RENFREWSHIRE’S MPs have slammed “non-essential” businesses that refuse to send workers home amid the coronavirus crisis.

While the majority of local firms have heeded government advice to temporarily shut down, Gavin Newlands and Mhairi Black have raised concerns over employers who are continuing with business as usual.

READ MORE: Open non-essential businesses warned people of Renfrewshire will 'remember who they are'

Mr Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, told The Gazette: “The minority of irresponsible employers who persist in thinking their bank balances are more important than the lives of thousands of people should realise that the people of Renfrewshire have long memories and we will not forget those who have treated their fellow human beings like this.

“The advice provided by government is backed by legislation and those who are putting public health at risk face criminal sanction and prosecution.

The Gazette: Gavin Newlands Gavin Newlands

“I would rather the police were free to spend their time on more vital work but those businesses continuing to breach guidance should understand that the powers now available could lead to their arrest and the premises being shut down anyway.”

Ms Black, who represents Paisley and Renfrewshire South, added: “I think there is a real concern among folk here about this issue.

“We’ve been putting umpteen letters out to businesses who are maintaining that they are staying open, even though they are not an essential service.”

Among the companies to be criticised for staying open was Johnstone-based McAlpine Plumbing.

Last week, The Gazette told how workers at the Floors Street firm feared they were being put at risk as ‘social distancing’ measures were not in place.

However, the company has now confirmed all production at the Johnstone site has been halted.

A spokesperson said: “All our hourly factory staff have been offered furlough and the overwhelming majority have accepted the offer.

“As a company, we will do all we can to be fully back in business when this epidemic has passed.”

Meanwhile, both Mr Newlands and Ms Black have highlighted the altruism being displayed by Renfrewshire residents during the current crisis.

Mr Newlands said: “Looking at the streets outside, it seems the vast majority of citizens are heeding the advice and staying at home.

“This is saving lives.”

READ MORE: Confusion reigns as Renfrewshire workplaces look for clarity over coronavirus lockdown

Ms Black added: “What I’m seeing a lot of, which always makes me proud of my constituency, is folk looking after the people around them.

The Gazette: Mhairi Black Mhairi Black

“If everybody does that, then nobody should be left on their own.

“It’s inspiring to see everybody taking the initiative to help, with community shops making points of closing to allow vulnerable people to come in at certain times and services tailoring things where it is necessary and appropriate.

“It’s a wee glow of light among a lot of scary darkness.”