Entrepreneur Sector supports Margaret Beels as new Director of Labor Market Enforcement
The long vacant post of Director of Labor Market Enforcement was finally filled – by the government appointing Margaret Beels.
Advisors like James Poyser of offpayroll.org, Jo Harris of Parasol and Hannah Morrison of Brabners have each criticized the government at ContractorUK for leaving the post vacant for 11 months.
Even the former manager, Matthew Taylor, said it was “confusing” and “sad” that the government did not replace him quickly, despite his offer to work “unpaid if necessary” until his successor is found.
IR35 expert Rebecca Seeley Harris, who called “deeply concerning” the fact that no enforcement chief was in place in a time of ploys and scams, said the wait was worth it.
“I am delighted that Margaret Beels has been appointed the new DLME,” the former Treasury Member responsible for Intermediary Legislation told ContractorUK yesterday.
Patron of ReLegal Consulting, she adds: “[Beels] has a lot of knowledge and affinities with this field, having received an OBE for services rendered to modern slavery and labor exploitation.
“A real idea of what is going on”
Julia Kermode of IWORK agrees. “It’s a fantastic meeting [given Beels’] experience at the Gangmasters and Labor Abuse Authority.
“Shell [therefore] have in-depth knowledge of how vulnerable workers are exploited
“I was worried that the new DLME was someone a bit distant with no real idea of what’s going on, but I’m very happy to be wrong,” she said.
Beel’s tenure as DLME states that she will set the “strategic direction” of the three labor market enforcement agencies – EASI, the HMRC National Minimum Wage Team and GLAA.
But the ex-head of compliance at British Gas will have to go beyond simple guidance to make a dent, according to Kate Cottrell, status specialist, formerly of HMRC.
“Hopefully this role is not only to define strategic directions, but that it will also have real teeth”, began the co-founder of Bauer & Cottrell.
“Let us also hope that his role is one that [puts in place] urgent implementation of a framework regulation. And in priority.
“Proliferation of disguised remuneration”
Professional Passport also welcomed the nomination, on the same terms – but suggests that these are projects masquerading as “umbrellas” that should top Beels’ “to-do” list.
“We welcome the appointment of Margaret Beels to her new post. [but] we urge it to step up its activities to eradicate embezzlement, especially with regard to the proliferation of disguised remuneration systems.
The CEO of the compliance organization, Crawford Temple, explained: [reform] has been deployed in the private sector, we have seen an increase in the number of entrepreneurs duped into R&D programs.
“HMRC is failing to shut down these programs fast enough. Hopefully this new appointment will lead to concerted and visible action.
“Funding for the Single Executing Agency is a huge step forward”
In line with Mr Temple’s hopes of something tangible soon, the single executing agency promised in June now has the money it needs, despite the lack of approval for the fall 2021 budget.
In fact, ReLegal says it has “received” a note from the Department of Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills that SEB is “funded”.
“This is a huge step forward for the protection of workers in general but, in particular for workers in the parent company,” the company said.
Being potentially directly affected, given that it is an umbrella company, Orca Pay Group is impatient.
“[Margaret Beels has a] huge work on his hands, but it’s yet another positive step in the right direction for [regulation of] umbrella industry, ”says group CEO Rob Sharp.
“While this position has been vacant for much longer than anyone had hoped, this appointment could not come at a more critical time for the temporary job market. Good luck Marguerite.
“Distorted and disturbed due to IR35”
The Association of Self-Employed Professionals and Self-Employed Workers confirmed last night that the appointment of a new DLME was “long overdue”.
The association’s director of policy told ContractorUK: “The new director will have a lot to do, but we urge him to focus on two key issues: regulating umbrella companies and pushing the government to quit. ‘it clarifies the rules of employment status, as it pledged to do in 2018.
“Thousands of entrepreneurs have seen their professional lives distorted and disrupted by the changes to IR35 in the private sector. As a result, many now find themselves in unwanted relationships with umbrella companies. We need to ensure that these umbrellas are transparent and fair with their customers and that true independents who choose not to use umbrellas are not required to do so. “