UK Border Force workers are taking legal action against the government because their new uniforms are giving them the itch.

Last year the Home Office splashed out £3 million on the navy blue uniforms.

But inside sources complain the discomfort has got so bad staff have resorted to wearing silk "burn garments" underneath to protect their skin from the material - with some having to take "high-powered steriods" to calm areas of inflammation.

Around 250 employees are suing the government because of the painful skin irritations attributed to dyes and chemicals in the uniforms, which were made in Bangladesh.

Lucy Moreton, general secretary of the ISU trade union, which represents 5,000 staff, said the demand to produce 8,000 uniforms for staff in a tight timescale made it a "rush job" and caused the problems.

"We have members who now have to wear silk "burn garments" beneath their uniforms to keep the material off their skin," she said.

"Many have suffered a low-grade chemical-type burn.

"People have been prescribed high-powered steroids to try to calm the irritation down and others have been told they will suffer hypo-allergenic sensitivity for the rest of their lives."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are aware that a small number of staff have reported some irritation. We provide guidance to all staff when they collect their uniform."

The spokesman added that anyone who experienced discomfort was advised to "raise it with their line manager", but maintained the material had been subject to rigorous independent testing.