The Tory Government has been accused of effectively colluding with big business in helping them to avoid paying tax, it was revealed yesterday.
Construction sector businesses are adopting the illegal practice of making workers self-employed, which then allows them to avoid paying National Insurance of 18.3% per worker.
Workers pushed into self-employment – sometimes used as a condition of employment – are denied holiday pay, sick pay and can be sacked with little or no warning.
Figures obtained by UCATT through the Freedom of Information Act suggest the HMRC is paying less and less attention to the notorious practice.
The number of construction companies fined for this illegal practice has fallen from 57 in 2012/13, to just 24 in 2013/14.
This comes as the HMRC has reduced the number of inspections in this area from 5,337 in 2012/13, 3,567 to a mere 2,421 in 2014/15.
UCATT claims the number of construction companies pushing workers into bogus self-employment is growing, and says the Government is effectively endorsing the practice.
UCATT Acting General Secretary, Brian Rye, said: “If ever there was a clear indication that this Tory Government is predicated entirely on enriching the bosses – this [is] it.
“Construction workers are honest, hard-working people forced into this bogus and entirely false self-employment status purely to enrich the corporations and those that run them..”
He added: “The Inland Revenue should not be an agency for the rich. It should serve all the people of Great Britain.
“These tax avoidance practices are the blight of our industry and are growing year on year. And yet HMRC is doing less and less to catch the culprits.
“It’s a national disgrace.”
UCATT is the UK’s only trade union specialising in construction and has over 80,000 members throughout the UK.