Tax Avoidance

HM Treasury written question – answered on 23rd May 2016.

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Photo of Rob Marris Rob Marris Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what information HM Revenue and Customs holds on the number of people engaged in employment through an umbrella company in each year since 2008.

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) does not routinely record the information requested, but has published estimates on an ad hoc basis since 2008.

In 2008 HMRC published figures for the number of umbrella workers in a consultation document “Tax Relief for travel expenses: temporary workers and overarching employment contracts.” HMRC estimated that around 120 umbrella companies operating in the UK were using overarching contracts and employed around 100,000 temporary workers at any one time.

Evidence suggests that for 2013-14 the 50 largest umbrella companies alone employed 150,000 individuals over the course of a year. In 2015 an estimated 430,000 individuals were employed by umbrella companies and employment agencies on overarching contracts over the course of a year. The number at any one time will be less than this.

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