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Nursery owner who cheated 180 employees is jailed for £1m tax fraud

Michael Scott cheated more than 180 employees Credit: HMRC

The co-owner of a Hampshire chain of children’s nurseries who stole£950,000 from his employees - through money deducted from their salaries as tax and National Insurance - has been jailed for five and a half years.

Michael Scott, 63, from Locks Heath, cheated more than 180 employees by deducting Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from the salaries of his workers, but then failed to declare and pay the money to HM Revenue and Customs. He also failed to declare and pay employer National Insurance.

HMRC began to investigate after former employees raised concerns about gaps in their Income Tax and National Insurance records. The investigation revealed that he had been stealing from his employees for more than four and a half years, between April 2007 and November 2011.

Scott, who owns a vast property portfolio and a private aircraft, pleaded not guilty at Southampton Crown Court on 12 November 2013 and was found guilty by a jury on 17 June 2015.

Michael Scott brazenly robbed his employees and lined his own pockets at the expense of the wider taxpaying public. Tax was deducted and shown on payslips but the money was not handed over to HMRC, leading to gaps in employees’ tax records.

HMRC is working with the victims of this fraud to correct their tax and contributions records. People with information about suspected fraud can contact the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.

– John Cooper, HMRC

Sentencing, His Honour Judge Henry said Scott this type of fraud went right to the heart of society. He said Scott has cheated his fellow citizens.

Alcohol duty crippling English wine industry

High levels of taxation are strangling the English wine-growing industry. That's the warning tonight from vineyards in the south east, where more than a quarter of all English wine

They say the duty on alcohol has risen by 50% in five years, and is still going up by more than the rate of inflation.

For an average bottle of wine, tax accounts for 57% of the price.The tax on spirits is even higher, at 79%.While the figure on a pint of beer is 33%.

But alcohol duty is an important source of revenue for the Government, & doctors say cheaper booze could encourage alcohol abuse. Malcolm Shaw reports

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