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Volume 684: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether employment agencies are regarded as gangmasters when placing workers in agriculture and food processing industries; and, if so, whether a £250,000 registration fee and a further £1,600 fee are proportionate. [HL7087]

I can confirm that an employment agency would act as a gangmaster, as defined at Section 4 of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004, when supplying a worker to undertake work to which that Act applies. This includes work in the agriculture and food processing industries. The provisions of the Employment Agencies Act 1973 do not apply to those activities of an employment agency which are regulated by the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004.

Fees charged for a gangmaster licence range from £250 to £4,000. In addition, where the Gangmasters Licensing Authority considers it necessary, an additional fee ranging from £1,600 to £2,500 may be charged for an application inspection. An application inspection will involve a visit to the applicant’s business lasting one to two days. Fees are banded according to business turnover with the highest fee levels applying to businesses with a turnover in the sector of more than £10 million per annum. Fee rates have been set to reflect a business’s ability to pay and to recover Gangmasters Licensing Authority operating costs. A full consultation was conducted before fee rates were fixed.