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Car Wash Association challenges Government to prove it is acting against illicit hand car washes

PRA 01/02/2019

“The CWA is disappointed to see that the Government has produced so little evidence to back up its claims that HMRC is enforcing tax compliance at hand car washes”, said Brian Madderson, Chairman of the Car Wash Association (CWA), commenting on today’s publication of the Government’s response to the Environmental Audit select committee report into the hand car wash sector.

The Government is claiming that “HMRC investigates hand car washes across the UK to tackle these failings and prevent further tax losses to the Exchequer”. But this does not reflect the reality reported to us by the police and automatic car wash operators.

Madderson continues, “The police estimate is that there are up to 20,000 rogue hand car washes operating in the UK.   If HMRC had caught up with even a fraction of these, it would be collecting over a billion pounds in taxes. Yet the Government has produced no evidence to show that it is collecting much tax at all from rogue hand car washes.

“We are being given words of reassurance, but what we need is firm action against the modern slave owners who evade taxes and exploit vulnerable workers.

“What action is the Government taking to deal with the problems of environmental damage from mishandling trade effluent caused by the 20,000 hand car washes in the UK that operate illegally?

“More needs to be done to tackle illegal hand car washes and bringing an end to modern slavery.” 

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Brian Madderson is available for interview.

About the RMI

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.