Victorian Plumbing to repay COVID furlough cash

Based in Formby, Victorian Plumbing is a bathroom retailer turning over more than £200m a year and is to repay furlough cash claimed earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic. Tony McDonough reports

Mark Radcliffe, chairman of Victorian Plumbing


Merseyside bathroom retailer Victorian Plumbing is to repay all the furlough payments it claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Formby-based business, which turns over more than £200m a year, began furloughing staff back in March. It says it has not received any other form of relief or support from the Government during the pandemic.

Chairman Mark Radcliffe said: “We have just completed a very successful year and now that we have more of an understanding of the impact of COVID, we felt it right to review the support we received in the early part of the year, and we have made the decision to repay this in full.

“We hope this sets an example for other businesses that have been lucky enough to continue trading during the pandemic.”

The bathroom retailer follows in the footsteps of Aldi, Tesco and IKEA who have also made pledges to repay the government aid given to them during the pandemic. Mr Radcliffe added: “During the pandemic, we unfortunately had to furlough a number of our staff, purely based on the fact we could not house them safely within our office space at the time.

“This wasn’t a decision we wanted to make, but the health of our employees has remained at the forefront over this last year. Once the government published the COVID-safe guidelines, we invested heavily in creating space to be able to bring people back to work with all social distancing guidelines followed.”

With business increasing in recent months, the company is currently investing in a huge recruitment drive, as well as a new warehouse in Skelmersdale. Mr Radcliffe said: “Following a difficult few months earlier this year, we’re thrilled to be able to announce that we’re on the hunt for some new talent to join the team.”

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