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National Minimum Wage: Seafarers

Volume 617: debated on Thursday 17 November 2016

12. What discussions he has had with officials of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs on enforcement of the national minimum wage for seafarers employed in the North sea. (907305)

The right hon. Gentleman will know I am a proud trade unionist. This is an area of great concern to me. I have met my friends in the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, and Nautilus International—I have Nautilus’ charter with me. My officials have been working closely with officials in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and HMRC, as well as stakeholders, on the application of the national minimum wage to seafarers in UK waters more generally.

I am grateful to hear that the Minister is taking this matter seriously. It surely cannot be right for HMRC to deem that a ferry service that starts in Aberdeen and finishes in Lerwick is operating wholly outside UK territorial waters. It is nonsense for the body that is supposed to enforce the minimum wage to be undermining it in this way. Will the Government do something to stop this?

I worked with the right hon. Gentleman in government and he knows of me what I know of him, which is that he does his homework. I have the statutory instrument and the original legislation in my hand as I speak. Let me tell him this: I am committed to reviewing the legislation to ensure that it applies to the offshore sector.