SACKED Wirral Remploy workers hit by 50% tax in their final pay packets have been told they will get the money back sooner than originally thought.
The factory at Hickmans Road, in Birkenhead, was closed last month, putting 29 disabled staff out of work.
Union officials later revealed that workers’ final pay slips were hit by an emergency 50% rate of tax – placing them in the same category as millionaires – after a blunder by Revenue and Customs.
Workers were originally told they would have to fill in forms to try to reclaim the cash, which could have taken months.
Wirral West Esther McVey – in her new role as Minister for Disabled People – has now intervened to speed up the refunds.
She said: “We have spoken to the Treasury to speed up the payments which Remploy workers deserve.
“Every disabled person affected has their own case worker who will now been making sure this happens.”
She said HM Revenue and Customs had put special arrangements in place to prioritise the repayment claims and they would be handled within five working days.
But ex-Birkenhead Remploy workers said they were sceptical about the promise.
Former GMB shop steward Gareth Rees said: “I’ll believe it when I see it. I can’t see how we’ll get it back any time soon.
“I was told I’d have to fill in forms and it could take until the end of the year to get the money back.
“We’ve been put in the same bracket as millionaires like chancellor George Osborne.
“Talk about kicking people when they’re down.”
The mistake happened because workers were issued with P45s before their final payments, which sent them into the emergency tax band at 40 to 50%.
The Government announced in March it was cutting its funding of Remploy, which was set up after World War II to provide sheltered employment for disabled people.
It said Remploy factories lose a total £63m a year and the average taxpayer subsidy was £25,000 for each worker – compared with just £2,900 to support a disabled person in a mainstream job.