Paul Blomfield – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the HM Treasury

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Paul Blomfield on 2016-01-25.

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what funding has been allocated for national minimum wage enforcement activity within his Department from 2015-16.

Greg Hands

The Government is committed to increasing compliance with minimum wage legislation and effective enforcement of it. Everyone who is entitled to the minimum wage should receive it.

Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage not only have to pay arrears of wages at current minimum wage rates but also face financial penalties of up to £20,000 per underpaid worker. A further increase in penalties will come into force in April 2016 and will increase the penalty percentage from 100% to 200% of the underpayments owed to each worker, up to the existing maximum.

The extra funding was allocated in two tranches. The first of £3 million has been used by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to recruit additional staff primarily into front line compliance posts to increase the scope and coverage of interventions aimed at identifying employers who do not pay the minimum wage.

The second tranche of £1 million has been used to appoint staff into new roles specifically geared to promoting compliance with the National Minimum Wage, through education and support for employers, helping workers to understand their rights, and tackling serious non-compliance where deliberate behaviour is suspected.

Staff across HMRC contribute to enforcing National Minimum Wage, including people who work in legal advice, debt management, technical support and criminal investigation. However, HMRC does not record the specific numbers of those staff involved beyond those identified in UIN 16853.

HMRC does not breakdown the overall budget allocated into specific activities. For details of the overall budget in 2015/16, I refer the honourable member back to the answer provided at UIN 16853. Funding allocations for 2016/17 onwards have yet to be confirmed.