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Construction: Vetting

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 10th July 2013.

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Photo of Iain Wright Iain Wright Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to Construction 2025 Industrial Strategy: government and industry in partnership, published on 2 July 2013, for what reasons the issue of blacklisting in the construction sector was not included in the strategy; and if he will ensure that this issue is considered in any further discussions between government and industry on the future shape of the construction sector labour market.

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills , Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

The position on blacklisting is clear. The practice was outlawed in the Blacklisting Regulations 2010.

Since the opposition debate on blacklisting on 23 January 2013, Hansard, column 330, no new evidence has been presented to Government to show that blacklisting is ongoing. There have been a lot of accusations, but we have not yet received any firm evidence that blacklisting continues, in the construction industry or elsewhere. We continue to urge anyone who has such information to get in touch with the appropriate authorities.

Similarly I am not aware of any evidence that the Blacklists Regulations are not effective.

The Scottish Affairs Select Committee is continuing its own investigation into blacklisting and Government will be looking carefully at its final report as well as any other evidence submitted. Where there is evidence that blacklisting is currently being used in any sector of the economy, the appropriate authorities will be asked to carry out a full and thorough investigation.

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend Vince Cable, met with the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, at the beginning of April 2013 to make sure that he is ready and able to investigate any new evidence and to use the new powers given to the Commissioner in April 2010. These include a penalty of up to £500,000 for serious misuse of personal data.

We are also aware that there are some ongoing cases currently before the courts, and will be interested to see the outcome of these.

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