The East Anglian businesses named and shamed in the latest government underpayment list
- Credit: Archant
A hairdresser, a care company and a fish and chip shop are among the East Anglian businesses named by the government for failing to pay the minimum wage.
They featured on a list from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which named and shamed 233 companies across the UK – a drop from the 360 firms named in the previous list in February.
The rebranded minimum wage - now known as the national living wage - is currently £7.50 for workers over 25 following an increase in April, with lower rates for younger ages.
Among the firms were Norwich company NR Care, city hairdresser John Oliver, King's Summer Homes in Cromer, Breckland Care at Home Community Interest Company, Cozy Pubs (in relation to the Eight Bells in Saffron Walden), and Fish Dish in Felixstowe.
Some firms cited one-off incidents with staff and accounting errors.
Business minister Margot James said £2m had been recovered in back pay for workers from the companies, with £1.9m also paid by employers in fines.
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The most prominent sectors on the list were hairdressers and other beauty firms, hospitality companies and retailers.
Rebekah Bedingfield, a director at Future 50 company NR Care, said an error by an external payroll company was responsible for the firm's underpayment of five staff.
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She said while the company respected HMRC's intentions with naming and shaming she felt the scheme was 'slightly misguided'.
'We fully co-operated with the HMRC investigation and it was a situation that should not have arisen, was outside of our control and was remedied as soon as it came to our attention,' she said.
'It is a big leap from what happened in this case to what is implied by saying an employer has failed to pay an employee National Minimum Wage.'
Sarah Stock, managing director of Independence Matters, which now owns Breckland Care at Home, said the underpayment related to an 'isolated incident' with one staff member and that the company took the issue of pay 'very seriously'.
Fish Dish owner Alper Tekin said his firm's discrepancy may have resulted from an accounting error, but insisted he always paid his staff properly.
Paul Cutsforth, a director at Cozy Pubs, said the company's breach had arisen as it charged live-in staff at the Eight Bells for accommodation, bills and food. He added that the breach had been rectified quickly.
John Oliver declined to comment. This newspaper was unable to reach King's Summer Homes.
The East of England companies named in the list are:
Deborah Marsh and Kathryn Johnston trading as FX Hair & Beauty, Broxborne EN8, failed to pay £4,790.72 to one worker.
King's Summer Homes Limited, North Norfolk NR27, failed to pay £3,974.94 to one worker.
Smiles Montessori Preschool (Bush Fair) Limited, Harlow CM18, failed to pay £3,904.90 to three workers.
Wych Elm Car Wash Ltd, Harlow CM20, failed to pay £3,293.24 to five workers.
NR Care Ltd, Norwich NR1, failed to pay £2,159.88 to five workers.
John Oliver (Norwich) Ltd trading as John Olivers, Norwich NR1, failed to pay £1,490.77 to five workers.
Mr Sejdi Laci trading as Laci's Hand Car Wash, Harlow CM18, failed to pay £1,346 to three workers.
Core Accounts Limited, St Albans AL3, failed to pay £1,117 to two workers.
Christopher Bartholomew Till trading as Hub Hairdressing, Brentwood CM14, failed to pay £916.69 to one worker.
Savi Hairdressing Limited, Peterborough PE2, failed to pay £473.49 to one worker.
Cozy Pubs Limited trading as The Eight Bells, Uttlesford CB10, failed to pay £425.26 to one worker.
The Fish Shop EN Limited trading as Fish Dish, Suffolk Coastal IP11, failed to pay £249.98 to one worker.
Breckland Care at Home Community Interest Company, Breckland NR20, failed to pay £240.60 to one worker.
Peterborough Heating Solutions Ltd, Fenland PE7, failed to pay £205.70 to one worker.