Staff left penniless after rehab closed

Lorna Simpson, Jules Barnes and Karen Brakewell outside Pierpoint House, St Annes, with their letter of redundancy. Below: John Grady.
Lorna Simpson, Jules Barnes and Karen Brakewell outside Pierpoint House, St Annes, with their letter of redundancy. Below: John Grady.
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STAFF owed thousands of pounds by their former employer say they have been left penniless and fearing for their futures.

More than 30 staff were axed as Pierpoint House, a rehabilitation centre in St Annes, was closed suddenly.

John Grady

John Grady

Now, more than one month on, staff say they are still owed months of pay, in some cases running up to £3,000, but have no idea of when the cash will materialise.

The rehabilitation centre for alcoholics and drug addicts, on Clifton Drive North, was forced to go into administration due to “difficult trading conditions” according to director John Grady.

Mr Grady admits not paying the staff regularly or in full, and that the centre had been experiencing financial difficulties for some time.

Lorna Simpson, who was employed as a support worker after going through the centre herself, said she is now desperately waiting for the £2,729 she is owed.

She said she has been unable to claim benefits due to unpaid National Insurance and PAYE contributions by Pierpoint.

She said: “I can’t see myself getting out of this debt. I’ve had to take a crisis loan.”

Jules Barnes, a support worker, said: “We’re all in hardship. It’s not been a good time at all.

“Pierpoint didn’t pay our tax or insurance so we’ve been struggling to get benefits. In the meantime the director’s sent this letter saying he takes full blame.”

In a letter seen by The Gazette Mr Grady told staff NIC and PAYE deductions from wages had not been paid to HM Revenue and Customs and accepted wages had not been paid in full.

Mr Grady said: “The staff are owed arrears of pay, that is acknowledged.

“It’s hard to say where that payment will come from.

“My hope is that from one source or another they will be paid.”

Mr Grady said payments of NIC and PAYE were “not up to date”.

He added: “There’s nothing I can do at the moment, I’ve put all my money and resources into the business.

“I appreciate that in this current economic climate not receiving a wage makes it difficult.”

Mr Grady said he had kept staff in the know about the financial status of the business, paying them “a percentage” of takings when he could each month, before the company went into administration.

But Miss Simpson said: “At the back of my mind I knew something was going on, but I stayed because I believed in what I was doing. Pierpoint saved my life, I would be dead if it wasn’t for it.”

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