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November 29 2017
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Operator is first UK firm in
court over pensions failure

In the first prosecution of its kind by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) - the statutory UK regulator of work-based pension schemes - a bus company and its MD have been convicted of deliberately failing to give their staff workplace pensions.

Stotts Tours (Oldham) and Alan Stott pleaded guilty at Brighton Magistrates’ Court to 16 offences of wilfully failing to comply with the law on workplace pensions.

Stotts Tours (Oldham) and Alan Stott pleaded guilty

They will sentenced on 14 December. Wilful failure to comply with the automatic enrolment duty is punishable with an unlimited fine in a magistrates’ court, and up to two years’ imprisonment in the Crown Court.

TPR is separately pursuing Stotts Tours (Oldham) for £14,400 in civil fines imposed for non-compliance.

The long-standing firm - not to be confused with the similarly named but unconnected E Stott & Sons of Huddersfield - specialises in contracted bus routes in the Manchester area.

TPR found that 36 staff should have been put into a pension scheme. It decided that the company’s failure to comply with the law was deliberate and merited criminal prosecution.

The firm should have put its staff into a workplace pension and begun paying pension contributions from June 2015.

All UK employers are required by law under the Pensions Act 2008 to put staff meeting certain eligibility criteria into a pension scheme and pay minimum employer pension contributions.

This is called automatic enrolment because the employer is required to do it without any input from the worker.

Darren Ryder, TPR’s Director of Automatic Enrolment, says: “Automatic enrolment is not an option, it is the law.

“Employers should be in no doubt that if they wilfully refuse to become compliant they could end up with a criminal record – and will still have to give their staff the pensions they are due.”

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