UCATT Calls for an HMRC Investigation into Construction Industry

Construction union UCATT has called on the Government to investigate both endemic false self-employment in the industry and the reliance on agency labour.


UCATT made its call after The Guardian (21/7/2016) revealed that the Government has established within HMRC a unit to investigate abuses of the self-employment laws and companies that are overly reliant on agency workers in the so called gig economy.


The existence of the unit was revealed in a letter from Finance Secretary Jane Ellison MP to Labour MP Frank Field.


UCATT have now written to Ms Ellison requesting that the unit should investigate the construction industry where these practices are rife.


Brian Rye, Acting General Secretary of UCATT, said: “The practices that the new HMRC unit are examining exist throughout construction. The Government’s commitment to take action is welcome. But we must avoid a situation where there is a crackdown in one sector of the economy whilst another is using the same practices but is untouched.”


In their letter UCATT raises the concern about false self-employment which in construction is primarily channelled through the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) the stand alone self-employment scheme for construction workers. UCATT also raises the ongoing problems of umbrella companies and payroll companies, while also emphasising that most construction sites recruit all their manual labour via employment agencies.


UCATT have requested a meeting with Ms Ellison to discuss their concerns further.


Mr Rye, added; “If the Government’s commitment to force companies to properly comply with rules on employment status is genuine then construction must be a key priority.”

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