THREE Hampshire companies which failed to pay their staff the national minimum wage have been ''named and shamed'' by the Government as part of a new crackdown.

Central Heating Services Ltd in Farnborough, Saftdwin Ltd in Old Basing and Zoom Ltd in Havant were exposed on a list of 25 employers which between them owe workers more than £43,000 in arrears, and face fines totalling over £21,000.

Central Heating Services Ltd neglected to pay £6,200.28 to four workers, car dealers Saftdwin Ltd neglected to pay £806.37 to two workers and women’s hair and beauty firm Zoom Ltd neglected to pay £242.28 to three workers.

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.''

The Government plans to increase fines so that an employer underpaying 10 workers could face penalties of up to £200,000.