David Gauke appears to prejudge his own department’s consultation into the controversial companies

Umbrella-Revolution-Symbol-3-2014100213An MP appears to have pre-judged his own consultation into the conduct of umbrella companies.

The government is carrying out a consultation into the controversial companies which charge agency workers up to £100 a week for paying their wages.

The consultation ends next week, but in a response to a written question by Conservative MP Guto Bebb, David Gauke MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, appears to have pre-empted the conclusion.

David Gauke replied: “Her Majesty’s Revenues & Customs (HMRC) are not taking steps to stop agencies using umbrella companies to manage the payroll function of companies within the construction industry.”

UCATT general secretary Steve Murphy said: “Rather than stand up against the spivs and racketeers who are avoiding millions in taxes and preventing construction workers from making ends meet, this government lying down and letting them walk all over them.”

The union is also concerned about the activities of the umbrella company pressure group the Freelance & Contractor Services Association. The bodies Chief Executive Julia Kermode has been particularly critical of any move to restrict the operation of umbrella companies in construction.

Steve Murphy said: “The F&CSA is a typical employers group which blames all the problems of umbrella companies on a few bad apples, when the fact is that umbrella companies are designed to corrupt the relationship between employers and workers.

“If the F&CSA desires to have any credibility they would be publicly naming and shaming the companies who they believe are distorting the umbrella company model and demanding tough regulations to end these nefarious practices.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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