Pimlico Plumbers boss Charlie Mullins wants to help out with the government's review of modern employment

Caitlin Morrison
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Plumbing boss Charlie Mullins wants to get involved a government employment review (Source: Getty)

Pimlico Plumbers boss Charlie Mullins wants to get involved with the government's review of modern employment - after losing an appeal against a former worker last week.

The plumbing boss has requested an "urgent" meeting with Matthew Taylor, Tony Blair's former adviser and head of the government review, in the wake of the Appeals Court ruling that Gary Smith, a tradesman previously affiliated with Pimlico Plumbers, had the right to be treated as a worker, and not as a self-employed contractor.

Mullins told City A.M. last week that he plans to appeal this decision, and has since repeated his calls for the government to offer more clarity on the distinction workers who are employed and those who are self-employed.

"There needs to be a black and white distinction between self-employment and employment," said Mullins.

"This grey area, which was made even murkier by the Court of Appeal ruling last week, doesn’t help anyone."

He said he would "love to sit down and talk" with Taylor about the employment review, specifically around the assumption that HMRC is losing out on tax income due to workers operating on a self-employed basis.

Read more: What the experts think the Pimlico Plumbers ruling means for the gig economy

"I think there is a genuine place for the self-employed contractor model in the 21st century UK economy, and I would very much like to add my input from 40 years in the plumbing industry to his very timely review," Mullins said.

"The problem is the assumption that businesses like Pimlico Plumbers, which pay self-employed contractors, are short changing HMRC with their tax arrangements, and shafting the contractors because their status denies them employment rights. Now that could be true in some other well-publicised cases, but certainly not in mine, and I'm certain I'm not alone.

Mullins argued that the 20 per cent of the £100,000 that his company's contractors earn is "far better for the tax man than a marginal 24 per cent on PAYE that the same tradesman would be paying if they were taking home £40,000 as an employee".

He added: "The system by which we tax work is very complicated, and in many ways represents a code of practice based on 20th century conditions, attempting to deal with the realities of 21st century social and employment practices. And there is no doubt that it is failing."

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