A nationally renowned North East business has been named and shamed by the government for failing to pay the minimum wage. 

Greggs Plc, which is headquartered in Newcastle and runs 2,269 popular pastry shop branches across the UK, failed to pay over £219,000 to 4,973 workers. 

But, the sausage roll retailer argued that the discrepancy was due to an "unintended error" with the company's uniform policy. 

HMRC reported that Greggs Plc, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE12, failed to pay £219,129.07 to 4,793 workers.

A Greggs spokesperson said:  "During a review with HMRC, it was brought to our attention that our uniform policy for retail colleagues was not aligned with HMRC's interpretation of national minimum wage regulations, and as a result, we revised our uniform policy in January 2018. 

"Once the review was concluded, we reimbursed colleagues and former colleagues who had been impacted by this unintended error."

The information about Greggs comes as part of a list of 524 companies revealed by the government that failed to pay their employees in line with the national living wage. 

There were 28 other North East-based companies that were also featured on the list, including the popular resort Flamingo Land Limited in Malton, and Coldtech Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Ltd, Middlesbrough. 

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In investigations that HMRC conducted and closed between 2015 and 2023, officers found that there had been numerous breaches of the national minimum wage at companies in the UK.

This included making employees pay for their uniforms out of wages, and deductions illegally made to cover the cost of PPE, food, childcare and training costs.

Currently, the national minimum wage (NMW) is £10.42 per hour for over-21s, due to rise to £11.44 in April, and £7.49 and £8.60 respectively for 18- to 20-year-olds.