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More than 5,000 low paid workers across the UK have received ...
More than 5,000 low paid workers across the UK have received

a Christmas pay boost following a crackdown on 'scrooge bosses' who

fail to pay workers the national minimum wage, employment relations

minister Gerry Sutcliffe announced today.

Almost £1.8m in wage arrears has been uncovered over the past

seven months by Inland Revenue minimum wage enforcement teams, and

3,607 cases were identified and investigated during this period.

This brings the total wage arrears recovered since the introduction

of the national minimum wage in April 1999 to more than £14m.

Mr Sutcliffe said:

'These figures send a clear message to unscrupulous bosses that we

will pursue those who are not paying the minimum wage. We are

committed to providing workers with decent minimum standards and

ensuring fairness in the workplace.

'Most employers in the UK are complying with the minimum wage because

they know that decent wages mean a well-motivated workforce which in

turn encourages enhanced business competitiveness and performance,

but a small percentage still refuse to comply.

'I'm delighted that this pay boost has been identified in time for

Christmas and hope that the employers work hard to ensure payment of

the arrears as soon as possible.'


1. Recent cases where workers have received arrears include;

Two female hairdressers in Cambridge received more than £1,200 in

wage arrears. Both were young workers on apprenticeship schemes -

when they reached the age of 18 the employer should have started

paying the minimum wage but failed to do so.

A father in London was employing his daughter to work on his fruit

and veg stall. He wasn't aware that the rates increased each year and

was paying her as per 1999 rates. She received arrears amounting to


A young male worker in East Kilbride was employed at an

electrical/hardware store. He continued to be paid at the youth rate

following his 22nd birthday which resulted in an underpayment of


In Exeter a young female worker was employed in a Day Nursery to look

after children under the age of five. It was found that she was not

receiving the minimum wage and following investigate she was paid

arrears amounting to £1,404 by her employer.

2. DTI region/arrears of pay identified/number of workers benefiting

NMW CASES PER DTI REGION 01/04/03 - 30/11/03

Region Arrears Cases Helpline Workers



South West 220,982 281 81 581

South East 279,236 346 89 326

East 62,597 180 116 208

East Midlands 87,527 194 101 301

West Midlands 107,583 265 114 1,007

North West 71,623 395 143 483

Yorks/Humberside 78,357 332 123 339

North East 70,384 223 95 168

London 301,445 512 136 798

Wales 113,559 294 63 240

Northern Ireland 163,089 208 71 408

Scotland 209,115 294 165 865

Merseyside 34,091 83 31 53

TOTALS 1,799,588 3,607 1,328 5,777

3. The minimum wage is enforced by the Inland Revenue. Anyone who

thinks they are not being paid the minimum wage should call the

helpline on 0845 6000 678 or use the interactive website - - which provides guidance for both employees and


4. The hourly NMW rate for adults aged 22 or over is now £4.50 and

is £3.80 for 18-21 year olds.

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