows will be raised at two such high net worth individuals taking advantage of the public money. Both companies appear on the government’s published list of firms which made use of the furlough scheme during December, but previous months have not been made public. Under the CJRS, furloughed workers receive 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. The government website did not reveal what staff at both Matthews companies earn.

Racing driver-turned city trader James, who was privately educated at Uppingham School, married the Duchess of Cambridge’s younger sister Pippa in 2017, having proposed with a 3.5 carat £200,000 diamond ring the previous year. James, who has also spent lockdown in the capital with his wife, is set to inherit the Scottish courtesy title of ‘Laird of Glen Affric’ which came with the 10,000-acre estate of the same name near Inverness that his father bought in 2008. James is listed as managing director of Beaufort Glen Affric.

The estate’s website lists six employees at Glen Affric, and it is believed they are the furloughed workers, as due to the lockdown, paying guests would no longer be able to hire the impressive mansion for shooting parties or other occasions. One of James’ smaller companies, Beaufort Glen Affric Ltd, based in Inverness, was in the red to the tune of £9.95m, according to the latest published accounts in 2019. It is this company, believed to handle the running of the Glen Affric Estate, which has claimed under the CJRS.

Having launched his own hedge fund company, Eden Rock Capital Management Group – named after his father David’s exclusive £1,000-a-night hotel in St Barths – in 2017, James was estimated to be ‘close to’ to being a billionaire by founder of the Wealth Quotient website, David Friedman. More recent estimates of his wealth have put it at up to £2bn. He owns a £3m private jet and bought a six-bedroomed, £17m house in 2014, which boasts a car-stacking garage in the basement, along with an underground home cinema and a lift.

[From The Daily Mail]

The class warriors at the Daily Mail are making the point that James is terribly moderately wealthy from running his hedge fund/investment firm and that it looks bad when someone rich is taking a government handout to keep employing staffers at his family’s luxury country estate. Which I understand, I get that, and it is a bad look. But… isn’t the furlough money scheme simply about keeping people employed? If the Matthews family is using the money to keep the Glen Affric employees paid, then… that’s how it’s supposed to be used. Still, I get the point about how TMW James is rich enough to dip into his pocket to financially support the staff at his big country estate. Incidentally, does James Middleton still work at Glen Affric? I think he might. Pippa’s husband gave James Middleton a job as a kind of tour guide and host to paying guests. Um… so James Matthews is paying James Middleton with government furlough money? James Middleton is getting paid by the government to hang out with his dogs.

Celebrities at Wimbledon 2018 Day 11

Lady Gabriella Windsor wedding

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

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21 Responses to “Terribly Moderately Wealthy James Matthews is taking furlough money”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    Well, its like we said about Mike Tindall – it may be legal but its certainly….whats the phrase they like to use with Meghan? oh right – its BAD OPTICS!!!

    the interesting aspect of all this to me is that the DM is actually running these stories. It seems the gloves are starting to come off and they’re going to start with the adjacent royals – Mike Tindall, James Matthews – maybe as warning shots.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      The DM is going to have to pay out to Meghan and pull back on her for a bit. They’re probably really angry the willileaks stopped and are going after all the lower members, slowly creeping up to the senior royals.

    • Amy Bee says:

      I don’t think the gloves are off, the press just don’t have any information about the Sussexes and so are resorting to reporting on the lesser royals and royal adjacents. The press knows they can get people to be outraged about the misuse of taxpayers money.

      • Becks1 says:

        Yeah, but I feel like they can probably always find examples of these people misusing taxpayer money or taking advantage of the tax code or whatever. Thats why this is interesting to me, because I feel like the press sort of circles back to James Matthews at various points (or the Matthews family in general) and then backs off again. Maybe someone places a phone call?

      • Amy Bee says:

        They attacked Victoria Beckham for doing the same thing earlier on in the pandemic. The press knows who to pick on to get a reaction from the public. A rich man married to someone related to the royal family seems like easy pickings to me. The press is still protecting the Royal Family. There is still some info that the Palace can leak about Harry and Meghan relating to the one year review. William and Kate will have keep releasing pictures of the children and the press is still hoping that Harry go to the UK during the summer. So I think the Royal Family will be able to keep them at bay for a little while longer but if Harry doesn’t go to UK then then the gloves may be off .

    • Beach Dreams says:

      I agree with Amy Bee; I think this is more like the press grasping the straws. At best they’re making a show of scrutiny with these softball ‘exposés’. But no one outside of The Guardian has reported seriously on the finances and political meddling of Elizabeth/Charles. They’ve also been steadfastly refraining from ANY criticism of Will and Kate, even though there’s been plenty of PR blunders to attack these past few months. Until these outlets hone in on at least one of those 4 en masse, I think the gloves will remain in place.

  2. Elvie says:

    The furlough money is definitely being used “properly”, but the problem is companies who can afford to keep paying people dipping into the funds anyway as an extra pre-caution.

    The firm I work for furloughed all of our administrative staff and our junior staff as a “preventative measure” to preserve cash and it was pure hell for those of us that remained working 12 hours a day just to cope whilst in lockdown. It was then released in the Autumn that our partners were getting > £500,000 in compensation each and there were calls for them to repay the money. They said they wouldn’t at first, but U-turned that decision within a day. Honestly at my level we’re still pretty bitter about the whole mess.

    Unfortunately, the problem with capitalism is that these people would have all lost their jobs in order to maintain the wealth of the owners and because “it’s pointless to employ someone who cannot be productive” and that is shitty and why our economic system is deeply flawed.

    • tcbc says:

      This is where I’m at. People who are acting like the 1%ers would dip into their own pockets to pay their workers rather than using government money fundamentally misunderstand the 1%. The choices are fire the employees or have the government pay them. And since that’s the case, I vastly prefer using government funds to keep workers semi-afloat.

    • Lemons says:

      These types of stories always make my blood boil. How anyone thinks it’s okay that they continue pocketing half a mil while denying some employees MAYBE 10% of that is unconscionable.

    • clomo says:

      The worst part is with good schools and programs the whole world should be living at lower middle class at the very least, we have the resources. The amount of work people have to do these days just to pay rent, food and utilities, insurance etc. makes it like slavery with only the top making money. It started out okay but in the pursuit of more success by the ultra wealthy the middle class is going extinct. Monopolies taking over, ma and pa places closing down all over.

  3. lucy2 says:

    Hopefully it’s truly going to the employees, and not lining his own pockets. If so, it’s at least being used properly, but if you’re a billionaire, it’s really lousy that you can’t cover a few employees, who probably don’t make a ton. If it’s a separate entity and it gets complicated, then at least donate back the equivalent, or more, of the grant to programs for the poor.

  4. Roo says:

    I’m wondering if there’s any pressure, discreet or otherwise, coming from the BoJo administration to focus on the RF and its outliers to distract from what an utter shot show Brexit has Ben and will continue to be?

  5. Amy Too says:

    Doesnt James Middleton work on that estate as a tour guide or house sitter/manager type of thing? I wonder if he’s one of the six being paid with the furlough money.

    ETA: sorry, I should have read all the way down to the last sentence!

    • Mac says:

      He’s no longer listed as an employee and IIRC he lives in London with his finance. I think the job at Glen Affic was just a PR stunt to attract attention to a resort that was in urgent need of bookings.

  6. Sofia says:

    He’s not doing anything illegal but you can argue the morality of it aka should this billionaire pay the salary of the very few employees that he has.

  7. GRUEY says:

    Whenever I see a pic of Pippa all I can see is Jerry Blank. Sorry not sorry? It’s my immediate organic response every single time.

  8. AnnaKist says:

    Our government introduced the same thing, called JobKeeper, meant to keep employees connected to their employer until they were able to return to work. Lots of people habe returned to their jobs, so no longer receive the payment. In any case, the scheme is due to end next month. Of course, certain conditions had to be met to qualify, such as having to have held that job for a minimum period. This, and other schemes, obvious;y were beneficial for the recipient, but also have kept the economy ticking along. I guess we could argue whether multi-millionaires should access these schemes, but this entire horror is unprecedented, so someone had to make decisions, and make them quickly. In any case, I’m always on the side of the underdog, so as long as they are being looked after, it’s fine by me. Sadly, the rich also get another chance to wet their beaks.

  9. Nic919 says:

    Doesn’t Party pieces have employees? Maybe someone should check there because a pandemic isn’t the best time to buy party supplies when social gatherings have been restricted or banned. It’s more than likely they would have used this program as well.

  10. AnnaKist says:

    Just a thought… Has Pippa always been a fan of the puffy long sleeve? They’re naff. For some reason, I thought she was a bit more stylish. *shrugs*

    • Liz version 700 says:

      Those puffy sleeves are not flattering and with her amazingly fit body it should be hard to find outfits that don’t flatter you. I with my 1 year home Covid body have an easy time finding unflattering outfits and would never be seen in that dress

    • Lyds says:

      Every time I see her I think, horrendous style. The Middleton ladies have very long torsos and small hips; with all their money and being sizes that would suit a number of styles, it would behoove them to dress for their bodies.