Staff at a Renfrewshire hotel are turning to foodbanks and begging lenders for repayment holidays after a mix up at HMRC excluded them from the government's furlough scheme.
Seventy-three workers at the Glasgow River Hotel - the former Erskine Bridge Hotel. have not received a wage since March 7.
And households where both breadwinners work in the hotel are in financial crisis.
Employees of the riverfront venue are, like others in the hospitality industry, entitled to the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme which sees people who are unable to work because of the pandemic receive 80 per cent of their wages.
But in the months before lockdown, the hotel was bought by MGM Muthu Hotels and while the transfer of ownership was submitted on time with HMRC, a delay in their processing that application means the business did not receive its PAYE reference number.
That number was needed to apply for the Furlough scheme, but Muthu Hotels did not have it before the deadline for Furlough applications closed.
Staff at the hotel and managers have asked HMRC to recognise that it was their delay that caused the problem but two months later, the tax authority has done nothing to resolve it.
One member of staff at the hotel said that for many of his colleagues with children, the situation is desperate.
He told the Express: “There are several sets of husbands and wives and partners who have gone from having two incomes every month to nothing so it’s particularly desperate situation for them.
“I myself don’t have anyone else to support but most of the people that work here are parents and have families to support.
“Some have been forced to apply for universal credit but that will be a fraction of what their income was.
“My universal credit, when you include my rent payment, is £730 a month. My usual wage after tax is £1,800 so that’s a huge difference.”
The hotel worker also explained that his application to have universal credit backdated to when the hotel closed its doors has been denied and that for others in a similar situation, that decision has plunged them into debt.
“It has been implied by some of my colleagues that they have missed payments,” he said.
“I have had to organise payment holidays and while creditors are willing to do that, I am still accruing interest.”
The worker is one of several who has asked Gavin Newlands MP to seek a resolution with HMRC on the furlough issue.
The MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said: “It is completely unacceptable that over 70 staff have been left with no income entirely due to HMRC’s own mistakes.
“My office has attempted numerous times to resolve this issue with HMRC as a matter of urgency, yet I am still waiting for so much as a reply from the bureaucracy. This is a preposterous way for any government agency to behave.
“The Job Retention Scheme is meant to support workers through the coronavirus crisis, but yet again more people are falling through this supposed safety net and left with no income through absolutely no fault of their own.
“I will not stop pursuing this with the UK Government until every member of staff at the Erskine Bridge receives what they are entitled to and receives a full apology from HMRC for the stress and anxiety their bungling has caused the employees and their families at a time when they could least have wanted it.”
A spokesman for HMRC said: “Our guidance is clear on the requirements for the scheme, which include notifying HMRC on an RTI submission on or before March 19, 2020. This must relate to a payment of earnings in the 19/20 tax year.
“But if an employer believes there have been mistakes or unreasonable delays with their application caused by HMRC they should follow our complaints process, which can be found on the gov.uk website.”