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DWP response to Covid claims as Lancs office closed for ‘cleaning’

Written by on July 17, 2020

Civil service staff working in Preston’s Guild Tower have been sent home this morning (July 17) while the building is cleaned amid reports that an employee tested positive for coronavirus.

LancsLive understands that the positive test was confirmed overnight and that a HM Revenue and Customs staff member working on the eight floor of the building on Lords Walk, Preston, has tested positive for Covid-19.

Both HMRC and Department for Work and Pensions staff arrived for work this morning but were sent home by management.

A private cleaning company has been brought in overnight and will continue to work over the weekend with a view to reopening on Monday.

One insider, who did not want to be named, said staff were “happy to be sent home” due to the circumstances.

The building itself is not at full capacity due to social distancing rules, with a significant number of staff working from home. Those who have been working in the building are deemed to be staff that cannot work from home for specific reasons.

A DWP spokesperson has this morning (July 17) confirmed to LancsLive that the building has been closed for cleaning and staff have been sent home.

But they did not confirm or deny that this was due to a coronavirus, adding it would not the department’s place to say if the staff member with the virus is not a DWP employee.

They said: “The office is closed for cleaning. I have not got much more to add to that but I know that if someone has symptoms of coronavirus in our offices it’s pretty routine to close down the office as a precaution.”

HMRC has also been approached for clarification on the situation.

On Tuesday, May 26, the DWP offices in the Guild Tower were closed for deep cleaning.

Staff at the offices in Lords Walk had expressed concern over their working conditions after three members of staff went off sick with suspected coronavirus symptoms.

A spokesperson for the DWP confirmed the building was closed for a deep clean on the Tuesday but could not confirm whether there had been a confirmed case of coronavirus in the building.

Speaking two days afterwards, he said: “Cleaning was undertaken at Guild Tower, but it is open today.”

One employee, who asked not to be identified, said: “It was bound to happen. Very disappointing.”

Guild Tower, Preston

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