COMMONS

HMRC figures reveal exploitation in UK fashion industry

25 January 2019

Data from HMRC, sent to the Environmental Audit Committee as part of its inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry, shows that UK-based garment factory owners have been forced to pay out almost £90,000 to employees for non-payment of minimum wage. Since 2012 an average of £900 has been paid out to 126 factory workers.

The figures have been provided by Janet Alexander, Director, Individuals and Small Business Compliance, following the Committee’s request for further information about HMRC’s textile industry casework at the 18th December 2018 evidence session. The letter is published today.

It shows more than £1,350 has been paid in wage arrears to 10 workers following HMRC investigations. This is equivalent to more than three weeks’ pay at National Minimum Wage.

One in four investigations by HMRC found non-payment of the National Minimum Wage. The Committee was also told that 14 investigations are ongoing.

Chair's comments

Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh MP, said:

“‘Made in the UK’ should mean workers are paid at least the minimum wage. It has been 20 years since the introduction of the minimum wage but in our inquiry we heard that under payment is rife and goes hand in hand with a culture of fear and intimidation in the UK’s textile industry.

“This letter adds to the scandalous and growing evidence of workers being criminally underpaid in the UK.

“This must stop. We need Government action to end these 19th century practices in 21st century Britain.”

Further information

Image: PA

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