Clothing: Manufacturing Industries

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 17th December 2021.

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Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Independent, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the oral evidence by the then Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility to the Environmental Audi Committee on 18 December 2018, HC 1148, whether he has plans to publish the outcomes of investigations into underpayment of the national minimum wage and/or national living wage in Leicester's garment industry.

Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Independent, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the oral evidence given by the then Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility to the Environmental Audit Committee on 18 December 2018, HC 1148, if he will publish the (a) scope and (b) nature of the investigations into underpayment of the national minimum wage and/or the national living wage in Leicester’s garment industry.

Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Independent, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the oral evidence given by the then Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility to the Environmental Audit Committee on 18 December 2018, Session 2017-19, HC 1148, if he will publish any recommendations, conclusions and findings from the investigations into underpayment of the national minimum wage and/or the national living wage in Leicester’s garment industry.

Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Independent, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to implement recommendations arising from investigations into underpayment of the national minimum wage and the national living wage in Leicester’s garment industry.

Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Independent, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the oral evidence of the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility to the Environmental Audit Committee on 18 December 2018, HC 1148, published on 30 January 2019, which Government agencies were involved in the investigations into underpayment of the national minimum wage and the national living wage in Leicester’s garment industry.

Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Independent, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the oral evidence given by the then Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility to the Environmental Audit Committee on 18 December 2018, Session 2017-19, HC 1148, whether prosecutions were made after the investigations into underpayment of the national minimum wage and/or the national living wage in Leicester’s garment industry.

Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Independent, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to (a) improve working conditions and (b) ensure payment of at least the minimum wage in Leicester since the investigations into wage exploitation in Leicester’s garment industry.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

A multi-agency taskforce operated in Leicester for over a year to investigate allegations of widespread labour market non-compliance, including underpayment of National Minimum Wage. HMRC investigate the National Minimum Wage, but the taskforce also included the Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority, Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, Health and Safety Executive, National Crime Agency, Leicestershire Police and Home Office Immigration Enforcement. The taskforce visited over 300 premises in the city to ensure compliance and also undertook a programme of community engagement in Leicester to encourage whistle-blowers to come forward. While the bodies involved remain vigilant, the activity undertaken so far has not uncovered evidence of widespread modern slavery.

HMRC have a number of open cases remaining and will continue to investigate based on intelligence and risk-modelling, sharing information as appropriate. Enforcement action will be considered according to the evidence. To date, HMRC have issued two Labour Market Enforcement Undertakings to employers in the Leicester garment industry. There have not been any criminal prosecutions. We cannot comment on ongoing investigations.

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