Cheryl Fernandez Versini (aka Cheryl Cole) is the latest celebrity to air her concerns regarding the proposed Mansion Tax that could come into force should Labour be elected this May. The X Factor judge, who is estimated to be worth £20 million, has some reservations about the levy that would see her pay an additional £3000 in annual charges (£250 a month) as she already pays a “f**king lot of tax” and a mansion tax would “f**k her over”.
Cheryl, who grew up on a council estate in Newcastle (not that she ever likes to mention that fact), has spoken about her decision to “listen” to other parties and that she wants to hear what they’ve got to say for herself; now that she’s a grown woman.
“I feel like a greater responsibility now to vote for who runs our country. And I pay a f**cking lot of tax. So I think that I need to have a really well-informed, well-educated opinion.”
While it’s great that Cheryl is taking an interest in politics, at the age of 31, I can’t be the only one judging what’s prompted her to speak out – the threat of an increased tax bill. The self-styled “Newcastle’s People’s Princess” hasn’t chosen to air her concerns about the future of the NHS, or the fact that the numbers of families relying on food banks is rapidly increasing. She didn’t raise her voice when the country’s poorest where hit with the unfair bedroom tax, but instead, decided it was time to chat politics when it looks like her accountant may have a little bit more work to do in the future when doing her books.
Back in 2009 Cheryl was rumoured to spend over £250,000 a year on her appearance alone. That’s a quarter of a million pounds, almost 10 times the amount of the average UK salary, on things like hair and makeup. As she claims that a tax that is estimated to cost her £250 a month (or £125 if she splits the bills with her fellow millionaire husband) will “fuck (her) over” she neglected to mention that by taxing the richest a bit of, to them, loose change, nearly £2.5b will be raised to go towards the NHS etc.
Let’s get a few things into perspective. Here are a few Chezza’s past expenditures:
In 2009, it was reported that Cheryl spent Nearly 10 grand a year on her Hollywood smile. The very same year, the media reported over 40% of the population had no NHS dentist and on more than one occasion, surgeries had seen queues of people hoping to secure the services of one.
For The X Factor, Cheryl worked with two stylists; both said to cost about £45,000 a year. While the former Girls Aloud star is in the position to splash out that much on someone to pick out a dress for her to wear, it’s estimated 1 in 4 parents borrow cash to finance the cost of their child’s new school uniform.
Cheryl once famously bought herself a £36,000 Hypoxi therapy bike (nope, I’ve no idea what one is either), alongside a £14,000-a-year personal trainer. While the former Mrs Cole can splash out on fancy bikes, NHS patients can be waiting up to 27 weeks for physical therapy services.
Of course, she’s free to spend her hard-earned cash however she pleases; if I earned even a tenth of what she takes home I’d have some questionable purchases. These comparisons weren’t to make me look bitter towards a woman spending her wealth – it was to point out whether we really can believe she’d even notice £250 a month leaving her account?
What I do resent is that throughout her career as a pop star, reality show judge and hairspray fan, she has marketed herself as a ‘working class girl done good’; someone who can relate to her fans. Never one shy to speak about her roots, she’s now just as keen to tell us about her ‘Poor little rich girl problems.’
“I know there are people out there who think, ‘Oh yeah, someone with money telling us that money doesn’t matter,’ but the truth is I’ve experienced both. There are big downsides that come with having money.”
Hey, she may be rich now but she too has been on the bones of her rose tattooed arse. But has she really? Aged 19 when she appeared on Popstars: The Rivals, Cheryl was barely of voting age when she propelled into stardom and a world of wealth. I very much doubt she’s had to rent a shitty flat,while on a zero hour contract minimum wage job; trying to make ends meet. She may wear her working class upbringing as a badge of honour but, speaking from experience, it is very different growing up a member of a poor family and actually living below the bread line as a working class adult; out there on your own.
Ms Fernandez Versini is angered by taxes that aim to create a fairer society for all , yet is happy to associate herself with Comic Relief, a charity that thinks investing in the arms trade is a wise move. But in her defence, paying your taxes just isn’t as PR friendly (or tax-deductible) than climbing a mountain or sticking on a red nose and asking a country, where more than one fifth of us don’t earn the Living Wage, to donate what little cash we have.
If Cheryl does want to defect from Labour due to their take on taxing the rich, then she should do. But she also bear in mind she probably won’t be able to continue her ‘Working class hero’ image, and just how much would a re-brand cost her?
UPDATE: I tell a lie, Cheryl has spoken out regarding politics and taxes before – with the odd claim that she would have been penniless as a teenager had the Pasty Tax been in place then.