More than 1,500 former Focus DIY staff could receive £2,500 each after it was ruled bosses “failed to consult” when staff were let go as the retailer fell into administration last year.

The ruling follows last year’s £67m payout for former employees of Woolworths, which collapsed into administration in 2008.

A progress report by administrator Ernst & Young published in December revealed landlords, suppliers, customers and employees owed £821.1m had received nothing.

Secured creditors were paid in full, while £600,000 available to unsecured creditors was deemed too costly to pay out

Union officials called on the Government to alter insolvency laws, making administrators more accountable, after it emerged the taxpayer will foot the bill for the payouts and not administrator to Focus DIY Ernst & Young.