Frank Field MP
Your MP for Birkenhead
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Two breakthroughs for low-paid workers

The Government acted swiftly and effectively on two major concerns I brought to its attention last week – both of which affect some of the lowest paid people in our country.

The first is the appalling treatment that has been meted out to couriers in the ‘gig economy’ who deliver goods that have been bought online from the likes of John Lewis, Debenhams, and Next. The company responsible for delivering these goods is called Hermes. It relies on a network of 10,500 people, who are officially classed as being self-employed, to deliver them.

I submitted a report to the Prime Minister showing that couriers have been subjected to very low and unpredictable pay, bullying, and a loss of work at the drop of a hat. One courier lost his job while caring for his dying wife. Two parents, both couriers with Hermes, were threatened with a loss of work while they were at their dying little boy’s bedside.

I also argued that their employment relationship in no way resembles what most of us would think of as self-employment. They are given fixed timetables and rigid instructions to meet.

Ministers have asked HMRC to consider investigating the concerns raised in my report, in particular the enforcement of self-employed status on workers by companies wishing to avoid their tax and pension obligations.

Likewise, I raised with the Government the callous way in which many Birkenhead residents had been left without money, through no fault of their own, for weeks and weeks and weeks. This had resulted from a company called Concentrix arbitrarily stopping their tax credit payments. HMRC has since responded by cutting its ties with Concentrix once the company’s contract runs out.

These were two significant breakthroughs for vulnerable Britain.

My next surgery will take place at 5pm on Friday 30th September at Birkenhead Town Hall.
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