Scheme launched to tackle illegal gangmasters

Farmers who use gangmasters to source casual staff are being offered specialist advice to ensure they use suppliers who operate within the law.

HM Revenue and Customs has doubled its number of specialist officers who work on tracking labour providers who fail to pay tax.

The 100 extra officers will also offer free checks to farmers and agricultural businesses to help them employ legitimate gangmasters and tackle fraud within the industry.

HMRC said the additional officers would help farmers who demand flexible, casual or seasonal workers, who are often at risk from non-compliant labour providers.

The officers were expected to bring in an additional half a billion pounds of tax across all business sectors over the next four years.

Mike Eland, HMRC enforcement and compliance director general, said: “We will tackle fraud by those employers who don’t play by the rules and the organised crime gangs who exploit their workers.

“We will also work collaboratively with labour users and businesses in these sectors to help them use legitimate providers. This will help to create a level playing field for compliant businesses to compete in the marketplace.”