'The money should have gone straight out of my Guild Hall wages to my daughter's nursery. They say I owe £2,400. Where's it gone?'
A former Preston Guild Hall employee owes more than £2,000 to his daughter’s nursery after payments taken out of his wages were not passed onto the childcare company.
Jack Rodriguez, from Chorley, says the Guild Hall failed to pay the money he put into a Government Scheme for tax-free childcare, on to Woodlands Day Nursery in Carr Lane, Chorley for nine months.He wants to know where the money has gone after it has left him with a debt of £2,430. When approached on the issue former director of the Guild Hall Simon Rigby directed the Post to the Administrator, Bev Budsworth of The Business Debt Adviser, who was not able to comment but says the issue is under investigation.Jack, 24, who worked on the technical team at the Guild Hall, said: “When Ella was born my partner Rosie did her maternity leave and she went back to work.
“I agreed a salary sacrifice of £343 a month which comes out of my wages before tax and goes to this childcare voucher scheme called Kiddicare.
“That was fine for two years but I didn’t notice that we had stopped paying it up until May.”
Jack says he had not noticed that the money was not being transferred to Woodlands Day Nursery because he had no reason to check his online Kiddicare account with Government outsourcing partner Wider Plan as payments were made automatically.
In turn the nursery had not notice it was not receiving the money because of a mix up with another child.
Jack only noticed when he looked at the site in June this year, after the Guild Hall shut when it was up to him to pay for Ella’s childcare.
“I looked at the website and that’s when I noticed that the last payment was in August 2018,” he said.
“When I investigated it I found out the Guild Hall had not been paying the childcare voucher to KiddiVouchers Childcare. They had been deducting the money but not passing it on so we are trying to find out where the money has gone.
“The last payment was made in August last year.
“We have now got a £2,500 bill and I’m unemployed.
“The nursery has been really kind about it and they said that Ella won’t lose her place but they still need the money. If I don’t get the money back I don’t know how I’m going to pay it.
“Because the company has gone into administration there’s now no one to contact. It’s all very confusing.”
Both Woodlands Day Nursery and Kiddcare Voucher company Wider Plan say that no payments were made to the nursery between August, 2018 and June 2019.
A letter from Kirstie Horrocks, manager at Woodlands Day Nursery in Carr Lane, Chorley which is addressed to Ella’s parents states: “After speaking with Rosie, Ella’s mum, about the Kiddicare Voucher Company suggesting that no payments had been made into Jack’s account since August 2018 I can confirm that this is true and we have not received any payments since August 31 apart from one which we received on June 4, 2019 as a one-off payment.”
The letter continues: “Unfortunately it has only just come to our attention following our recent conversations as there has been confusion with another child who attends Woodland and our head office did not realise therefore payments have been mixed up.
“We obviously want to work with you and help to resolve the problem and will support you throughout this situation. I will also ensure that Ella’s nursery place remains until we can resolve the situation.
“I can only apologise for the confusion with the payments as if this hadn’t happened we could have highlighted the issue sooner and clarified earlier that the payments were not being made from Jack’s Kiddicare Voucher account.”
An email from a representative at Wider Plan to the couple states: “I confirm that Preston Guild Hall Ltd KiddiVouchers Scheme officially closed in December 2018 due to unpaid invoices.
“Invoices from July 2018 Dec 2018 were cancelled.
“The final deduction from Jack’s salary should have been in July 2018.
“I confirm that the last KiddiVouchers paid into Jack’s account was on August 13, 2018 which was his July 2018 vouchers.
“A payment of £243 was sent to Woodlands Nursery on August 12, 2018.
“Another payment of £243 was sent to them on August 31, 2018.
“No further payments were sent to Woodlands Day Nursery from Jack’s account until you made a payment of £242 to them.”
‘Money taken out of wages but not deposited into pension accounts’
Jack also told the Post that following the Guild Hall’s closure he was sent a letter from his pensions company saying that money had not been paid into his account since September 2018.
He said: “I also got a letter about my pensions after May 31. Pension contributions have been coming out of my bank account.”
The letter from The People’s Pension, seen by the Post, addressed to Jack states: “Your employer Preston Guild Hall Ltd provides a workplace pension through The People’s Pension.
“Our records show that your employer has not paid all due contributions to us on your behalf. Contributions are outstanding from the month of September 2018.
“We are required under pensions legislation to report them to The Pensions Regulator and to inform you of this.”
Two other former employees at the Guild Hall reported similar issues. Janet Walker, who used to work at the Guild Hall as director of Guild Productions and the Guild Foundation, said: “I haven’t been paid my pension since August 2018. I stopped working at the Guild Hall in January this year. I found out by a letter from The People’s Pension.
“Unfortunately when I left the company I struggled for some weeks to get my final wage correct.
“From what I can gather they are leaving it for a few months and when the money comes in they are topping up people’s pension accounts.
“I am still fighting for my contributions to be paid.
“Nobody has informed me why I have not been given my pension, there’s been no apology or anything formation about when it’s being paid in.”
Another former Guild Hall staff member, who did not want to be named, said: “Last year I paid my pension to the Guild Hall but it got taken out of my account and it didn’t go into my pension.
“They cut about £26 out off my wages and I presumed it was going into my pensions and then I found out by the pensions company, The People’s Pension, it wasn’t going in. This went on for about six or seven months. I raised it with Preston Guild Hall then in about April this year I finally got it all back.
“This has never happened to me before. I just thought it was absolutely disgraceful.”
Administrator Bev Budsworth of The Business Debt Adviser said: “I am aware of certain deductions from employees earnings which have not been paid over to a variety of organisations.
“Where this relates to pension payments, the pension fund will be able to claim from the Redundancy Fund for arrears of pension contributions.”