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GLASGOW firm City Blinds & Shutters has ceased trading immediately as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

More than 60 employees at the blinds company have lost their jobs as a result of the move - with bosses pinning the blame on the "disgusting" lack of clarity over Government measures to save jobs during the pandemic. 

On March 23, following the latest government advice on social distancing, the firm took the move to stop visiting people's homes to measure, sell and fit blinds - meaning they were unable to generate income.

They also closed down their showroom and attempted to put staff on the Furlough through the Business Interruption 80% Guarantee Loan Scheme.

But they say their application to their bank - Lloyds Banking Group - for the loan scheme was declined.

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A statement on the firm's website by director Craig Dunlop reads: "It is with a heart wrenching regret that after 16 years we have had to cease trading both our businesses from today resulting in the loss of 63 staff’s jobs.

"City Blinds & Shutters Limited had been trading sustainably well until the Corona Virus COVID-19 took its toll on our society.

"Under Government advice & pledges to help employers look after its employee’s, we took steps to condition the business to avoid unnecessary job losses and make use of the Government’s assistance."

It later reads: "This loan was declined on 24th March 2020. We felt perhaps that this was down to lack of clarity of the Government Scheme terms etc, and on appeal the bank agreed to look at it for a second time.

"The business felt extremely exposed at this point and approached our local MP Anne McLaughlin, who engaged with our local MSP Ivan McKee to assist."

Mr Dunlop says that MSP Ivan McKee then sent a letter to the Lloyds Bank Group appealing for help in a bid to protect jobs, followed by an email from Anne McLaughlin MP.

They say they later were informed by the bank that their account was frozen because they were "in liquidation" - however Mr Dunlop says this was not the case.

After exploring options to pay staff, Mr Dunlop said they had "no legal alternative but to act responsibly and seek insolvency practitioner advice, and to petition to Glasgow Sheriff Court to appoint the liquidator".

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He added: "The delay in advising our staff of the news was directly related to the events above and attempts to get the funding required to secure their jobs and salaries.

"All other aspects of the Business and its assets and liabilities will be in hands of the liquidator once appointed.

"The distinct lack of understanding on how these Government measures to help Businesses and preserve jobs as indicated by the Chancellor of Exchequer is disgusting.

"During this COVID-19 crisis, Businesses needed capital quickly to safeguard staff salaries.

"This was not achievable under the red tape and bureaucracy of the benefits offered by our Government."

City Blinds & Shutters also placed a "significant portion of the blame" for the business folding on their bank.

Mr Dunlop added: "This, alongside the false hope the Government gave to Business owners, has sent a clear message to many."

The director told customers they are "actively seeking professional advice" to protec them, and will be in touch soon with information regarding the status of their orders.

Mr Dunlop said: "Due to the lockdown situation It is very hard to get this information quickly, but rest assured we will do all we can to provide you with updates asap.

"Should a liquidator be appointed you will again be notified immediately.

"Our offices are closed and we are unable to access our sales email at this present time, but we will update this website with any changing information as we get it."

A spokesperson for Lloyds Banking Group said: “We cannot comment on individual customers, as our banking relationships with customers is confidential.

"A business failure at any time is always regrettable, and we fully appreciate the impact it has on its employees and the local community.

"And we understand that it is even more upsetting in the current environment where employees may find it difficult right now to find other jobs.

“Any administration or insolvency process is usually after all other options have been exhausted and this was certainly the case here. 

“To qualify for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme, under the terms set by the British Business Bank, businesses needed to be healthy and viable before the outbreak of COVID-19 to secure support.

"This is also the same for our normal lending options.”