Parish councillor who owns cafe in Ixworth hits out at government department
A cafe owner who tried to get his employees on the furlough scheme has spoken of his frustration at the response by the ‘inept’ government department tasked with carrying it out.
Ben Lord, who owns the Rambling Rose Coffee House and Bistro in Ixworth had to close his doors, like many other businesses in March, due to coronavirus.
Because his business had only opened up in February, and paid his staff in late March, when it came to applying for the Job Retention Scheme, run by central government, he was told by HMRC he was not eligible.
Ben, who is also chairman of Ixworth Parish Council, approached Matt Hancock to get a better response, but they received the same response weeks after enquiring.
"For a government department to give an MP, who happens to be the health secretary as well, a response like that I think is absolutely shameful.
"We as a company, we’ve lost £20,000 a month in revenue, and the blow would have been softened had we had the level of support we thought that we were going to qualify for," Ben said.
Ben plans to speak to West Suffolk Council, who are running a retail, hospitality and leisure grant, which he is currently eligible for.
Despite this, he still feels it ‘throws a spotlight’ on a lack of communication and ‘arrogance’ from HMRC, saying if his business had been affected, surely others had been as well.
When asked about the scenario, HMRC said: "HMRC implements the scheme, according to the rules which are decided by the Treasury.
"Unfortunately if someone is not eligible then there isn’t anything we can do."
More by this authorSam Walker
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