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Government aims to tackle 'bogus' self employment

02 May 2017

Further efforts to tackle the gig economy and self employment have been driven by a recent Work and Pensions Committee investigation.

This has been a long-running issue following negative publicity over companies such as Sports Direct and Uber and their employment practices.

Committee chair Frank Field singled out Uber for criticism after its move to introduce a sickness insurance scheme for its drivers, according to the BBC.

A spokesperson for the company was quoted as saying that the majority of taxi drivers in the UK had worked on a self-employed basis "for decades" and working for Uber gave them more control over their work.

"The vast majority of drivers who use Uber tell us they want to remain their own boss, as that's the main reason why they signed up to us in the first place," said the spokesperson.

Evidence was also heard from Deliveroo by the Work and Pensions Committee, stating that its offer of flexible working had proved attractive to employees.

The company's statement said all its riders are registered and legally entitled to work and pay the correct UK taxes.

"Before Deliveroo existed, many workers in the food delivery business were paid in cash, in the black economy," said the company.

However, the Work and Pensions Committee accused companies of exploiting staff to make profits.

Mr Field said the inquiry showed it is now necessary to offer full status to provide holiday and sick pay.

He also said companies should be made to justify claims that their workers are self employed.

The government is attempting to recoup its losses in tax and National Insurance revenue, following the rise of self employment and the gig economy.

A review of employment practices is ongoing, conducted by former head of Labour Policy Unit Matthew Taylor.

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