Enforcing The Minimum Wage

Since the Minimum Wage was introduced by Labour in 1998 only 14 employers have been prosecuted by HMRC for not paying it. In Treasury questions I asked the Chancellor about boosting the capacity of HMRC to prosecute employers who are failing to pay the National Minimum Wage. 

Stephen Kinnock: I cannot think of another question to ask, as my question has been responded to.

Mr Speaker: I know that the hon. Gentleman does not believe in the hereditary principle, but I do not think that those words would ever have come out of the mouth of his dad. I think he should have a go. Just say “Topical 1”, young man.

Stephen Kinnock: Topical 1. 

The Chancellor of the Exchequer: I have a sense that by the time I have responded, inspiration will have struck the hon. Gentleman.

My principal responsibility is to ensure economic stability and the continued prosperity of this country. At this juncture, the best way to achieve that objective is to support a negotiated Brexit ensuring a smooth and orderly departure from the EU through a transition period to a new relationship that allows our mutual trade to continue to flourish.

Stephen Kinnock: Since the introduction of the minimum wage, only 14 employers have been prosecuted by HMRC for failing to pay the minimum wage. Does the Chancellor agree that that is a completely unacceptable state of affairs? What action is he taking to boost the capacity of HMRC to go after those who are not paying the minimum wage?

Mr Hammond: HMRC does take action against errant employers. It is always pleased to receive information on suspected non-compliance and will investigate any such cases. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman had difficulty thinking of a question. Anticipating this situation, I have at least four or five potential questions that he could have asked me, and I am happy to show them to him afterwards.

Mr Speaker: Colleagues, on a discretionary basis I am changing the order, but, believe me, I know why I am changing the order and there is a compelling reason in this instance for doing so.