One of the world’s most renowned nightclubs has raised over £100,000 in a matter of hours, after it emerged it was at risk of permanent closure.
Glasgow’s Sub Club was forced to shut its doors to the public due to the Covid-19 crisis and has since been denied access to the UK Government’s furlough scheme, its bosses claim.
The prominent underground dance club – which opened its doors in 1987 – launched a crowdfunder to raise money towards recovering “over £30,000 in lost furlough payments”, the venue’s weekly running costs and to set up a staff hardship fund.
Sub Club sent out a social media plea for public support on Tuesday morning, and the #SaveOurSub appeal has since raised over £100,000 in public funds in just a few hours, surpassing the initial target of £90,000.
Bosses claimed the club, which closed its doors on March 15, is facing a shortfall of over £250,000 in the company’s income for this year.
They said the venue had been subject to “months of mistakes” by HMRC and had “retrospectively” been denied access to the UK Government’s lifeline Job Retention Scheme.
In what was described as a “double Covid blow”, bosses said 31 people were at risk of losing their jobs. All the club’s full and part-time staff have since been placed on unpaid leave.
A host of freelance DJs from all over the globe, music promoters and technical workers also rely on the club for their regular income.
Mike Grieve, Managing Director of the Sub Club, said: “Months of mistakes on HMRC’s part caused us to miss out on eligibility for the furlough scheme by a single day.
“The reality for us at the moment is that we’ll be lucky if we open this year – the very nature of the business means that opening with social distancing requirements in place seems impossible.
“We need to do everything we can to stay afloat during these times and our battle with HMRC has made this pandemic an even greater struggle. It seems grossly unfair that more than 30 people have to lose their jobs and our great wee venue, much loved by generations of Glaswegians, is under serious threat due to a simple technicality.
“The atmosphere on a club night at Sub Club is impossible to replicate and that’s what we want people to remember when they consider donating – we’ve been putting on unforgettable nights for over 30 years and we want to be able to continue that for years to come.
“What’s particularly galling about this situation is hearing the repeated statements from the Prime Minister and other ministers that they will do ‘whatever it takes’ to save businesses and protect jobs. Boris Johnson said in parliament ‘we will continue to support our businesses’ and ‘get this country through this crisis by doing everything it takes’. What we’re going through feels like doing everything possible to deny us and our employees the support we urgently need.”
Alison Thewliss MP is the Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury) and is backing the Sub Club’s position and said she was “appalled” by HMRC’s handling of complaints about the furlough scheme.
She added: “What’s more, it’s now becoming clear that their lack of flexibility and inability to exercise discretion is entirely deliberate, and as a result of instructions passed from HM Treasury.
“The Sub Club’s case is a particularly egregious one. The business contacted me around two months ago, and my office escalated the matter to HMRC on May 11. Since then, there have been interminable delays getting replies back. We have had responses that contradict one another, there have been call backs promised that have not materialised, and a failure from HM Treasury and HMRC to recognise that their own mistakes have led to the situation that the business now finds itself in.
“In these tumultuous times, businesses need HMRC to act quickly and be agile. What has happened has been the opposite, and it’s unacceptable that it’s HMRC and HM Treasury intransigence that will potentially push this business under.
“Perhaps most alarming of all is the fact that I raised this case personally with the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jesse Norman MP, on June 22 and haven’t had as much as an acknowledgement. So much for this government’s promise to do “whatever it takes” to support business and the economy.
“UK Government Ministers must urgently recognise that their obstinance is pushing businesses to the brink, and take immediate action on cases such as that of the Sub Club. They must be allowed to access the support that they are clearly entitled to”.
To donate to the Save Our Sub appeal, go to https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/saveoursub.
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