Tom and Giovanna Fletcher: why were couple criticised for furlough use, and what did their Instagram statement say?

In a statement from the couple, it said that their use of the furlough scheme was ‘a mistake’ that they ‘wholeheartedly take responsibility for’

Couple Tom and Giovanna Fletcher have issued an apology after it was reported that they used money from the Government furlough scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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What happened?

Tom and Giovanna Fletcher sign copies of their new book 'Eve Of Man' at Waterstones (Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Tom and Giovanna Fletcher sign copies of their new book 'Eve Of Man' at Waterstones (Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Over the weekend, The Sun reported that Giovanna Fletcher “claimed thousands of pounds from the furlough scheme weeks after her TV win”.

The article alleged that Giovanna and her husband Tom received up to £30,000 in government money, which, according to a HMRC register of claims, they received shortly after Giovanna won I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here in December.

The furlough scheme, also known as the Job Retention Scheme was introduced in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme saw the Government contribute 80 per cent towards furloughed employees pay packets, with employers then able to choose whether to pay an extra 20 per cent wage top up - but they do not have to.

The programme was scheduled to finish at the end of June 2020, before being extended another five times.

The deadline for furlough was expected to stop at the end of April 2021 but the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, pushed it back in March when he revealed his 2021 budget – and a new flexible furlough arrangement will come into play from 1 July.

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What did the couple say?

The two issued a joint statement on Instagram writing: “Hi everyone, we’ve always had a very honest and open relationship with you all on here so we thought it was important to address questions that some of you have rightly asked us in the last 24 hours.

“This weekend there was an article in one of the Sunday papers about us using the government furlough scheme.

“While parts of the article were inaccurate (including all the figures mentioned), it is true that we did follow financial advice to furlough someone we employ.

“This was for a member of our team who couldn’t carry out their role due to the pandemic, and the scheme was suggested to us as the most effective way to give them job stability and security.

“Although it was a time of great uncertainty, we clearly should have thought more about the situation and funded it ourselves.

“It was a huge error of judgement and a mistake we wholeheartedly take responsibility for and we have paid the full amount back.

“Gi and Tom x”

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Who are Tom and Giovanna Fletcher?

Tom Fletcher is best known as guitarist and singer of the band McFly, and also McBusted.

In 2012, he released his first children’s book, which he co-wrote with fellow McFly bandmate Dougie Poynter, called The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas.

A follow up to the book was then published the following year, called The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet.

Tom would go on to release solo novels as well, including The Christmasaurus, and also appear in a number of TV shows, including The Cube, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here, All Star Family Fortunes, All Star Mr and Mrs and Deal or No Deal.

Giovanna Fletcher is an English author, presenter and podcaster. She has been the presenter of the CBeebies show The Baby Club since 2019, and in 2020 she won series 20 of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me out of Here!

She has written a number of books, including Some Kind of Wonderful, Dream a Little Dream and Billy and Me.

The two first met when they were just 13 years old, and became engaged on 18 April 2011.

They were married on 12 May 2012, and it was announced in 2013 that they were expecting their first child together.

The couple have three children - Buzz Michaelangel Fletcher, their eldest, Buddy Bob Fletcher, the middle child, and Max Mario Fletcher, their youngest.