Bosses at East Lancashire’s Michelin-starred Northcote hotel and restaurant are angered after being ‘named and shamed’ again by the Government for paying 16 workers less than the national minimum wage.

The award-winning gourmet venue is one of three companies in East Lancashire which the government today revealed had flouted the low-pay laws.

However, bosses at the Ribble Valley venue say they are baffled as to why they are still on the Government's list after they were initially named in 2017 for failing to pay 22 of their staff the minimum wage, totalling £6,621.82 between 2011 and 2018.

At the time, managing director of Northcote hotel and restaurant in Langho, Craig Bancroft, said most of his £6,621.82 underpayment related to the hotel reclaiming cash advances to employees from their subsequent wage packets.

Whereas today, Mr Bancroft said the publishing of the new list, which has retrospectively named Northcote as failing to pay 16 workers correctly, was a re-hash of old information, focused on a period of just nine months and was effectively misleading.

There have not been any new offences committed by Northcote and the company has had an unblemished record since the 2017 discrepencies were brought to light.

He said "This refers to an incident in 2015/16 when Northcote Hotel Ltd was listed on the government review.

"The re-release today refers to breaches from 2011 to 2018.

"It is some five years ago and has no relevance to the way our business operates today or since that date.

"There have been no national minimum wage underpayment discrepancies at Northcote - we have an unblemished record over the last five years.

"We are at a loss to understand why this is news again today."

Following investigations by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, a total of £2.1million was found to be owed to more than 34,000 workers from 191 businesses across the country.

HMRC say Norcote, trading as Northcote Hotel Limited, in Langho, failed to pay £2,949.33 to 16 workers.

Kinetic Law Ltd, in Blackburn failed to pay £912.4 to one worker; while Carpet Kingdom Ltd, also in Blackburn, failed to pay £693.57 to two workers.

The breaches in pay took place between 2011 and 2018 and all employers named on the Government's list have since been made to pay back what they owed, and were fined an additional £3.2million, showing it is never acceptable to underpay workers.

A spokesperson for Carpet Kingdom said the discrepancy in pay for two of their workers was an oversight down to miscommunication between the company and their apprenticeship service provider.

Lancashire firms 'named and shamed' for not paying minimum wage properly - including Michelin-starred Northcote

The spokesperson said: "We had a couple of apprentices start with us but their start dates were entered incorrectly, so for the first week they were paid an apprentice wage when they were supposed to have been paid one week at the national minimum wage."

Kinetic Law have been approached for comment.

Lancashire Telegraph:

The employers named by the Government previously underpaid workers in the following ways:

  • 47 per cent wrongly deducted pay from workers’ wages, including for uniform and expenses
  • 30 per cent failed to pay workers for all the time they had worked, such as when they worked overtime
  • 19 per cent paid the incorrect apprenticeship rate

Business Minister Paul Scully said: "Our minimum wage laws are there to ensure a fair day’s work gets a fair day’s pay – it is unacceptable for any company to come up short.

"All employers, including those on this list, need to pay workers properly.

"This government will continue to protect workers’ rights vigilantly, and employers that short-change workers won’t get off lightly.

Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage have to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates.

They also face fines, capped at £20,000 per worker - which are paid to the government.

Since 2015 the government has ordered employers to repay over £100million to one million workers.

A significant number of the minimum wage breaches identified by HMRC affected those on apprenticeships.

In April the government gave millions of people a pay rise, by increasing the national living wage and national minimum wage rates, meaning someone working full time on the national living wage will be taking home £5,400 more annually than they were in 2010.

Every single UK worker is entitled to the national minimum wage, no matter their age or profession.

Whilst not all minimum wage underpayments are intentional, it has always been the responsibility of all employers to abide by the law.

The Government has now published new guidance on their website to ensure employers know exactly what they need to do to pay their apprentices, and all workers, correctly.

Chair of the Low Pay Commission, Bryan Sanderson said: "These are very difficult times for all workers, particularly those on low pay who are often undertaking critical tasks in a variety of key sectors including care.

"The minimum wage provides a crucial level of support and compliance is essential for the benefit of both the recipients and our society as a whole."

Three more companies within Lancashire also failed to pay their workers the national minimum wage:

  • Lyndon Resources Limited, Fylde, for failing to pay £2,251.3 to three workers
  • Lyndon Subcontractors Limited, Fylde, who failed to pay £1,323.1 to one worker
  • Whoop Hall (2006) Limited, trading as The Whoop Hall Inn, Lancaster, failed to pay £1,820.43 to 12 workers