'Book-keeping error' led to Bradford garage being named and shamed over failure to pay minimum wage, bosses say

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Alan King, owner of Arthur Simpson & Co garage, Idle, is pictured with apprentice Ryan Noon Alan King, owner of Arthur Simpson & Co garage, Idle, is pictured with apprentice Ryan Noon

Bosses at a Bradford garage named and shamed by the Government for failing to pay an employee the national minimum wage say they have paid the price - and more - for what they blamed on a simple book-keeping error.

Alan King, 63, who runs Arthur Simpson & Co in Highfield Road, Idle, with his son John, 35, who is the fourth generation of the family to do so, said the mistake in the books, which amounted to about £35 a week over three years, was identified during a HM Customs and Revenues spot-check shortly after Christmas.

Mr King said yesterdayMON: "Fair enough a mistake was made but it was not done intentionally.

"Our family has had this garage for 98 years and we would not have survived all that time and have hundreds of happy, loyal customers if we were in the business of doing things wrong.

"As soon as the mistake was pointed out to us we did everything we could to work with the revenues advisor who was very helpful.

"We have taken the slap, we have paid the price and much more for a mistake that we weren't personally responsible for. My head had to be on the block regardless and all this has taken a heavy toll - I've been depressed."

Mr King also criticised the naming and shaming process.

"As far as this naming and shaming business goes, we were never told this was going to happen," he said.

"We thought everything had been put straight, all the money and more had been paid up - if I'd refused to pay the money and walked away from my debts then I'd deserve it but I don't deserve this."

Arthur Simpson & Co was among 25 employers, including a hire company, a hairdressers, a hotel and a shop, named as part of a new Government minimum wage crackdown.

A spokesman for the Government's Business, Skills and Innovation Department said fact-sheets and letters were routinely given to all employers found not to be paying the national minimum wage re-iterating they could be open to naming and shaming.

The garage is no longer using the services of the book-keeper who had taken care of its finances for t he past 25 years.

Mr King said: "We have completely overhauled how our financial side runs, the pay-roll - everything to make sure this never ever happens again."

He said the 'under-paid' technician who had joined the garage nine years go as a school-leaver and had been supported through college to get qualifications, had never once questioned his wage.

"The full £6,426.12 was not owed to him as such, he got about £2,000 of it - the rest of it was the Government's share and they got the fine money on top of it."

The revenue run-in has not put the Kings' off from taking on trainees.

Mr King said: "We've just taken on a new apprentice. We have to move on from this now."

ends

Comments (7)

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8:34am Tue 10 Jun 14

BCFC1911 says...

A bookkeeping mistake made over 3 whole years? Yeah right sure it was

More like caught out and now fearing losing business off the back of this
A bookkeeping mistake made over 3 whole years? Yeah right sure it was More like caught out and now fearing losing business off the back of this BCFC1911
  • Score: 4

1:02pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Idle HG says...

Kistakes happen, and when a third party is to blame it's hard to sort out.

The interesting thing is that the bulk of money owed for 'under paying wages' has actually gone to the government!

They don't seem bothered about the poor under paid worker, only that they get their slice, and more.
Kistakes happen, and when a third party is to blame it's hard to sort out. The interesting thing is that the bulk of money owed for 'under paying wages' has actually gone to the government! They don't seem bothered about the poor under paid worker, only that they get their slice, and more. Idle HG
  • Score: 1

1:50pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Apollo says...

The one thing that did concern me about the list of companies named and shamed was that most of them were small to medium sized businesses.

I cannot believe no national chain of large business did not fall foul of paying the minimum wage. Perhaps they are just better at covering it up?
The one thing that did concern me about the list of companies named and shamed was that most of them were small to medium sized businesses. I cannot believe no national chain of large business did not fall foul of paying the minimum wage. Perhaps they are just better at covering it up? Apollo
  • Score: 2

1:53pm Tue 10 Jun 14

BCFC1911 says...

Idle HG wrote:
Kistakes happen, and when a third party is to blame it's hard to sort out.

The interesting thing is that the bulk of money owed for 'under paying wages' has actually gone to the government!

They don't seem bothered about the poor under paid worker, only that they get their slice, and more.
True mistakes do happen but when running a business thats what accountants / auditors are for which presumably are paid for

Dont try deflecting the issue here that basically the business committed fraud off the back of the money was owed to the Government. Yes the bulk may have been owed to the government but that makes no difference to bad business control and a complete lack of basic accounting.
[quote][p][bold]Idle HG[/bold] wrote: Kistakes happen, and when a third party is to blame it's hard to sort out. The interesting thing is that the bulk of money owed for 'under paying wages' has actually gone to the government! They don't seem bothered about the poor under paid worker, only that they get their slice, and more.[/p][/quote]True mistakes do happen but when running a business thats what accountants / auditors are for which presumably are paid for Dont try deflecting the issue here that basically the business committed fraud off the back of the money was owed to the Government. Yes the bulk may have been owed to the government but that makes no difference to bad business control and a complete lack of basic accounting. BCFC1911
  • Score: -2

1:54pm Tue 10 Jun 14

BCFC1911 says...

Apollo wrote:
The one thing that did concern me about the list of companies named and shamed was that most of them were small to medium sized businesses.

I cannot believe no national chain of large business did not fall foul of paying the minimum wage. Perhaps they are just better at covering it up?
No its because they are audited and therefore unable to get away with these shady practices
[quote][p][bold]Apollo[/bold] wrote: The one thing that did concern me about the list of companies named and shamed was that most of them were small to medium sized businesses. I cannot believe no national chain of large business did not fall foul of paying the minimum wage. Perhaps they are just better at covering it up?[/p][/quote]No its because they are audited and therefore unable to get away with these shady practices BCFC1911
  • Score: 2

3:05pm Tue 10 Jun 14

imi-r6 says...

If you pay a professional to do your accounts you expect them to do it correctly and advise accordingly. If they have made a mistake its the business owner that pays the price. The original article was on the Sky News website/app and the amount of money from the top 25 companies named and shamed was about £43.000. At the lower end of the scale a company was fined for being £125 out across 8 employees in a year. All this is hardly fraud on a grand scale when you consider what the politicians thieved in expenses or the **** ups by HMCR overcharging. To slag a man off for one mistake is a bit cheap. do you run a business BCFC1911?
If you pay a professional to do your accounts you expect them to do it correctly and advise accordingly. If they have made a mistake its the business owner that pays the price. The original article was on the Sky News website/app and the amount of money from the top 25 companies named and shamed was about £43.000. At the lower end of the scale a company was fined for being £125 out across 8 employees in a year. All this is hardly fraud on a grand scale when you consider what the politicians thieved in expenses or the **** ups by HMCR overcharging. To slag a man off for one mistake is a bit cheap. do you run a business BCFC1911? imi-r6
  • Score: 1

4:42pm Tue 10 Jun 14

BCFC1911 says...

imi-r6 wrote:
If you pay a professional to do your accounts you expect them to do it correctly and advise accordingly. If they have made a mistake its the business owner that pays the price. The original article was on the Sky News website/app and the amount of money from the top 25 companies named and shamed was about £43.000. At the lower end of the scale a company was fined for being £125 out across 8 employees in a year. All this is hardly fraud on a grand scale when you consider what the politicians thieved in expenses or the **** ups by HMCR overcharging. To slag a man off for one mistake is a bit cheap. do you run a business BCFC1911?
No matter...fraud is fraud simple as. And no I dont run a business currently but did do for 35 years so are well aware of how it all works.

Golden rule of running any business......make sure above everything else that your tax affairs and payroll are absolutely spot on
[quote][p][bold]imi-r6[/bold] wrote: If you pay a professional to do your accounts you expect them to do it correctly and advise accordingly. If they have made a mistake its the business owner that pays the price. The original article was on the Sky News website/app and the amount of money from the top 25 companies named and shamed was about £43.000. At the lower end of the scale a company was fined for being £125 out across 8 employees in a year. All this is hardly fraud on a grand scale when you consider what the politicians thieved in expenses or the **** ups by HMCR overcharging. To slag a man off for one mistake is a bit cheap. do you run a business BCFC1911?[/p][/quote]No matter...fraud is fraud simple as. And no I dont run a business currently but did do for 35 years so are well aware of how it all works. Golden rule of running any business......make sure above everything else that your tax affairs and payroll are absolutely spot on BCFC1911
  • Score: 3

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