§ Mrs. Curtis-Thomas:
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many successful prosecutions for failure to pay the national minimum wage there have been in Crosby. 
§ Mr. Sutcliffe:
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.
In 2002–03, 1,996 employers in the UK were found by the Inland Revenue not to be complying with the minimum wage regulations. The north-west region accounted for 181 of these employers.
In addition, the Inland Revenue identified over £3.5 million in arrears. The majority of employers complied without further action being needed and only 26 enforcement notices were issued. To date there have been no criminal prosecutions in relation to underpayment of the minimum wage.