HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has created a new enforcement team to crack down on employers who are failing to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage (NMW).
The Dynamic Response Team will concentrate on the most high-profile and complex cases, including those where employers seek to undercut their competitors by paying migrant workers at less than the statutory rate.
Specialist officers will work with in conjunction with other Government departments and local authorities to deal with employers who are not complying with the regulations.
Business minister Pat McFadden said, 'The Government and HMRC are doing more than ever to make sure that those entitled to the minimum wage are receiving it.
'Evasion hurts both workers and responsible employers who play by the rules so we are stepping up our fight against nonpayment of the minimum wage.
The current minimum wage rates are £5.80 an hour for adults, £4.83 for those aged 18-21, and £3.57 for 16 to 17-year-olds.
Quality pensions in the private sector are in rapid decline, with nine out of 10 defined benefit schemes now closed to new entrants. Those are the findings of a new report conducted by the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA). Meanwhile, the study found that 18% of schemes are closed to future accruals from members.
At the time the research was carried out 91% of schemes were in deficit, with the average ongoing funding level at 79%. ACA chairman, Keith Barton, said these were ‘worrying times for all those looking to retire in the years ahead. He added: “Just 6% of employers responding to the survey say they feel the Government's stated policy of supporting quality workplace pensions is working, down from 38% two years ago. Of the 309 firms quizzed, 24% are considering cutting benefits when they have to enrol all staff in workplace pensions in 2012.”
Commenting, a spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: ‘We are also supporting good quality pension provision through our deregulatory review. We have eased the burden of revaluation and indexation which has the potential to save employers about £250m per year on average in the longer term.
The new 'boiler scrappage scheme', which offers households in England money off the cost of purchasing a new boiler, has come into effect.
The scheme was announced by Chancellor Alistair Darling in the Pre-Budget Report, with the aim of helping to cut carbon emissions, reduce household energy bills, and support jobs within the energy industry. The boiler scrappage scheme offers up to 125,000 households a contribution of £400 towards to the cost of upgrading their boiler to a high efficiency A-rated boiler, or a renewable heating technology.
In order to qualify for the scheme, householders must have a boiler that is at least G-rated. To apply for the cashback voucher, they must first obtain a quote for a new boiler from a qualified installer, and then send details of their existing boiler, the planned replacement and the proposed installer to the Energy Saving Trust (EST).
More information on the scheme is available from the EST website: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.
For further information please contact us on 0845 330 4031