Factories: Leicester

Home Office written question – answered on 20th July 2020.

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Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Labour, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to investigate Leicester’s garment factories for alleged instances of (a) wage theft, (b) denial of benefits and (c) modern slavery conditions.

Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Labour, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to work with (a) local authorities and (b) other stakeholders in Leicester to establish a helpline for workers reporting instances of exploitation.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

We are deeply concerned by the appalling reports of illegal and unsafe working conditions for garment workers in Leicester. The Government will not tolerate the exploitation of vulnerable workers for commercial gain and is committed to taking action against those who seek to do so.

Investigations of criminal offences are the responsibility of operational law enforcement partners, who have the appropriate powers to do so. Following these allegations, the National Crime Agency have launched an investigation into these serious concerns. This has been taken forward using a partnership approach, using the expertise of several bodies, including the Health and Safety Executive, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Leicestershire Police.

Workers can report information or concerns about suspected labour exploitation in confidence through the telephone to the GLAA or to the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline. For advice on the legal minimum wage, working hours and employment agencies, workers can call the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service helpline for free.

We have also committed to going further on state enforcement and establishing a single enforcement body for employment rights to better protect vulnerable workers and create a level playing field for the majority of employers that comply with the law.

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