National Minimum Wage Naming Scheme

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:51 pm on 4th June 2019.

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Photo of Stephanie Peacock Stephanie Peacock Labour, Barnsley East 4:51 pm, 4th June 2019

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for granting this urgent question, which finally forces a Minister to admit to the House that the Government have quietly dropped one of the few policies they had to protect vulnerable workers. The naming scheme had exposed nearly 2,000 employers who illegally underpaid nearly 100,000 workers by millions of pounds, including household names from TGI Fridays to Marriott hotels, but the last such list was almost a year ago.

As we now know, the Government have privately decided to suspend the scheme, despite the Department’s official guidelines maintaining that the scheme still operates. The Minister claims this was based on a recommendation of the director of labour market enforcement, made over a year ago, yet the director made no such recommendation to suspend the scheme; he simply called for an evaluation and specific improvements. The Government accepted those recommendations, so why have they not simply implemented them and continued with the scheme in the meantime? Can the Minister confirm that as this review has “no set completion date”, this policy has been effectively halted? Can she tell us what progress the review has made in the last year? What evidence has it taken, what research has been commissioned, what work has her Department done, and what proposals will come to the House and when? Or is the so-called review in reality just an excuse to let bad employers off the hook?

This is the latest in a long list of policies that would help working people, from fair tips to equality for agency workers, that have been delayed or dropped by the Government. Time and again, they crack down on the vulnerable and back down before the powerful. When will this capitulation to rogue employers over working people finally end?