Branson's Big Bailout
Branson's Big Bailout

8am, Thursday 18th January - online and at Kings Cross station

Virgin Trains East Coast is getting a bailout of up to £2 billion from Chris Grayling, at our expense.

We want to show how ridiculous it is that the public is paying for Virgin and Stagecoach's mistakes, so we're holding a 'fundraiser' for Richard Branson. Next Thursday morning, let's make some noise. If we all join together we can build pressure on Chris Grayling to stop the bailout.

1) Join in online

a) Share our facebook event to spread the word to your friends. If you're not on facebook, share this page by email.

b) If you're on twitter, sign up for our twitter flashmob(This works by signing up as many people as possible to tweet the same message at exactly the same time - 8am next Thursday. By tweeting hundreds of the same message at the same time we might get our message to trend on twitter. You just have to give it permission to send this tweet, and then forget about it.)

c) And of course, if you haven't already, sign our petition to Chris Grayling: Stop the bailout of East Coast and bring it into public ownership!

2) Join us at Kings Cross station in London

Join us at 8am on Thursday 18th outside Kings Cross. We'll supply the buckets and placards! Sign up on facebook or email to let us know you're joining. Remember to wrap up warm and wear something red if possible! 

3) Or - bail out Branson at your local station!

If you'd like to organise an event near you, that would be amazing.

a) Email to tell us where you'll be - we can help you out and share your event.

b) Download and print these resources to stick on the side of 'collection buckets' and to hand out to passers by:

(Click on the link, right click on the image, and click 'save image as' to download the graphics. If you have trouble, let us know and we'll send you the pdfs!)

c) Get in touch with your local paper, send them a link to this page and tell them where you'll be.

d) Wear red and take a good group photo! Tweet any photos straight to @We_OwnIt if you can, or email us later.

e) Please don't actually collect any money! If you do we'll need to actually send it to Richard Branson...

So far, other events are planned at:

Edinburgh Waverly (8am),

Manchester Piccadilly (12 noon)  

Bristol Temple Meads (8am)

Redhill Station, Surrey (8am)

Milton Keynes Central (8am)

Email us at if you'd like to organise a bailout at your station.

Branson's Big Bailout is being organised in partnership with:


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Brian Robertson replied on

I'll give Mr Branson a large debit slip maybe....

Anonymous replied on

Ill give Branson his worth to the community ie. Nothing. Shame the tory chris Grayling has not opted to do the same.

Geoffrey Bosworth replied on

Why is it Richard Branson paid out full not so long ago a large hospital turning it private in London? He his only having a laugh on taxpayers money. If that was us they would take the hospital from us to pay the bill.

Malcolm Parnell replied on

Because we own it!!

JOHN POOLE replied on

Maybe we should encourage Carillion to buy it? Shambolic and fundamentally unjust. The richer the company or "entrepreneur" the less their responsibility.

John McMahon replied on

Where is the general election? This is supposed to be an unstable government with a weak leader! But they just carry on doing as they please , in their interests.

Denny Gibson replied on

Ridiculous ! This is hard earned tax payer's money - NOT to be used to prop up a failure !

Andy B replied on

We bail out the bankers and billionaire businessmen while people die in hospital car parks British establishment rotten to the core!!

Sylvia replied on

Branson doesn't need tax payers money he has millions laying around let him bail his own company out

M.Ludford replied on

Shambolic, yet more public funds going straight into the hands of an incompetent private company. The franchise should be revoked and returned to Public Ownership.

John J Frake replied on

so the nhs makes a mistake in a bid and is forced to compensate Branson, He makes a pigs ear of a rail franchise and guess what? The taxpayer forks out all over again! The stench of the old boy network "corruption" hangs around this one like a hungry dog around a food bowl!

Keith Baker replied on

100% agree with you. This government is rotten to the core, back-handers apparently going both ways between this totally ideologically based government and most of their big business backers. This needs to stop. Whatever anyone's politics, if we really do believe in the safety of our NHS, a properly run railway network and our public services then we cannot vote this government at the next election. The only way to save our services and tax payers money is get them out asap.

helen mccomb replied on

Anyone would think it's all about the money. Oh, hang on ...

Mj replied on

It was actually Network Rails which made the pigs ear out of the contract which then gave Branson a legitimate reason to get out. If you want to blame anyone blame Network Rail which is state owned.

Pamela Morris replied on

Absolutely disgusting. East Coast made a profit for goodness sake. The only thing Brandon is good at is lining his own pocket

Chris Turner replied on

You couldn't make it up!

John replied on

Collection bucket?? More like a sick bucket I'm afraid.

bob replied on

Isnt it a shame the poor cant become tories, then we could all live off taxpayers money. NOT.

Malcolm Bannister replied on

NHS in crisis and the Government are chucking good money after bad. Where are they finding the multi billions to waste on HS2 when the existing network needs upgrading?

barrie charles hood replied on

when G.N.E.R pulled out the government ran the east coast main line for a number of years of which all were in profit and the best performing region of all in time keeping etc i rest my case.

Jacaranda replied on

Now we can all see how much "better" privatisation is, as compared to public service! BEWARE! He + his cronies in the govt are doing THE SAME to the Health Service!

John Buckley replied on

Ready subsidized to guarantee a many tories have got shares in these two companies....

Judith Joy replied on

Appalled that he can repeatedly fail - then come back for a refund. We need to stop our money being used to fund his financial failures in NHS, Railway franchises etc. Want to hear it loud and clear from Labour that if elected they will stop bankrolling these privateers.

Peter replied on

Utterly despicable! We get stung with a fares hike And then we are expected to bail the fat cat owners out too? Grayling, it's time you did what voters want, not line your mates' pockets! Shame on you.

alan parker replied on

Can some one show financially what the cost difference is between not for profit and Branson?

Brenda Watts replied on

When I watch them telling their rich billionaire lies in their attempt to put us down I am sickened and I know we should all be very afraid of what they are doing to us.

David Bacon replied on

Poor old Branson. He's always getting picked on. It's hard being a multi-billionaire. I know he seldom invests his own money into his "enterprises" but entrepreneurs like him need all they money they can get their hands on because he's only motivated by the good he can do for the r best of us. Not really: I just feel mischievous. I once heard that he rationed the number of lightbulbs used on West Coast Main Line trains: look after the pence and the pounds will look after themselves.

Paul Baxter replied on

How can the east coast franchise run at a billion in profit whilst it was state run, yet branson can't make a profit.....easy too many shareholders to pay and branson want the profits rather than pay their franchise obligations. We shouldn't bail anyone out, just take it back and let the state run it end of!

Berni Davies replied on

Chris Grayling you absolute incompetent excuse of a person supposed to be representing the U.K people! This is a total disgrace and cannot be allowed to happen. You lot of so called MP's are abusing our taxes. Just remember that us minions and by that I mean the HARD WORKING people of this country are the ones who are the backbone of taxes in the coffers - the taxes you are repeatedly abusing by dishing out to greedy multi millionaires/billionaires running our companies. If it was not for the real workers of this country Branson and the rest of the greedy morons would not have the lifestyle they have. The working class have suffered enough with our wages barely able to keep ourselves let alone a family. Stand up Grayling you robbing toad and say you will not be using our taxes to bail out yet another greedy hand in our oven. As for Branson he should be banished to his beloved burned out island forever because he is not the man he likes people to think he is. He has already robbed our NHS service and to reward him for this our government has awarded him a contract under Virgin Care. What a joke. It was an utter disgrace that our banks robbed us and we bailed them out yet not one of the fatcats were prosecuted, why? Now bailing out that swindling Branson ... time to stop!

Gerry and Brend... replied on


Paul Cairns replied on

My understanding is that Virgin (and hence Branson) holds only 10% of the East Coast franchise being bailed-out. Surely Stagecoach are the major villains - if nearly invisible?

Neil Dawson replied on

What a waste of public money. Let it go bankrupt and take it back into public ownership. They brought the franchise to make a profit and failed, so let them face the consequences!

Phil replied on

To prevent collecting money you could cut a hole in the bottom of the bucket (or make a cardboard one with no bottom). This could be used as a metaphor for the bottomless greed of companies like Virgin.

Barry Metcalfe replied on

Take all railways in Britain back into public ownership.

Pete replied on

This goverment won't ever accept public ownership. They would rather squander millions of taxpayers money on propping up their ideology.

David P Dakin replied on

This goes to show just how much we are all in together. Under the Tories the "RICH Get RICHER and THE POOR GET ALL THE COW SH*T". How can Chris Grayling have the "RIGHT HONOURABLE" after his name. He is just another Tory who knows how to waste the Tax's Payer's Money and make Branson even Richer. Time for People Power to tell this Tory Party it is time for a change and let us show them how Public Ownership of our Railways works for all and not for Profit & and making Branson an even richer person.

Cassy Firth replied on

We are returning to feudal times, in which most of us are disposable serfs to be squeezed dry in order to increase the profits of the rich and shameless, who run the country for the benefit of themselves and their billionaire mates.

Cassy Firth replied on

We are returning to feudal times, in which most of us are disposable serfs to be squeezed dry in order to increase the profits of the rich and shameless, who run the country for the benefit of themselves and their billionaire mates.

Keith Baker replied on

People power can work. It's about time people showed their disgust to these 'failing' private companies who are lining up to get bailed out yet again by this corrupt self interested government. Simply refusing to use Virgin Rail for any journeys for a few weeks will soon hit their profits, the same for any company - boycott them! At the next election we can boycott this corrupt inept self interested government by refusing to vote for them.

Dr Adrian Morgan replied on

Bransons 10% share of East Coast is just for the use of the Virgin brand estimated at £90m per annum straight into his pocket for no effort. This is profiteering.

Sunny Jim replied on

Failing Grayling and a Malfunctioning Maybot! Britain deserves better than this!

Beryl Bluemel replied on

This money could be put to far more better use - like the NHS.

Steve Smith replied on

The week Chris Grayling castigated the owners of diesel cars as dirty polluters, he ordered First Great Western to fit their all electric trains with Diesel engines. Hypocracy? Incompetence? All because he can't control Network Rail's electrification out of Paddington. Tories don't want British state owned railways and utilities but are happy to sell them to other European states!! Guardians of the Union Flag? Whose snouts are in the trough, probably Branson and Souter amongst others. Just look across the Channel to see real joined up railways running for the people who still own them.

Iain Hoy replied on

Richard Branson and Partners (This includes all investors) know very well the risks involved in business. If you over or under estimate, I'm sorry but you have to suck up your losses. If I put a £10 bet on a team to win something, as I believe they have a good chance. Then they lose, what do you think of my chances of getting my stake back? I know the scale of loss is much bigger. That is the way business works, they rise and fall on a daily basis.

The UK Tax payers can't be expected to bail out Private Enterprises every time they fail. They want the bonuses and incentives that go with running (Poorly I may add) public services. But, don't want to take any of the responsibility. We went through it with the banks, and are still paying for it throughout parts of the UK with other utilities and services. If this Government bails out anymore of these so called Private Companies. They really must consider tendering their resignation, as there will be no more acceptance of apologies.

Jim jenkins replied on

Yet another example of this governments mishandling of contracts for public services. A racket that needs to be stopped.

MJ replied on

So lets get this right, Virgin enter into a contract with the government. A contract which states that we the tax payer through Network Rail will do various upgrades and that Virgin Trains will run the service. After a couple of years Network Rail have not done the upgrades as stated in the contract so Virgin at this point has every right to cancel the contract, or it could sue Network Rail (IE US) for breach of contract. The government obviously took the view that the cheapest way out of this was to let Virgin walk away. Blame Network Rail not Branson.

Mark Eveleigh replied on

It's shameful how the West minister tory elite are treating the hard working taxpayer with private company bailouts to the rail industry. We can only hope Jeremy Corbyn gains power soon.

Thomas Cooke replied on

So we the tax payer has to bail out virgin and stagecoach but the government could not bail out BHS or the latest company Carrillion to go bust. It seems the government are not caring about British companies but billionaires who screw up. Stagecoach and virgin should therefore have that railway part of the business removed from them and put back into UK hands ie UK National Rail virgin is a multi billionare company We the taxpayers should not be paying for their stupid failures

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