Punishment doesn’t fit the crime of Peterborough business owner

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

I’d be the last person in the world to defend businessmen who don’t pay staff a legal wage.

It’s one thing being a wealth creator, another exploiting and getting rich at somebody else’s expense.

But I was a little perturbed by the Government’s naming and shaming of Peterborough employer Mr Mohan Sahota.

Business minister Margot James in backing the exposure of 360 offending employers nationwide thundered: “We are sending the clear message that minimum wage abuses will not go unpunished.’’

Good for her standing up for the little man against the fat cats, I thought. But then I read Mr Sahota’s comments.

Mr Sahota, who owns Toni’s Fish Bar in Herlington, Orton Malborne responded: “I bought the business about a year ago and was not aware what people were being paid. My accountant raised the issue and we sorted it out and the money was paid.

“I think it is unfair to highlight one small business in this way.”

I think he has a point. He’s not entirely blameless – it was his responsibility from day one of owning the business to ensure staff were paid a legal wage – but does his punishment fit his ‘crime’?

What a shame the Government doesn’t show the same zeal in dealing with hugely profitable tax avoiding big business as it obviously does with this city chippy... which now doesn’t even employ a single member of staff.

Love and Kate

I’m not a big fan of the Royal family, but hats off to the Duchess of Cambridge who recently visited RAF Wittering.

The Duchess clearly enjoyed every minute of her visit and smiled her way through it much to the delight of everybody there.

Parking lesson

I have absolutely no sympathy for parents who drive and park badly around schools. There is no excuse for their bad behaviour. However, we all have cars, we all have busy lives, and sadly letting children get to school under their own steam involves a whole new set of dangers.

Telling the offending parents not to do it, is no solution at all as we can all see.

We need some creative thinking – perhaps staggered start times or mini park and rides?

Boo who?

Controversial football manager Neil Warnock joked when he dies he wants a minute’s booing at all the clubs whose supporters didn’t like him.
For that comment alone he deserves applause.

Parking lesson

When I first moved to Peterborough I rented a home in the lovely village of Castor.

My former neighbours are now battling to halt plans for a huge new development in nearby countryside.

Peterborians will remember that back in the day of the development corporation the village was earmarked to be a township. Those plans were fought and the residents succeeded and I don’t doubt they will again. It never harms to have wealthy and powerful people in your camp.