A COLCHESTER hairdresser has been named and shamed after failing to pay the minimum wage to her staff.

As part of a new crackdown the Government today released the names of 25 businesses breaking the rules.

Sue English, of Legends Hairdressers, Iceni Way, Colchester, was among them.

The report states she underpaid a member of staff by £823.40.

As a result she could face fines many times higher than the breach.

Master Distribution Ltd from Essex were also among the names on the list after failing to pay £718.62 to a worker.

It is the biggest number of employers publicly named since a new regime was announced last year.

The Government also plans to increase fines, so that an employer underpaying ten workers could face penalties of up to £200,000.

Business Minister Jenny Willott said: "Paying less than the minimum wage is not only wrong, it's illegal.

"If employers break the law they need to know that they will face tough consequences.

"Any worker who is entitled to the minimum wage should receive it.

"If anyone suspects they are not being paid the wage they are legally entitled to they should call the Pay and Work Rights helpline on 0800 917 2368."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "It's great that minimum wage crooks are finally getting named and shamed.

"Under-paying your lowest paid staff is immoral and illegal. Employers caught in the act deserve to be fined and have their reputation ruined.

"This should send a clear message that dodging the minimum wage does not pay. All minimum wage cheats should be named and shamed, and HMRC need greater resources to catch even more crooks."

Neither Essex business could be reached for comment.