A BUSINESS unable to qualify for the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme has made sure its employees – in self-isolation – are still being paid in full.

LMF Motor Factors, in Main Street, Barry, opened its new business on March 8 this year – meaning that it had failed to meet the UK Government’s date criteria for businesses to be eligible for the financial assistance

Company director, Matthew Alaoui took on the business, with the support of Lyndon Smith – the former owner of LDS Motor Factors – to start the new company.

Mr Alaoui, 32, retained Mr Smith as company secretary and recruited Alex Webb who will also be a shareholder in the company.

Mr Alaoui and staff members were formal employees of LDS Motor Factors in Barry before it was sold to a national company.

The business, which employs six full-time people from Barry, sells a huge range of motor vehicle parts including accessories to the motor trade and public.

It also delivers to garages all around the Vale of Glamorgan including Cowbridge and Penarth.

He said: “When the pandemic hit and people were advised to stay at home and most businesses closed we took a big hit at LMF.

“We were having a great start to the new business, but two weeks in we had to send some staff home for health reasons so we have been running half-staff with myself, Lyndon, Alex, and Gary.

“I was devastated and scared and unsure what was going to happen.

“I did not want anyone to lose their jobs.

“We have sent some staff home as some are asthmatic.

“We need to keep a safe distance so with full staff we would have been more of a risk to each other.

“We only have one driver on the road instead of three which has impacted our service to customers.”

The business realised its’ newly established status had rendered it ineligible for the Job Retention Scheme.

Mr Alaoui said: “It was due to the fact we have not been paying staff, as they were doing a month in hand, and that the deadline was half way through March and us not paying until the end of March. We missed the deadline which was no fault of our own.

“If we did know we had to pay staff before this date this of course would have been done.

“Therefore we must continue to work as hard as we can to cover everybody's wages, including staff that are not in due to the pandemic.

“We are keeping our heads down, and working hard and try and keep the business going as best we can.

“If we don't then we would lose our loyal staff members which is not in the question for us.

“We would just like to urge the public to support your independent garages as much as you can as without the garages there is no LMF Motor Factors and, to our members of the public, we are open as usual.”

Llantwit Major-based Business Drive Wales taxis and private hire owner, Ashley Moyle, 34, said: “Matthew was the obvious choice for car parts when he opened up.

It was another driver that told me what he was doing.

“I've not spoken to his staff directly, but I know they are a good bunch - many with young families and knowing what Matthew is doing and funding himself from his company is nothing short of outstanding and gives a true picture of what a true gentleman he is.

“I just want to wish them all the success in the world and in such an uncertain time to give Matthew the praise he deserves.

“We really do need more people like him.”

For information, visit lmfmotorfactors.co.uk.

Find them on Instagram and Facebook - LMF Motor Factors.

Lyndon Smith, company secretary, Matthew Alaoui, company director, Sue Harford, senior driver, Alex Webb, manager, and Gary Bennett, business development manager