This Christmas is going to be very tough for many, many people. For my own part, I’m privileged to have the comfort and security of good health and employment.
I run a small skincare business, and I’ve worked extremely hard during lockdown to keep my one employee in work.
She is a recently married young woman who has just bought a house, so I was conscious of not letting her down. Thanks to our amazing customers, we’ve survived.
My husband Steve and his partner Ricky set up an online advertising agency more than 10 years ago – and suffered a huge blow to their business in March.
There was a brief moment of panic, but I saw them both work 16-hour days to ensure that their 100 employees kept their jobs.
The employees pulled together for Ricky and Steve too because of their culture of putting people’s welfare above profits.
Both Steve and I come from working-class backgrounds, so we know what it’s like to have worry and stress. If we can do something to prevent it for others, we will.
So you can imagine my opinion of Philip Green right now. He’s the billionaire boss of retail group Arcadia, which owns a string of retail stores including Dorothy Perkins, Topshop and Burtons.
It went into administration this week, leaving nearly 10,000 of its former and current employees facing cuts to their pensions, and thousands of jobs at risk.
What a way to say, “Merry Christmas” to the very people who have worked so hard to give him his life of luxury.
In 2015 he sold his failing retail chain BHS to an inexperienced buyer for £1, which led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and a hole in the pension pot to the tune of £571million.
After much negotiation, he was forced to pay £353m to support the pension scheme.
While people lost their livelihoods, he was topping up his tan on his £100million superyacht – how the other half lives.
I don’t begrudge him his money, nor am I envious of his lifestyle, but I am disgusted at his ignorance and arrogance, and for not moving with the times.
How could he, as a driven and highly experienced retail maverick, not understand the impact online shopping would have on the High Street?
My view is that he just didn’t care enough.
Now he conveniently blames the virus for the downfall of some of our most iconic high street brands.
And now 13,000 people have their livelihoods in the balance at Christmas. Shame on him.
As he sits on his superyacht this Christmas with his family, miles away from the realities of this pandemic, I wonder if he will be contemplating his legacy...