THE pub and nightclub empire run by entertainment entrepreneur Stefan King has been named and shamed by the UK Government for failing to pay staff the National Minimum Wage.


Mr King's G1 topped a list of companies across Britain which face penalties for neglecting to pay the required legal minimum.

In all, 48 companies were outed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) as part of a scheme introduced 18-months ago to name and shame employers who break the law.

Between them, the companies named owe workers over £162,000 in arrears. G1 accounts for almost one third of the total, having shortchanged 2985 workers by over £45,000.

The statement issued by BIS said those affected had been employed at G1's Venues Ltd Arta Restaurant.

Others named by BIS are involved in sectors including fashion, publishing, hospitality, health and fitness, automotive, care, and retail featuring high street names Footlocker and French Connection.

The only other two Scots firms highlighted are Fullworks, a hairdressers in Irvine, North Ayrshire, and a nursery in Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, Glenview Cottage.

It is understood the complaint regarding G1 most likely came from a member of staff, with HMRC then investigating, including checking financial information and interviewing staff.

Just two months ago G1 was removed from a government training scheme after the discovery of major financial irregularities.

An investigation by funder Skills Development Scotland discovered huge sums of money which had been incorrectly paid to G1's training company.

Confronted by the evidence, the firm agreed to repay £411,834 and was immediately suspended from the scheme and told it was getting no more public cash for Modern Apprenticeship training schemes during the current financial year at least.

Business Minister and East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson said: "There's no excuse for companies that don't pay staff the wages they're entitled to, whether by wilfully breaking the law, or making irresponsible mistakes.

"The Government is protecting workers by cracking down on employers who ignore minimum wage rules. In addition to naming and shaming, we've increased the penalty fines and boosted the resources available to investigate non-compliance."

Ian Tasker, assistant secretary of the STUC, said: "We had heard anecdotally that there'd been some concerns from individuals within that group. And that is a significant underpayment.

"Clearly we welcome the naming and shaming of companies underpaying staff and where this is found to be intentional we'd also like to see more sanctions applied. And this publicised too."

Legally, workers over 21 must be paid at least £6.50 per hour, with the rate for 18 to 20-year olds £5.13 per hour

Employees from 16 to 17-year-old are required to be paid at least £3.79 per hour, with an apprentice rate of £2.73 per hour.

The Government revised the naming scheme in October 2013 to make it simpler to name and shame employers who break the law. Since then it has named all employers issued with a Notice of Underpayment (NoU) unless they meet one of the exceptional criteria or have arrears of £100 or less.

They are given 28 days to appeal to HMRC against the NoU. If this is unsuccessful BIS considers them for naming. The employer then has 14 days to make representations to BIS outlining any exceptional criteria such as risk of personal harm to an individual or their family or national security issues.

The latest round brings the number of companies named and shamed under the new regime to 210, with total arrears of over £635,000 and total penalties of over £248,000.

No-one from G1 Group was available.