East Anglian firms named and shamed in government underpayment list

PUBLISHED: 11:01 16 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:15 17 February 2017

£7.50 will be the new national minimum wage from 2017. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

£7.50 will be the new national minimum wage from 2017. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

Businesses have been warned to keep on top of their paperwork to avoid being named and shamed by the government as an example to others.

A number of East Anglian firms were among those named by the government for failing to pay the National Minimum Wage including a hairdresser, forklift maker and a vehicle repair workshop.

Among the 360 companies named nationally were fabrication firm Lakenheath Fab, manufacturer Nexen Lift Trucks in Lowestoft, farming business T. Long & Co in Wymondham, Brampton Hall Farm near Norwich, K L Engine Centre in King’s Lynn and Cut to the Chase Hair Design in Norwich.

See the full list here.

Some of the firms cited misunderstandings around apprenticeship legislation and pay, contractual errors and incorrectly filled-out paperwork.

The National Minimum Wage is currently £7.20 for workers over 25 and will rise to £7.50 in April.

Mark Kermez, partner and solicitor at law firm Clapham and Collinge, said it was vital for businesses to stay abreast of developments to make 
sure they were paying the correct amount.

He said: “It is important that all employers are aware of any changes and are able to increase their wages as necessary when the implementation happens.

“It is essential for payroll staff to ensure they are kept up to date with this.”

MORE: Minimum wage name and shame: The full government list

While many of those highlighted were small and medium sized businesses, national giants also made the list with department store Debenhams, which was accused of failing to pay almost £135,000 to 
just under 12,000 workers, topping 
it.

The retail and hospitality sectors account for a large number of the businesses listed with 51 and 84 respectively.

Liz Stevens, professional support lawyer at Birketts, said: “Enforcement of the national minimum wage has been considerably strengthened in recent years, with the government committing greater resources to HMRC for enforcement and substantially increasing fines for employers who flout the law.

“Some employers may not realise that in addition to substantial civil penalties, a failure to pay the national minimum wage can result in a criminal prosecution and disqualification from being a company director.”

MORE: How to avoid being named and shamed.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This list fails to shame the larger care firms who are equally guilty of denying staff a fair wage. Those in the spotlight today are just the tip of the iceberg.

“HM Revenue & Customs needs to get much tougher with more inspections to identify scrooge employers.”

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “The Government needs to crack down further on employers who failed to pay the national minimum wage to some of the most low-paid and vulnerable workers in the country.

“The fact that the Government has mounted only 13 prosecutions for non-compliance since 2007 is pathetic.

“In America, bad bosses are jailed and heavily fined for ‘wage theft’ which is what this is, exploiting workers in such a shameful fashion.”

In August 2016 the government released its previous list which named around 200 companies.

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16 comments

  • bencaren you are a complete part of the male-only anatomy. Not only do you make offensive homophobic comments on another board but you appear with a load of mis-spelled CAPs on this one. I don't by any means always agree with PaulWho and rarely comment on news items anyway but in this case Paul is spot on. He is invariably polite. And doesn't use CAPs. So he's a cut above you, pal. Get real or go away.

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • If there's one thing that does come through this it's to avoid businesses paying less than the legal minimum. The people working for them will probably not have been able to get a job elsewhere and so won't be the best skilled or best motivated and their employer will probably be skimping on other parts of their business such as materials or contracted services.

    Report this comment

    koenig

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • I see that there's a REALLY SHOUTY NUMPTY blaming immigrants (as usual), it's a bit cold outside today bencaren, who's to blame, East Europeans or Moslems?

    Report this comment

    PaulWho

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • Too many companies interpret the minimum wage as the only wage take it or leave it attitude. You pay peanuts you will only get monkeys

    Report this comment

    stoneman

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • There should be no minimum wage. Market forces should be allowed to establish wage rates. If an employer has to pay more than the value an employee creates then it is the end customer who ends up paying. If an employer pays too little he won't get employees. If a person can not get enough to live on because he is incapable of adding enough value from his labours then get a different, a second or even third job. Big government is bad government.

    Report this comment

    koenig

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • Should not this be a punishable offence in law, with at least suitabl heavy fines for the one's who break that law? Steal money physically the the law clamps down. Do it technically then that doesn't apply.

    Report this comment

    Yorky

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • Foolish bencaren the only reason companies get away with paying minimum wage and forcing people into the zero hours and gig economy and avoiding paying NI by employing lots of workers on under 16 hours (who are then subsidised with benefits) is because there is an oversupply of labour. And that is well and truly Labours fault.

    Report this comment

    FlintinChalk

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • This is what happens when companies pay the minimum wage, the smallest of errors will result in them breaking the law. As is the case with Debenhams with a £10 under payment claimed by Debenhams in a year to 11,858 workers. However my maths suggests it was £11 per person & not £10, so maybe they need to simply improve their maths. Also why mention Debenhams & not Peacocks ? Peakocks is also on the full list & they have a store in Norwich too. I was however surprised to see Age Concern on the full list. The same with the number of Subway outlets. Subway franchisees would seem to be the worse chain by far, for paying the minimum wage.

    Report this comment

    el84

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • What with this and HMRC's failures to collect tax from the wealthy & non UK corporations suggests that Department isn't fit for purpose. On the other hand they may be working to instructions = do just a little to fool the plebs

    Report this comment

    Rob44

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • Good to see the article has been updated to show which firms you are talking about. It would have been good had you done that in the first place!

    Report this comment

    POGAl

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • What a shame the govt is incapable of naming and shaming its departments and quangos who fleece people, are incompetent and spend to their own in house budget and not to their lower set budgets. As for those of you trotting out the Political party line, get real, it doesn't matter what colour party is power the same things happen. If you believe otherwise, you must run around with blinkers on.

    Report this comment

    manbythesea

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • Absoluetly appauling, let's hope this encourages others to not fall down the same road , too true @Kerryowner, it's not a practical wage at all, especially with the growing amount brexit is allowing UK CEOs and businessowners to get away with. With bills rising and rising year upon year and pay freezes and pay growth at an all time low, it's no wonder there is a huge, ever rising homeless problem!

    Report this comment

    Garbador

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • THIS IS WHERE A LABOUR GOVERMENT WOULD AFFECT DECENT CHANGE, THEY WOULD STOP FIRMS PAYING BELOW THE MIN WAGE OR THE WAGE THEY ARE OWED. PROBLEM IS CORBYN AND HIS ALLIES ARE A JOKE THOU SOME OF HIS POLICES ARE GOOD. THE REAL BRAINS LIKE TRISTIAN HUNT AND ALISTAIR CAMPBELL TYPES HAVE LEFT LEAVING A FAR LEFT PARTY THAT PUTS IMMIGRANTS FIRST BEFORE ITS OWN VOTERS!

    Report this comment

    bencaren

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • POGAL. They are not going to post the complete list, they are one of them. TimesOnline posted them all

    Report this comment

    NR_Proud

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • This is disgusting, the "National living wage" brought in by the government is NOT a living wage at all (just a surviving wage I think) so to have some employers paying their staff less than this is terrible!

    Report this comment

    Kerryowner

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • Come on Archant - name and shame them then! Your headline says that East Anglian firms are involved but you fail to give any details. Your story is almost word for word the same as I have read on newspaper websites earlier today!

    Report this comment

    POGAl

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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