DOZENS of workers at a Renfrewshire hotel who haven’t been paid since it closed its doors in March as part of the coronavirus lockdown are still in the dark over when they will get their money.

It is understood a mistake by the tax authorities meant more than 70 staff at the Erskine Bridge Hotel were declared ineligible for the UK Government’s furlough scheme, which would have paid 80 per cent of their wages during the Covid-19 crisis.

They are being backed by Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP Gavin Newlands, who is furious that, despite raising their plight with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), he has been met with a wall of silence.

The Gazette first reported in June that a simple change in payroll after new owners bought the hotel earlier this year took nearly a month to sort.

The result was that HMRC claimed staff aren’t eligible for payments, despite the paperwork being submitted weeks before the furlough cut-off date.

Employees caught in the middle, with no means of income, appealed to Mr Newlands for help and he was promised a substantive response when he raised the issue in the House of Commons.

He told The Gazette this week: “Despite promises by UK Government ministers, HMRC have completely failed to make any progress or indeed provide any response to the staff who have had their lives turned upside down by this sorry episode.

“My office has been chasing HMRC and the UK Government for weeks now for answers to these questions but I am still waiting for so much as a response.

“I am deeply angered and frustrated at the way in which this business and the people who work there have been left high and dry by HMRC and their political masters.

“Dozens of hard-working households in Renfrewshire have been forced to seek help from foodbanks through no fault of their own. The entire episode is unacceptable.”

MGM Muthu took over the hotel in January, with staff expecting their first furlough payment on May 7, only to miss out.

A Treasury spokesman said those who aren’t eligible for the coronavirus job retention scheme can make use of a number of other measures.

He added: “These include our strengthened welfare safety net, where we’ve given councils an additional £500million to support the most vulnerable in our society and introduced mortgage-payment holidays and tax deferrals.”

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