Raunds firm angry after it appears on blacklist

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A business in Raunds has spoken out after being named in a report for not paying its staff the statutory minimum wage.

Rick Calder, of Avenue Agricultural, said: “Our business has traded in the East Midlands area for 22 years and has provided employment to over 30 people.

“We were very surprised to see our name in a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills list of businesses named and shamed for paying below the minimum wage.

“The facts are that we were induced by an employment agency that was unauthorised to hire apprentices.

“When it transpired that the person hired was also over-qualified for the apprentice scheme/
position applied for and that Northampton College could not support him with a suitable course, he moved on.

“An official from HMRC who visited us over the matter advised us to pay the difference between the apprentice wage and the full minimum wage to the person concerned, which we did.

“The official from HMRC agreed that there was no intention on our part to avoid paying the minimum wage. We have written to the department protesting that it is unfair treatment to put us on this published blacklist.”