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The Car Wash Association (CWA) says that ministers are unwilling to “crack down on illegal hand car wash operators”

The government has been accused of failing to act against illegal car washes after Home Office data revealed 78 hand car washes had been fined a total of almost £1.5 million for ‘right to work’ offences in the first nine months of 2023.

Right to work offences are when an employer fails to ensure that a member of staff has the correct immigration status to work in the UK.

The Car Wash Association (CWA) says that despite “blatant violations of the law”, ministers are unwilling to “crack down on illegal hand car wash operators”.

“These non-compliant hand car washes flout the law with impunity and are continually empowered by the authorities’ lack of enforcement,” says CWA chairman Brian Madderson.
“Whether born from unwillingness or inability, the failure to act signals to criminals that they can violate workers’ rights without legal repercussions.”

The CWA says the 2019 Conservative manifesto pledged to create a so-called Single Enforcement Body to enforce workers’ rights.

“By going back on their promise, the Conservatives have announced to the criminal gangs that they are not serious about cracking down on their activities,” says Madderson. “When criminals are allowed to operate with impunity, lives are put at risk. The issue of enforcing the law is one that transcends party politics and should be prioritised by any government.”