asked the Minister of Labour what consideration he has now given to the representations made to him regarding the abuses of so-called self-employment in industry where there may be evasion of the social or industrial obligations of legislation such as the Contracts of Employment Act, the Redundancy Payments Act, the Industrial Training Act, and tax and National Insurance avoidance; what action he has taken; and what further action is proposed, in view of the concern of trade unions and ether organisations.
My Department's examination of the scope for more effective enforcement of existing policy and legislation, in consultation with other Departments concerned, is continuing. The results and any action taken will in due course be made known to the Phelps brown Committee.
I first made representations about this in January, 1966. I accept that there are genuine forms of self-employment, but would not my right hon. Friend agree that the bogus forms undermine the industrial and social legislation fussed on behalf of workers, and fiat he ought to act on this in the immediate future and not leave it until later on?
My hon. Friend will recall that I was pressed by the trade unions, who are very concerned about certain implications of self-employment, to have an inquiry. We are having one, and I think that we had better leave it now and see what happens.
Will the right hon. Gentleman recognise, nevertheless, that it is the right of every worker to sell his labour in the best way he can? Will he ensure that there is no interference with that right?
I can only say that Professor Phelps Brown will take into consideration all that the hon. Gentleman has to say, but some of the activities of self-employment can hardly be called social in character.