Not, of course, for the climate! More for the bizarre sight of cash-in-hand workers awaiting pickup by contractors on street corners:
Every morning, up to 30 people can be seen gathering on the corner of Hertford Road, outside Wickes, in the hope of securing a day’s work cash in hand.
They aren’t Mexicans here, though. Mostly, it seems to be EU nationals. And the authorities are turning a beady eye on this new phenomenon.
A HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) spokesman said: “All construction contractors and subcontractors must register with HMRC.
“This is to ensure that the correct amount of tax and national insurance legally due is paid. Any abuse will be investigated and could result in a criminal prosecution.
“Everyone must pay the tax due on their income.”
A spokesman for Wickes said it was “continuing to work with the relevant authorities to tackle this issue and is committed to providing a safe shopping environment and excellent service”.
But there are always enablers, aren’t there?
Although Rita Chadha, 43, chief executive of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London, insists this isn’t against the law, she stresses it can be dangerous.
“They’re European citizens so they all have a right to work here, they’re not doing anything illegal,” she said.
“The danger is they’re likely to be exploited or paid minimum wage, if they’re paid at all.
“A lot of them are new to the UK so don’t know the system.”
And don’t they have some responsibility to find out before they get on the ferry, Rita?
Many of those queueing up are unfamiliar with national insurance and accessing government support, but Rita says it would only take a day to resolve, if resources were pooled.
“With the help of the council and the police we could just go down, and then get them registered with national insurance and explain the system to them,” she added.
“We did the same thing with a Polish national in Barking and as far as we’re aware he hasn’t been back since, so we can get results.”
One..?! That’s it? Your ‘charity’ has helped one person personcomply with UK employment law, and you can’t even guarantee that?
I wonder where all the money’s going?