I’ve been thinking about these figures and particularly the criticism – in the early days – that HMRC were going after “small fry”. It doesn’t surprise me at all that the main culprits are small businesses which either are ignorant of the rules or deliberately try to flout them. Bigger organisations, especially those with household names, have access to HR advice and are unlikely to want to risk the reputational damage that being named and shamed would create. However, those that operate Franchise models (I think Pizza Hut are named in the current batch) probably do need to ensure that their franchisees are better advised, since they are in effect operating as a number of small businesses – I would guess the same reason is the explanation behind the high numbers of hospitality companies cited.
An optimistic view is that – a bit like the smoking ban – the NMW is now just an accepted part of working life and few companies bother to try to get out of it