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News & Views

New HRMC taskforce launched in the Midlands

A new task force that will target res- taurant tax evasion in the Midlands has recently been announced by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). It is hoped the initiative will recover £2.5 million from tax dodgers in the region. Last year, taskforces were launched in London, the North West and Scotland, and these are expected to yield over £13

million. The specialist teams undertake intensive bursts of activity in specific high-risk trade sectors and locations in the UK. Taskforces also visit traders to examine their records and carry out other investigations. With 12 taskforces already working around the UK, there are plans for a further 30 to be set up throughout the next year.

Restaurant owner may have to pay back illegal migrant ‘profits’

A hearing at Carlilse Crown Court this April revealed that a former res- taurant owner could have made more than £1million by employing illegal immigrants. Manchester business man Shafiqul Haque, who owned the Tagore Restaurant in Ambleside and The Emperor of India in Windermere, was jailed back in September for breaking immigration laws. Having now completed the sentence, Haque may still have to pay back any profits he made from the crimes com- mitted. The prosecutor, Barrister

Jonathan Clarke, alleged at the hearing – which is under the Proceeds of Crime Act – that the defendant had made £1.3 million by providing jobs and accom- modations to individuals who shouldn’t have been in the country. Haque, however, disputes this claim. He said that being a Muslim made it his duty to give support to people from his homeland who were in need. His bar- rister Brendon O’Leary successfully requested that the case be adjourned in order for the defence to gather evidence to determine the actual sum of money.

The court was told that Haque had paid his migrant workers little or nothing at all, but that the restaurant owner had given them food and accommo- dation while they worked for him. The UK Border Agency claims this allowed him to increase his profits by avoiding tax and national insurance payments. A final decision as to whether Haque will have to pay pack the money will be made by the end of August.

Employers concerned by recruiting risks

Britain’s employers are still display- ing a reluctance to recruit, with the country’s economy continuing to slow down throughout 2012. A new cautious- ness about taking on new staff was recently reflected in a report produced by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG. The results showed a modest rise in per-

manent placements in May, but at the slowest growth rate for several months. Taking in data from 400 recruitment and employment consultancies from around the country, the report also indicated a significant surge in tempo- rary staff recruitment, particularly in certain sectors such as financial ser-

vices. It seems that more and more companies are using temporary staff to help them expand to cater for surges in workload without being saddled with unwanted overheads in fragile eco- nomic conditions.

Spice Business Magazine


Sept/Oct 2012

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