HC Deb 27 January 2003 vol 398 cc616-7W
Phil Sawford

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he is taking to combat tax evasion in the construction industry. [93386]

Dawn Primarolo

Since April 2002, the Inland Revenue has increased the number of specialist units which deal with industry compliance with the construction industry scheme from nine to 12.

In addition, there are around 70 Employer Compliance Units that review businesses' compliance with their PAYE obligations and carry out employment status reviews. Each unit has staff specialising in status and construction industry work. These units are:

participating in a national project which is examining all contracts between a sample of contractors and sub-contractors to ensure proper compliance with tax obligations;

ensuring that a minimum percentage of resource is deployed on construction industry reviews (6 per cent.), including those identified by the national project; and

ensuring that a minimum percentage of reviews relate to cases with a significant construction industry element (6.5 per cent.).

A consultation paper, "The Inland Revenue and the Construction Industry: Working Together for a New Scheme", was published alongside the Pre-Budget Report. The paper outlines proposals for a replacement scheme that would reduce the burden of the scheme on the industry while providing the Revenue's compliance officers with new systems to enable them to tackle noncompliance quickly and effectively.