TPR prosecutes bus company and boss for AE avoidance

Written by Talya Misiri

Bus company Stotts Tour and its managing director Alan Stott have been prosecuted by The Pensions Regulator for deliberately avoiding their auto-enrolment duties.

Stotts Tours (Oldham) and boss Stott were found guilty for a total of 16 offences of “wilfully” failing to comply with the law on workplace pensions. This case is the first of its kind to be prosecuted by the regulator.

The firm was due to auto-enrol 36 staff members in a workplace pension and begin paying contributions from June 2015. TPR concluded that Stotts Tours' failure to comply was deliberate, thus meriting criminal prosecution of both the company and its managing director.

Under section 3(2) auto-enrolment duty of the Pensions Act 2008 Stotts Tours and its boss pleaded guilty to eight counts of wilful failure to comply. This is in contrary to section 45(1) of the same Act, when the case was heard by the Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 10 November, TPR noted.

In addition, the regulator is separately pursuing Stotts Tours for £14,000 in civil fines imposed for non-compliance.

TPR director of automatic enrolment Darren Ryder said: “Dozens of staff at the company were entitled to workplace pensions but were denied them because their employer deliberately failed to set them up.

“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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