A HEREFORDSHIRE farm has spoken out after a staff trip to Alton Towers saw them 'named and shamed' by the Government.

AS Green Ltd, based at Rook Row Farm in Mathon, Herefordshire, appeared on the Government's list of businesses who had failed to pay workers national minimum wage which was published yesterday (December 9).

But, director Caroline Green said, the farm had not deliberately underpaid their workers but had instead fallen foul of minimum wage rules after money was deducted from wages to pay for the day trip.

The problem came about after Mrs Green booked and paid for a coach trip for staff to go to the theme park, for which staff would reimburse the business by a deduction from wages, but at a considerably discounted rate due to the number in the party.

The issue was picked up when two HMRC inspectors and a GLAA officer (the GLAA regulates businesses using labour in the fresh produce supply chain) had arrived for an unannounced inspection at the farm.


"What we found out from the investigation was that you are not allowed to attach deductions to wages except for statutory deductions," Mrs Green said.

"We had booked a trip to Alton Towers for staff and claimed money back from them, but that then brought staff who were not being paid on a piecework basis under minimum wage.

"We are a bit like the nursery (Wyeside Day Nursery, in Hereford's Eign Road) in that we did not understand that we could not do that."

Mrs Green said that HMRC staff dealing with the investigation had been superb and that they had been made aware that the list would be published yesterday by the Government.

The GLAA officer found no problems at all with the farm, Mrs Green said.