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HMRC enforcers target London businesses
Almost half of 70 businesses visited in a series of operations in the London Borough of Newham are being investigated on suspicion of failing to pay the national minimum wage.
HM Revenue & Customs officers were taking part in Operation Vermont, a multi-agency exercise which ran for six weeks in May and June. During this time 31 businesses were suspected to be underpaying workers, or were considered a significant risk requiring further HMRC investigation. It is thought that approximately 100 workers could be owed a total of £30,000.
Michelle Wyer, Assistant Director National Minimum Wage, HMRC explains:
"Operation Vermont allowed us to get into the heart of Newham and tackle deliberately non-compliant employers. We will not hesitate to use our full enforcement powers to ensure that workers receive at least the national minimum wage."
Operation Vermont was the first exercise of its kind in the UK. Other organisations involved included the UK Border Agency, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills; the Employment Agency Standards; Department for Work & Pensions; Metropolitan Police and Newham Council.
HMRC NMW enforcement officers will issue penalties, which could be as much as £5000, to businesses found to be paying their workers less than NMW. They will also be required to pay any underpaid back wages at today's NMW rates.
HMRC officers will carry out further investigations into the activities of the businesses suspected of failing to meet NMW, tax and national insurance.
Details of the current national minimum wage payment rates that came into force on 1st October 2011 can be found at www.bis.gov.uk Anyone who thinks they are not being paid the national minimum wage or has concerns about an employment agency or business can call the Pay and Work Rights helpline on 0800 917 2368 in confidence.
19th July 2012