A firm run by EuroMillions winner who scooped a £148million prize has claimed furlough cash – and she is said to be refusing to pay it back.
Multimillionaire Gillian Bayford’s firm boasts an investment property portfolio worth £17million, but her company still cashed in on the government’s coronavirus crisis rescue package.
Her property company and her husband’s investment firm each made claims for furlough money in the past year, official records show.
But the property boss – one of Britain’s biggest ever lottery winners – told The Sun she was entitled to claim the cash, which the government offered up to for companies struggling in the pandemic.
Ms Bayford claimed the whopping EuroMillions jackpot win with her then-husband, Adrian Bayford, back in 2012.
But the couple split a year later and she returned from Suffolk to Scotland, and has since married Brian Deans, 38.
According to the report, two companies run by Ms Bayford claimed more than £17k in total in furlough cash.
The Government’s furlough scheme offered to pay up to 80% of employees’ wages to encourage companies not to lay staff off and add to the past year’s jobs crisis.
The Mirror has found payments to Ms Bayford’s company A&G Properties Scotland, and to Mr Deans’ investment firm BGD Property Developments.
The official data, which doesn’t specify the exact amount of claims, showed each claimed a total of £10,000 or less.
Ms Bayford is reported to have admitted her company received £7,200 to fund a part-time worker at her A&G Properties Scotland business, along with £10,000 for her Dundee salon Cameron’s Hair.
According to The Sun, Mr Deans also made two claims of up to £10,000 each for his investment firm BGD, which has one employee.
Ms Bayford reportedly insisted she had the right to claim the taxpayer furlough money and no intention of paying it back.
She told the newspaper: “I’m not paying it back. Obviously everyone’s entitled to furlough and everyone’s claimed it.”
The lottery winner added: “If HMRC comes back and says we have to pay that back then it’ll be paid back.”
Tory MP Nigel Mills, a former chartered accountant, slammed the businesswoman, claiming Brits will be all be paying more tax for years to come to fund claims like hers.
He told the paper: “Gillian Bayford should be ashamed of herself. The furlough scheme was designed to save jobs, not top up the incomes of multi-millionaires.
He said individuals and businesses who can afford to pay back furlough claims to the government should do so.
The Mirror has approached Gillian Bayford for further comment.