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HMRC 'allowing tax base to erode over self employment'

Monday, March 13, 2017


Given HMRC supine acquiescing at a time of record levels of economic activity is it any wonder that that funds to the Exchequer have not kept pace with this growth says GMB.

GMB, the union for workers in Uber, DX and Hermes is accusing HMRC of presiding over the erosion of the tax base across the economy arising from growing forced self employment that is reducing exchequer tax returns from record levels of economic activity in the UK.

GMB sought a meeting with HMRC to discuss implementation of the national minimum wage legislation at Uber and other employers using forced self employment following recent tribunal decisions that the workforce are actually workers.

This meeting took place on 23 February and the outcome is that HMRC has no plans to deal with the tax avoidance and erosion of the tax base arising from forced self employment.

A recent poll commissioned by GMB revealed 92% of those questioned thought that HMRC enforcement of national minimum wage and the collection of taxes are important.

Maria Ludkin, GMB Legal Director said:

"It is staggering that HMRC has no proactive plans to use its extensive tax gathering and enforcement powers of the national minimum wage to crack down on forced self employment following the recent string of employment tribunal rulings on this.

"It is an invitation to companies to try to duck tax responsibilities.

"This is simply an issue of enforcement which not carried out means more honest taxpayers have to make up the shortfall.

"HMRC are presiding over the erosion of the tax base of the economy at a time when there are record levels of economic activity in the UK.

"Is it any wonder that funds to the Exchequer have not kept pace with this growth?

"HMRC has allowed Uber to run rings around it on forced self employment.

"Uber UK generates revenues of £115m which is enough to pay around 4,300 full time drivers on the national living wage after vehicle running costs are taken in to account.

"If all 25,000 drivers were earning £7.20 per hour after vehicle running costs then each driver will work for an average of 8.6 hours per week. [See notes to editors for copy of previous GMB press release on Uber driver numbers.]

"HMRC must look at these figures as there is evidence that after running costs are included Uber is in breach of minimum wage legislation. As yet, HMRC have done nothing .

"It is the same with Deliveroo. Has HMRC examined who actually employs the cooks and chefs working in the industrial estates in Battersea, Dulwich or Blackwall cooking posh nosh for West End restaurants?

"With recent cases challenging self-employed status involving Uber, Deliveroo, DX and Pimlico Plumbers, when will HMRC wake up and start to take action.

"GMB consider that Parliament has to hold HMRC to account for this supine acquiescing to the erosion of the tax base from forced self employment at a time of a squeeze on public services and public sector deficits. This cannot be allowed to continue."


Contact: Maria Ludkin on 07956 632 657 or GMB press office on 07958 156 846 or at


[1] GMB won a landmark case against Uber at the London Employment Tribunal on 28 October 2016.

The Tribunal decided that Uber drivers are entitled to receive holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks.

[2] On 21 November 2016, GMB called on HMRC to exercise legal responsibility for enforcement of the minimum wage laws and collection of taxes.

[3] GMB announced on 7 March 2017 that it would be taking legal action against delivery company DX to secure rights on pay, holidays, health and safety, discipline and grievances on behalf of members who work as couriers and drivers for the company.

[4] Survation surveyed 1,019 people online on 2-3 March 2017 (attached)

Data were weighted to the profile of all UK adults aged 18+. Survation are a member of the British Polling Council and abide by their rules.

Survation asked: 'HM Revenue and Customs has the responsibility for enforcing the legal requirement that employers pay the National Minimum Wage, pay the correct amount of taxes including V.A.T. as well as pay National Insurance contributions.

To what extent do you think it’s important that the government ensures these requirements are fully enforced, or do you not think it’s at all important?'

Very important: 65%

Somewhat important: 27%

Net total of people saying it is important: 92%

Not very important 2%

Not at all important 1%

Net total of people saying it is not important: 3%

Don't know: 5%

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