HC Deb 12 December 2002 vol 396 cc475-6W
Mr. Frank Field

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of recipients of the working families tax credit who are paid below the minimum wage; and what recent work his Department has undertaken to prosecute firms paying below the minimum wage. [86914]

Dawn Primarolo

The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 contains a number of provisions empowering enforcement officers to take civil action against non-paying employers and the Inland Revenue always uses these in the first instance.

Since the national minimum wage was introduced in April 1999 the Inland Revenue has issued around 450 enforcement notices requiring employers to start paying the minimum wage and make good any arrears, and identified over £11 million in arrears. A minority of disputed cases have been considered by employment tribunals. To date there have been no criminal prosecutions in relation to underpayment of the minimum wage.