24 November 2017 | Deborah Shrewsbury
MPs on the Work and Pensions and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committees published a joint report and draft bill this week to close loopholes allowing companies to use bogus self-employment status to exploit cheap labour and avoid tax.
Workers for companies such as Deliveroo and Uber should be given workers' rights by default, say the parliamentary committees, adding that the law must not allow the mass exploitation of workers to be a "competitive advantage".
The proposals coincide with a series of legal battles some gig economy firms are facing about how their operations treat workers.
Rt Hon Frank Field MP, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: "The two committees are presenting the prime minister with an opportunity to fulfil the promise she made on the steps of Downing Street on her first day in office, with a draft bill that would end the mass exploitation of ordinary, hard-working people in the gig economy.
The MPs believe the bill would put good business on a level playing field, not being undercut by bad business.
"It is time to close the loopholes that allow irresponsible companies to underpay workers, avoid taxes and free ride on our welfare system," said the joint statement.
Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said: "Uber, Deliveroo and others like to bang the drum for the benefits of flexibility for their workforce, but currently all the burden of this flexibility is picked up by taxpayers and workers. This must change.
"We say that companies should pay higher wages when they are asking people to work extra hours or on zero-hours contracts."