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Labour are looking. But can they see?

News and Views | 13th August 2013

Last autumn, the Labour Party decided to investigate an allegation made by the construction union UCATT that 400,000 people are working falsely on a self-employed basis on construction sites in the UK.

Rachel Reeves, the Labour MP for Leeds West was tasked to review the situation, and her findings may shape policy if and when Labour is returned to government The aspect of the review I can’t accept is the premise that Ms Reeves might begin by looking for 400,000 people who fit UCATT’s view of who is – and who is not – self-employed.

The aspect of the review I can’t accept is the premise that Ms Reeves might begin by looking for 400,000 people who fit UCATT’s view of who is – and who is not – self-employed.

Four hundred thousand is equivalent to UCATT saying that no fewer than 28% of all site operatives are hiding under CIS tax deduction in a bogus manner.

Really?

The evidence from Hudson Contract

We have contributed to the review by submitting an 86-page evidence-backed document that highlights the business-critical role played by freelance builders in the construction workplace.

We hope we will be invited to contribute beyond our report, because we can explain and fully justify to Ms Reeves why the number of people working on a falsely self-employed basis on sites is likely to be far fewer than 40,000.

The UCATT track record on identifying cases of bogus self-employment

UCATT, meanwhile, should be well qualified to advise on bogus self-employment, not least because despite bringing umpteen claims of employment and worker status to Tribunal against Hudson Contract and our clients, they have never won even a single claim!

If the Labour Party fails to take into consideration the courts’ decisions on employment status – and is unable to appreciate the value brought to construction by those working on a freelance, labour-only basis – they will never get the true picture of the industry and those who work in it.

Which leaves me to ponder whether the outcome of the Review will reflect that old saying: “There are none so blind as those who cannot see”?

Time will tell…

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