Emily Thornberry – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the HM Treasury

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Emily Thornberry on 2015-11-25.

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many full-time equivalent staff were employed within HM Revenue and Customs’ (a) National Minimum Wage Risk Unit, (b) National Minimum Wage compliance teams and (c) Criminal Investigations Directorate in each of the last six years.

Mr David Gauke

The Government is determined that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) receives it. Anyone who feels they have been underpaid NMW should contact the confidential Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) review all complaints that are referred to them. However, some complaints may not lead to the commencement of an investigation. This might be due to incomplete information being provided, or the worker subsequently wishing to withdraw their complaint. Similarly, multiple complaints about the same employer would only be recorded under one investigation.

In 2014/15, 2489 worker complaints and 691 pieces of third party information were referred to HMRC. However, I reiterate that not all complaints will lead to an investigation. In previous years, HMRC did not record statistics by complaints received, but by investigations completed. In 2014/15, HMRC completed 2204 investigations. I refer the honourable member to the answer provided to her on 6 May 2014 at Hansard Column 110W for information on prior years.

Staff across HMRC contribute to enforcing NMW, including people who work in legal advice, debt management, technical support and criminal investigation amongst others, but HMRC does not record the specific numbers of those staff involved beyond this. The budget allocated to HMRC by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is provided as an overall amount. I therefore refer the honourable member to the answers provided to her at UIN 16853 for budget details & UIN 16938 for information on staffing.