It’s safe to say that the government’s furlough scheme has managed to save millions of jobs and secure thousands of businesses throughout this COVID-19 pandemic.
With the vast majority of businesses able to take full advantage of the scheme, most of our favourite venues will be able to re-open their doors when lockdown finishes hopefully sometime in the Summer. (Fingers crossed)
However, one city centre venue has come up against a serious issue, one which could see them having to lay off over 60 members of staff if it’s not resolved.
CULTUREPLEX, the bar, restaurant, aparthotel and mini cinema on Ducie Street was previously owned by the company Bistrotheque, but was taken over at the beginning of the year by the aparthotel’s parent company Go Native Ltd.
Well, what’s happened is that Go Native Ltd has been told that it cannot claim government furlough payments for more than 60 employees due to a technicality in payroll processing after the takeover.
Under current HMRC guidelines, an employee must have been on the claimant’s PAYE system before March 19th to qualify for furlough payments.
Native took over CULTUREPLEX in February and paid staff’s wages for that month on March 10th. However, the February payroll was processed using the old Bistrotheque system and PAYE coding.
As a result, the venue and staff are not eligible for the scheme.
Throughout this lockdown period, Native have been paying the staff’s wages but they are now on a “financial knife edge” with the potential for redundancies having to happen from this week.
So, what can be done? Well, the team at CULTUREPLEX have written to Manchester Central Labour MP Lucy Powell urging her to raise it with the Treasury.
Also, they’ve launched a petition aiming to get the government to UNBLOCK them and stop staff from being made redundant. You can sign it below…