ANNA MIKHAILOVA: Because we're worth it… L'Oreal defends £1million furlough claim


L’Oreal has pocketed nearly £1m in British taxpayer cash – despite making billions in profits during the pandemic.

New figures from HM Revenue & Customs reveal the global cosmetic giant was given ‘£500,000 to £1m’ in furlough money in December and January alone – and continues to claim.

And while some of the French-based firm’s UK customers might raise a perfectly arched eyebrow at such a shabby look, L’Oreal (slogan ‘Because I’m Worth It’) didn’t bat an eyelid at the taxman.

Because we're worth it: L'Oreal has pocketed nearly £1m in British taxpayer cash in December and January alone - despite making billions in profits during the pandemic

Because we’re worth it: L’Oreal has pocketed nearly £1m in British taxpayer cash in December and January alone – despite making billions in profits during the pandemic

In the last three months of 2020 alone, it made profits of more than £6bn. Sales were boosted by lockdown-fuelled internet shopping.

When the furlough scheme was designed, the Treasury chose speed over setting strict criteria – to avoid people unfairly falling through the gaps. This free-for-all approach was understandable a year ago, when a fast response to boost public confidence was needed. But it beggars belief that the vetting process hasn’t been tightened.

Last night the company confirmed it still relies on the furlough scheme to pay the bulk of its 4,500 British staff’s wages – only using its own deep pockets to top them up. It said the furlough bonanza has been granted within the rules.

‘As non-essential retail re-opens next week, beauty advisors will be returning to work and therefore we will not be making any further claims,’ a company spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, word reaches me that L’Oreal is working on a new perfume – Eau de Shameless.

Mail in denial post-Brexit

An unlikely Remainer fifth column has emerged – the Royal Mail. First, it withstood considerable pressure to print commemorative Brexit stamps. Now, the Post Office is acting like we never quit the EU.

When Yorkshire Tory MP Robert Goodwill tried to send his daughter, who lives in London, a box of chocolates for Easter, he was shocked to see the official form which he was required to complete categorised the capital city as being in the EU.

First, the Royal Mail withstood considerable pressure to print commemorative Brexit stamps. Now, the Post Office is acting like we never quit the EU

First, the Royal Mail withstood considerable pressure to print commemorative Brexit stamps. Now, the Post Office is acting like we never quit the EU

Goodwill – who describes himself as a ‘staunch Eurosceptic’ despite, err, backing Remain in the referendum – was outraged.

‘I looked at the Certificate of Posting and there it was – “Destination Country – UK (EU),’ he said. ‘It’s over a year since we left the EU. Is someone at the Post Office in a state of denial?’

When approached to explain themselves, Post Office managers promised to put it right ‘in the near future’. In a rare case of officialdom admitting mistakes, I was told the error had occurred because the software hadn’t been updated. Wrongly jailed and sacked employees of the Post Office’s disgraceful computer scandal take note.

A ‘quiet word in your ear’ was how David Cameron described lobbying in his 2010 pre-election pledge to ‘clean up’ this political swamp. 

Fast forward a decade and ‘Call me!’ Dave’s own lobbying for Greensill appears to have involved bombarding half the Treasury ministerial team with texts and follow-ups. 

Less ‘quiet word’. More ‘loud bellow’.

There was talk again last week that Boris Johnson is poised to crack down on ‘middle-class cocaine users’.

Some are interpreting this as a strike against some of his own consiglieri – for the PM is a fan of the retribution scene in the mafia movie The Godfather.

There was talk again last week that Boris Johnson is poised to crack down on ¿middle-class cocaine users¿. Remember, Michael Gove (pictured) once courageously confessed to snorting cocaine at a party almost 30 years ago

There was talk again last week that Boris Johnson is poised to crack down on ‘middle-class cocaine users’. Remember, Michael Gove (pictured) once courageously confessed to snorting cocaine at a party almost 30 years ago

Remember, Michael Gove once courageously confessed to snorting cocaine at a party almost 30 years ago.

Unlike Goody Two Shoes Rishi Sunak who accidentally admitted being a ‘total coke addict’ – before panically clarifying that he meant the fizzy drink.

Of course Johnson himself has admitted having been given cocaine, saying he sneezed it, adding that it could have been ‘icing sugar’. At least that is the line the capo di tutti capi is sticking to. 

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