In the News

Should profitable P&O get a bail-out?

Graham Watson

28th April 2020

The owners of P&O, DP World (Dubai Ports World) have asked the government for a bailout worth £150m to keep the ferry operator in business, and see it through the coronavirus lockdown., having furloughed 1,400 staff.

And yet, it's also due to pay out a dividend of £270m to shareholders this week, and last year it made a profit of £1bn on revenues of £6bn. Surely the former suggests that the taxpayer is underwriting risk at a time when the shareholders should be? And to overlook this implies turning a blind eye to some unsavoury distributional implications. Equally what has happened to the rest of the £1bn profit?

It will be interesting to see what the government does. After all, we are an island nation and dependent, not only on the seas, but also DP World who operate two of Britain's largest ports, at London Gateway and Southampton, not that the Foreign Secretary could be expected to know.

Graham Watson

Graham Watson has taught Economics for over twenty years. He contributes to Tutor2U, reads voraciously and is interested in all aspects of Teaching and Learning.

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