"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Paul Whitehouse and the GLA justify their costs in raised VAT / Tax revenues

We haven't heard much of Cambridge educated, Quaker, Paul Whitehouse, QPM Chairman of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) since his merry men raided Bomfords in the Spring. Some folks may need a memory jog here , Paul was the Chief Constable of Sussex Police for 8 years , who resigned (on a £60 ,000 a year pension) a day after the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, ordered his local police authority to consider sacking him to restore public confidence in the force - way back in June 2001. Which all related to the night of 15th January 1998 when James Ashley was asleep, naked in bed with his girlfriend in his flat in St Leonards when Sussex Police officers burst in and shot him, dead.

The Chief Executive of the GLA was Michael Wilson, former major general on the Defence Intelligence Staff and current chief executive of the Defence Vetting Agency and his position taken over by Ian Livsey in October 2007 he is ex Chairman TrustMark which was set up by The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) in 2004.

Now Paul tells us that over 1,100 gangmasters are licensed to operate legally in the UK, (a small part (around 10%) of the UK agency sector) a requirement which has led to ;

1. Uncovering worker exploitation and illegal activity that has led to the revocation of 46 licences. (see Footnote)
2. More than £2 million in VAT payments are due to be paid to the Exchequer from gangmaster businesses in the period (April 2006 - March 2007) and with a further 289 licence applications since this period, the total of VAT payments is likely to increase.HMRC calculate that that represents an average £51,887 per gangmaster.

3. At least 40 businesses who applied for a GLA licence had not previously been registered with HMRC.

4. As well as VAT payments these previously unregistered businesses declared that they supplied 6,193 workers which may have led to an increase in national insurance payments and individual tax payments by the workers, as well as the corporation tax that the companies would be liable to pay themselves.

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority ensures orderly employment of workers in the agriculture (which includes forestry) , horticulture, shellfish gathering and associated processing and packaging industries. It was set up following the death of 23 Chinese cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay in 2004. It curently has 55 full-time equivalent staff; 9 compliance staff; 20 enforcement staff and a budget of £3,191,000 for 2007-08;

Failure to register with the GLA can result in a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

Paul is, by the way , a busy man in his retirement and is also member of and speaker for "Law Enforceement against Prohibition" a US based organisation that campaigns for drug legalisation as well as Vice Chairman of NACRO.

Footnotes : The GLA announced yesterday in routine Press Notice that Vilnius Recruitment Ltd of Leiston, Suffolk, which supplied workers to cut roses, pick cabbages and work in a duck factory has had its licence revoked (46th to date) with immediate effect by the (GLA) for failure to ensure the safety of the workers a total disregard for their welfare. Offences included ..

GLA officers found: uninsured cars used to transport workers (which they had been warned about) - accommodation charges that were unacceptably high and concealed in pay deductions - overcrowded accommodation - No HSE training in place - Gas certificates for the workers’ accommodation were not available - Agricultural minimum wage was not paid - unpaid overtime - no holiday pay.

Mr Neros Nerijus, director of Vilnius Recruitment Ltd, originally had his licence
revoked (without immediate effect) in October 2007 and was allowed to continue trading during the appeal process.

A survey of the work of the GLA was published in November which is well worth a read ... Interestingly they note .." Northern Ireland‟s paramilitary tradition and land-border with the Republic makes it an area with lower than expected licence uptake and significant barriers to compliance."

In the top 10 priorities declared for GLA in 2008 are included ..." increase in number of compliance staff" ..." Request pro-bono industry intelligence from labour providers, labour users and multiples "...." Carry out some form of undercover operation (e.g. mystery shopper) to better understand the UK food industry (in collaboration e.g. with HMRC and the Police)" ....

Which (with higher food costs) is a part the price we will also pay in greater surveillance and controls over everyone... plus multilingual notices to workers to grass up their gangmasters ...see pics.

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