New research finds bogus self-employment “rampant” in construction sector

NEW research from Unite has revealed that bogus self-employment is on the rise again in the UK construction sector.

The union said a Freedom of Information request made to the HMRC revealed that 1.12 million construction workers were paid via the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) in 2017/18. This is up 4% on the previous year’s figures.

CIS is the stand alone tax scheme for the construction industry. Unite said that “uniquely” workers are classed as self-employed but they are taxed at source. The union added that the nature of their engagement means the “vast majority are bogusly self-employed” with employers avoiding having to pay national insurance contributions and workers denied employment rights such as holiday pay.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said, “These latest figures are a damning indictment of the failure of the government to deal with rampant bogus self-employment in construction. Bogus self-employment is costing the exchequer millions in lost revenues and amounts to a huge hidden subsidy to construction employers.

“The government has clearly lost control of tackling bogus self-employment in construction, resulting in the routine exploitation of workers. The entire system needs to be radically reformed so that workers are either genuinely self-employed or paid via a standard PAYE format.”