National Minimum Wage: 10th June 2015

Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent) (Lab)
9. How many companies in Scotland have been prosecuted for non-compliance with the national minimum wage since 2010. [900158]
 
The Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise (Anna Soubry)
So far no companies have been prosecuted, but we have named the 14 that have not complied with the law. We feel that is the right way to go about things, but if there are serious cases, they are referred to the Crown Prosecution Service in England or the procurator fiscal in Scotland.

Nick Smith
That is just not good enough. Labour wants to see the minimum wage protected, increased and properly enforced, so why not give local authorities the powers to tackle bad employers and enforce the minimum wage properly?

Anna Soubry
I have to disabuse the hon. Gentleman of a few misconceptions. We are actually following guidance that his party’s Government introduced in 2008, and it was good guidance. In very serious cases, companies should be referred onward for prosecution, but those decisions are ultimately left to the CPS or, in the case of Scotland, to the procurator fiscal.

Margaret Ferrier (Rutherglen and Hamilton West) (SNP)
I congratulate the Secretary of State on his position. Everyone across the Chamber will agree that it is vital to enforce the minimum wage, but does the Secretary of State agree that we need to go further to deliver a fair wage for thousands of our fellow citizens? Will he now confirm the answer he failed to give to my hon. Friend the Member for Moray (Angus Robertson): when will his Department become an accredited wage employer?

Anna Soubry
I remind the hon. Lady that the minimum wage will be going up in October. It is up to employers to make sure they pay the wages they seek and want to. It is also important to remember that as a result of the policies of this Government, we have reduced the amount of taxation the low paid are paying. That is the right thing to do. Take low-paid people out of taxation—a Conservative policy.