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Anorak | Irma destroys tax exile Richard Branson’s private Necker island

Irma destroys tax exile Richard Branson’s private Necker island

by | 12th, September 2017

Hands up who feels sorry for Richard Branson, whose private Necker island was smashed up by Hurricane Irma? I said, “Hands up who…” Oh, never mind. The billionaire would-be rocket-shop operator has shared pictures of Necker after Irma hit. He tweets that he’s looking at ways to help people in the British Virgin Islands left destitute: “Necker damage huge, but BVI #Irma story is not about Necker – about 1000s of people who’ve lost homes & livelihoods.”

But how can such disasters be prevented? Better houses? More money? How about stopping climate change? On the Virgin Group website, Branson explains all:

“Man-made climate change is contributing to increasingly strong hurricanes causing unprecedented damage. The whole world should be scrambling to get on top of the climate change issue before it is too late – for this generation, let alone the generations to come.”

That’s the same Richard Branson who operates an, er airline and is looking to develop commercial spaceflight through Virgin Galactic. You might wonder how he reaches his Caribbean Island? Rowing boat? Balloon? You might also wonder if paying taxes in the country that helped you get stinking rich is its own way performing an act of social responsibility, allowing governments to sort out the cash and improve standards of living.

Branson is a tax exile.

But Branson has issued a call for help. “We were very fortunate to have a strong cellar built into Necker’s Great House and we were lucky all of our teams who stayed on the island during the storm are safe and well,” says Branson in a Virgin blog post.

He then pulls on the the missionary’s hat and tells the unfortunates without power, clothes, food, windows and roofs but who are nonetheless tuned into Branson’s views via the wind-powered internet: “There are worrying reports of civil unrest spreading. I urge everybody to stay safe, remain calm and support each other. Help is on its way.”

Virgin Atlantic is transporting aid to the region, he says. And that can only be a good thing. Think not of the rich man’s grandstanding but of the needy being helped. His son Sam is delivering supplies aboard Virgin’s 105ft catamaran, Necker Belle. “The region needs a Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan,” says Branson.

He then tells us: “There’s this image of the British Virgin Islands — yes there are wealthy people here but the very vast majority are ordinary working people,” he notes, reminding us that staff are not volunteers and not everyone’s there on holiday. Who knew?

 



Posted: 12th, September 2017 | In: Celebrities, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink