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Construction Bosses Plan To 'Rob Treasury'

Construction union UCATT have warned that a campaign by construction bosses to preserve secret tax subsidies is simply a bid to 'rob' the Treasury.

Last week a coalition of construction companies, led by major house builders, launched a campaign Stop the Unfair Building Tax, in an attempt to scupper Treasury proposals to eradicate bogus self-employment from the construction industry.

The principal advantage of using bogus self-employed workers is that employers do not pay employers National Insurance Contributions. This is currently a saving of 12.8% per worker.

Under proposals made in the pre-Budget report these contributions will increase further by 0.5% to 13.3% from 2011.

Alan Ritchie General Secretary of UCATT, said: "The Government are spending billions of pounds on infrastructure projects and new housing initiatives to kick-start and support the construction industry and help it out of recession.

"Rather than being thankful and accepting they need to pay their fair share of tax, these construction bosses feel they have a divine right to rob the Treasury of vital income."

Bogus self-employment occurs through the Government's stand-alone tax scheme, the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).

Previous academic research has conservatively estimated that there are 400,000 bogus self-employed workers in construction, which costs the Treasury £1.7 billion per annum in lost revenue.

However Treasury officials have recently conceded to UCATT that there are 850,000 workers currently registered under the CIS scheme, which indicates an even higher level of lost revenue.

Brian Berry, Director of External Affairs at the Federation of Master Builders, whose organisation is one of the main supporters of Stop the Unfair Building Tax, has complained that the Government’s plans are unfair as only the construction industry is being targeted.


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