We have had some positive signs from the Home Secretary, who mentioned at a hearing of the Select Committee on Home Affairs that measures would be taken to evaluate the risk of exploitation that the seasonal workers pilot presents to workers. However, we are still quite anxious about the detail and about what it will mean in practice.
We look a lot at the role of labour inspectorates in preventing modern slavery, and we have a particular concern about the limited resources of agencies such as the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, which will need to license labour providers under the seasonal workers pilot, whatever country they may come from. Understanding the legislation of the countries concerned and identifying and engaging with prospective labour providers will obviously be a heavy drain on the agency’s resources, but we have not heard that any extra resources will be provided to facilitate that role. We also welcome the Government’s intention to create a single labour inspectorate, but the detail available at this stage is very limited.
It is positive that the Home Secretary has recognised that there is a risk. We look forward to engaging on the detail of how it will be addressed.