Senior staff at a job centre in Scotland’s worst-hit coronavirus region have been suspended over claims they held office parties during lockdown.
An investigation has been launched following complaints from workers at the Greenock Jobcentre Plus office.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said it was taking the allegations “extremely seriously” and had instigated a disciplinary investigation against a “number of members of staff”.
According to the latest figures from the National Records of Scotland, Inverclyde has the highest Covid-19 death rate in the country, at 14.1 deaths per 10,000.
Two parties have allegedly been held in the Dalrymple Street building amid a surge in benefits claims sparked by the pandemic.
The DWP said the safety of its employees was “paramount” following the complaints of breaches in the government’s social distancing rules.
A DWP spokesperson said: “We take these allegations extremely seriously and have instigated a disciplinary investigation against a number of members of staff.
“It would not be appropriate to comment further while the investigation is ongoing.
“The safety of our employees is paramount.
“We are committed to doing all we can to ensure the safety of all of our colleagues who continue to deliver our essential services at this time.”