CWA challenges government to prove action on illicit hand car washes

“The CWA is disappointed to see that the Government has produced so little evidence to back up its claims that HMRC is enforcing tax compliance at hand car washes”, said Brian Madderson, chairman of the Car Wash Association (CWA), commenting on the publication of the Government’s response to the Environmental Audit select committee report into the hand car wash sector.

The Government is claiming that “HMRC investigates hand car washes across the UK to tackle these failings and prevent further tax losses to the Exchequer”. But the CWA states that this does not reflect reports made to the association by the police and automatic car wash operators.

Madderson continues: “The police estimate is that there are up to 20,000 rogue hand car washes operating in the UK.   If HMRC had caught up with even a fraction of these, it would be collecting over a billion pounds in taxes. Yet the Government has produced no evidence to show that it is collecting much tax at all from rogue hand car washes.

“We are being given words of reassurance, but what we need is firm action against the modern slave owners who evade taxes and exploit vulnerable workers.

“What action is the Government taking to deal with the problems of environmental damage from mishandling trade effluent caused by the 20,000 hand car washes in the UK that operate illegally?

“More needs to be done to tackle illegal hand car washes and bringing an end to modern slavery.”

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