A DISABLED student stripped of furlough pay has slammed the "unnecessary stress and worry" for the "thousands" slipping through the government's safety net.

Barman Chris Chamberlain from Evesham received pay through the first Covid-19 lockdown through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme but a takeover of the pub where he works, the Ivy Inn in North Littleton, meant he and his colleagues got ruled ineligible second time around.

Employers can claim up to 80 per cent of an employees wages provided they made a pay-as-you-earn real time information (PAYE RTI) submission to HMRC between March 20 and October 30.

The gov.uk website adds "this may differ where you have made employees redundant, or they stopped working for you on or after September 23 and you have subsequently re-employed them".

Mr Chamberlain's belief is that the new business filed his first month with the new company at the end of October, missing the deadline by a day and rendering meaningless his previous service to the same pub.

He has had an exchange with Mid Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston on the matter but feels dissatisfied with the response, highlighting that many will slip through similar cracks and into poverty having started new jobs.

“All of the staff in their other businesses, such as catering, are furloughed. They really wanted to be able to give us furlough but it was out of their hands,” said Mr Chamberlain, who studies history and religious studies at the University of Gloucestershire.

“I am fortunate in that I have some student finance but it does not go as far as people think. I am in receipt of PIP (Personal Independence Payment) but the reason I work is so I can study without stress and hassle.

“You cannot force people out of work and then refuse to pay them. It is not defensible morally."

Mr Chamberlain is registered disabled due to deformed knee joints and explained he could lose the use of his car if it fails its MOT this month due to not having the spare cash for any repairs.

“I need my car because I can’t walk very far," he added.

On his interaction with Me Huddleston, Mr Chamberlain continued: “I have written to him quite a lot over the past 12 months and there was a particular line in his response which highlights how the government is fully aware of the situation.

“It says the government has to balance the need to protect jobs with preventing fraudulent use of the support scheme. Does that mean tough? Does that mean yes we know but we don’t care?

"It shows he is aware, he represents the government so the government must be aware. Surely he is in the loop. I have replied and I am still waiting for a response.

“I am in a fortunate situation, I have no dependents and live on my own. I have other forms of income, this is largely about the principle of it.

“We are helpless, there is nothing we can do until that cut-off date changes from October 30 and we don’t know when pubs are going to reopen. It is causing unnecessary stress and worry.

“We had the same issue with self-employed people being excluded and now here are even more, pretty much everyone who has started a new job is exempt from doing it.

“He represents us and we need his help and clarity on what it going to happen, are we going to receive what we deserve from the government?

“This isn’t about me, it is about everyone. There are thousands upon thousands of people potentially affected by this.

“How many other places and people are going through the same issue? It seems like a never-ending storm.”

Mr Huddleston said "it would be inappropriate to comment on individual constituency case work".

On the overall policy, he said: "I appreciate that this deadline is frustrating for those few who have fallen outside the scope of the scheme.

"As the financial secretary to the treasury Jesse Norman put it on November 13, the reason for the deadline of October 30 was because extending it would significantly increase the risk of abuse because the claim could not be confidently verified using the data after this point.

"There is, however, a safety net for those people that fall outside the main support schemes. This includes extra support for the welfare system, and both the Universal Credit standard allowance and the Working Tax Credit basic element have been increased by £1,000 per year until April.

"This is part of a package of measures that represents an injection of £9.3 billion into the welfare system.

"Finally, the government will be providing an update on wider Covid-19 economic support at the budget on March 3 and so I would urge my constituents to look out for any further announcements.”