Stones Ashford hiatus continues

Jo Francis
Friday, November 24, 2017

Employees at Stones Ashford are still waiting for an administrator to be appointed to the business, one week after its abrupt shutdown.

Earlier this week, directors of the company said that the appointment of an administrator was imminent, but no further information was available at the time of writing.

Stones Ashford employed around 111 staff, and employees have vented their frustration at being left in a state of limbo. It is not clear whether they will be paid for work carried out this month, or not.

It has also emerged that HMRC does not appear to be aware that workers were actually employed by Stones Ashford.

Some of the employees have recently received HMRC rebates relating to the administration of their former employee Headley Brothers, and as a result a question mark has been raised over their current status.

“The majority of us got a rebate from HMRC, because of Headleys,” one Stones Ashford worker told PrintWeek.

“When I contacted HMRC to query it they said ‘we have no record of you being employed since February’ and I’ve subsequently found out that the same goes for my colleagues. I’m concerned about what this means for our PAYE and National Insurance contributions.”

Henry Stone managing director Richard Walsh has not responded to requests for comment about the appointment of an administrator, or the apparent HMRC anomaly.

When contacted by PrintWeek, an HMRC spokesperson explained that HMRC does not discuss identifiable taxpayers, be that individuals or businesses.

The general advice to concerned employees is as follows:

If an employee, for whatever reason, is unable to speak with their payroll section about their Income Tax or National Insurance, they should contact the HMRC Personal Taxes Helpline on 0300 200 3300 (Textphone 0300 200 3319 for deaf or hearing/speech impaired customers).

The helpline is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday; 8am to 4pm on Saturday; and 9am to 5pm on Sunday. They should have their National Insurance number ready when they call. 

Anyone who suspects that an employer is not paying their workers Income Tax or National Insurance can report this to the HMRC Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.  

Stones Ashford ceased operations last Friday afternoon (17 November) after the firm’s power was cut off by electricity supplier E.On. PrintWeek has subsequently learned that E.On had issued a winding-up petition against the company, which was due to be heard in January.

The management and investment team behind Henry Stone Printers in Banbury acquired the former Headley Brothers business in a pre-pack deal at the beginning of March. 

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