Mike Tindall spoke of ‘money worries’ before it’s revealed his company used Furlough funds to support staff

Mike Tindall divides fans over his company's use of Furlough to support staff.

Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips attends day 9 of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10, 2019 in London
(Image credit: Karwai Tang / Contributor Getty)

Mike Tindall has sparked a mixed reaction among fans after it's revealed the royal used Furlough cash to support the staff of his company.

The former England Rugby star is married to the Queen's granddaughter Zara, and the couple, who are parents to daughters Mia, seven, and Lena, two, are expecting their third child later this year.

Mike, who is thought to be worth £15m, is named as director of a company called Kimble Trading Ltd and ahead of their new baby arrival, The Sun newspaper reported the firm appears on a Government-published list of employers who have claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Zara Tindall and Mike Tindall attend day 4 'Gold Cup Day' of the Cheltenham Festival 2020 at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 13, 2020 in Cheltenham, England.

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo / Contributor Getty)

It is not known who at Kimble Trading Ltd has been receiving the furlough money but it is understood none of it went to Tindall and there is no suggestion of any illegality.

But it looks like royals have money worries just like anyone else, as prior to the revelation, Mike expressed his cashflow fears during an interview with The Times in which he admitted income from speeches and dinners had been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mike said, "You always worry about money." He described himself as very fortunate knowing he had money coming in from ambassadorial roles, but added, "Sponsorships won't last forever. You've got to plan, and now, with a third on the way and what's coming down the line in terms of school bills, fees to pay..."

Mike Tindall carries daughter Lena Tindall on his shoulders as they attend day 2 of the 2019 Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park on August 3, 2019 in Stroud, England

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo / Contributor Getty)

What is Furlough?

As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This allows all UK employers with employees on a PAYE scheme to designate some or all employees as ‘furloughed workers’. Employers can access Government support to continue paying part of these furloughed employees’ salaries and potentially protect the employees from redundancy. 

The first phase of the scheme finished at the end of June. A second flexible furlough phase operated between June and October. The scheme was extended into a third phase from November until the end of March 2021, with another extension to 30 April 2021.

Who can apply for Furlough?

On the Government's website, it details who can apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme and it says, 'You must have; created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 30 October 2020, enrolled for PAYE online, a UK, Isle of Man or Channel Island bank account.' 

And it adds, 'Any entity with a UK payroll can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.'

Thus making Mike legally allowed to apply to Furlough his staff.

It's understood Zara earns money from sponsorships and other ventures, meanwhile, Mike retired from rugby in 2014 and currently co-hosts a podcast - The Good, The Bad And The Rugby. They currently live on the Princess Royal's Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucestershire, along with Anne, and Zara's brother Peter Phillips and his family after Mike gave a rare glimpse into the house he shares with Zara.

But some members of the public are furious that he has taken advantage of the scheme. One wrote, 'He doesn't need the money and many others do. Simple.' Another put, 'Mike its blatant immorality to be drawing furlough money with £15m stashed away. I've been unemployed since mid-January and using my paultry savings to pay my way.' (sic). And a third added, 'Shameful - he should do the right thing and pay it back...'

And others are supportive of him using the scheme to protect jobs. One wrote, 'So what? Furlough is meant to be a universal scheme, that’s the point. The stability of people’s employment right now shouldn’t depend on the goodwill of their employer. I’ll defend the universal principle, even for Mike Tindall!' Another added, 'Furlough isn't mandatory even when eligible, as I found out March last year when my employer displayed a severe lack of goodwill. Whilst I don't begrudge Tindall, the whole thing is literally built on goodwill if you're an employee.' A third added, 'Most companies that are claiming furlough have rich owners... what’s special about Mike that means he shouldn’t be allowed to claim for his business.'

And a fourth pointed out, 'Mike Tindall is not getting money from the Civil List & has taken up an offer made by Government for relief against Lockdown If he is a multi-millionaire he has paid taxes &, hopefully, will do so in the future Where do you draw the line as to who morally can/can’t claim.'

Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 15 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She has covered all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand.