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9am Lowdown

9am Lowdown: Debenhams tops NMW name & shame list

16th Feb 2017
Editor AccountingWEB
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Good morning. Let’s see what’s happening in the accounting world on this fine Thursday morning.

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Debenhams tops NMW name & shame list

Department store Debenhams has topped the list of 360 businesses which have failed to pay their staff the minimum wage.

As the BBC reports, Debenhams short changed 12,000 workers and had to repay £134,000 after an accounting error caused half the workforce to be £11 short in wages.  The biggest offenders were employees in hairdressing and hospitality.

Businesses used excuses like using tips to top up pay and docking workers’ wages to pay for their Christmas party.

A spokesman for the department store said: “As a responsible employer Debenhams is committed to the national minimum wage, and as soon as the error was identified by a routine HMRC audit last year we reimbursed all those affected.

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Gauke defends business rates changes

David Gauke has defended the government’s plans to increase business rates from April, saying the vast majority of businesses will see new change.  

The Guardian reports that despite the chief secretary to the Treasury’s robust defence of the changes to business rates, there’s growing speculation that Philip Hammond could reverse the move in next month’s Budget. The business rates changes are a result of a new revaluation of the rental value of property in Britain.

Hitting back, Gauke said: “Far from the picture painted by scaremongering ratings agents, nearly three quarters of businesses will actually see no change, or even a fall, in their business rates bills.”

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FRC wants more powers

The FRC wants the government to give it more powers to punish company directors caught up in financial reporting breaches.

According to Reuters, the financial watchdog called for fundamental review of its existing powers after the publication of a government discussion paper on reforming corporate governance. The FRC also wants company boards to take better account of stakeholder views.

In a statement, the FRC Chairman Win Bischoff said: “In pursuing any changes, the current strengths of UK governance: the unitary board, strong shareholder rights, the role of stewardship and the 'comply or explain' approach, must be preserved,"

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