One of Yorkshire’s oldest breweries, Samuel Smith and its chairman Humphrey Smith, has been fined £27,990 for failing to hand over information to The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
TPR asked for information about Samuel Smith Old Brewery’s financial position in 2015 to determine whether the brewery was earning enough to support its pension schemes.The information was was provided three months after the deadline expired, and only after criminal proceedings were already underway.
At Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Monday 30 July, company chairman Humphrey Smith was fined £8,000 and Samuel Smith Old Brewery fined £18,750. They were also ordered to pay £1,240 in costs and victim surcharges.
Both pleaded guilty at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 15 May to the charge of neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents without a reasonable excuse. Humphrey Smith was charged on the basis that he “consented to or connived in the offence” by the company, or caused it by his neglect.
Nicola Parish, TPR’s executive director of frontline regulation, said: “Mr Smith and the brewery could have avoided this fine and a criminal conviction by simply complying with our notice requiring the information to be provided. Our ability to request information is a necessary part of our regulatory toolkit and we take it very seriously when parties do not cooperate with us.
“People who ignore our notices asking them to provide information should expect us to launch a criminal prosecution. As Mr Smith has discovered, becoming compliant with our requests after a court summons has been served will not halt criminal proceedings.”