Dispatches investigates low-paid workers and tax-avoiding employers

Channel 4’s Dispatches will tonight [19 January] screen a programme about workers on low pay and employers who are benefitting from complex schemes, allowing them to save money on wage bills.

Mon, 19 Jan 2015
Channel 4’s Dispatches will tonight [19 January] screen a programme about workers on low pay and employers who are benefitting from complex schemes, allowing them to save money on wage bills.

Tesco, Britain’s largest private sector employer, and umbrella company MAC Professional Solutions are two of the companies that will be featured.

A statement on Channel 4’s website says Dispatches went undercover to meet with representatives of MAC Professional Solutions.

“Posing as the owner of a recruitment agency, our reporter was told how he could lawfully save money in PAYE and NI [National Insurance] by employing workers through an umbrella firm.”

According to Channel 4, the company’s general manager Patrick Shaw told the reporter tax avoidance, as opposed to tax evasion, was “perfectly legal”, before saying how workers on one of his avoidance schemes could be paid below the minimum wage and not be entitled to rights.

“They’re not classified as an employee or worker, so technically the National Minimum Wage £6.50 doesn’t exist… To be perfectly frank, they've got no holiday pay rights, they’ve got no employee rights… they've got no worker rights.”

In a statement provided to Recruiter by Channel 4, MAC Professional Solutions’ managing director Ian Aubrey said his company took compliance “extremely seriously and operates strictly within the parameters of current legislation at all times”.

“Indeed, in December 2014 we underwent a review by HM Revenue & Customs and were found to be fully compliant with no issues about our operations raised. The review was then promptly closed, which should speak for itself.”

The episode is due to screen at 8pm tonight on Channel 4.

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