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EU crackdown on undeclared “cash-in-hand” work – MEP Kelly

Published: Wed, 03 February 2016

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Seán Kelly MEP has welcomed EU moves to put a halt to “undeclared work”, or the cash paid jobs which are not correctly declared to the relevant authorities commonly known as the shadow economy.

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg today (Wednesday), the Ireland South MEP said: “Undeclared work relates to any paid activities that are lawful as regards their nature but not declared to the public authorities. It is a major issue for the EU not just in terms of lost tax revenue, but also in terms of protecting workers rights and ensuring a high standard of working conditions.

“The proposal to implement a new European Platform passed by the European Parliament today will enable Member States to cooperate and to share best practices to combat this problem.

“There’s a certain concern that the undeclared nature of this work enables certain employers to take advantage of people’s situations and exploit them for work with very low wages and poor working conditions.

“It is important to realise that there is a demand for this work and so we must look at introducing enabling policies that aim to regularise these jobs and integrate them into the formal rules and regulations of the market economy. The development of such through the sharing of best practices should be a central role of this new platform,” he continued.

Ireland has some of the lowest levels of undeclared goods and services acquired in Europe, according to a Eurobarometer survey, however, the report also estimates the size of Ireland’s shadow economy as being close to 15% of GDP.

The study showed that the proportionally largest shadow economies were found to be in Eastern Europe, with Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltic countries close to 30%, while Austria, Luxembourg and the Netherlands ranked lowest (below 10%).

“Ireland’s shadow economy is by no means the biggest in Europe, however, we must acknowledge that there is room for improvement. I welcome the establishment of this new platform, and hope it can help ensure that all workers can contribute effectively to our economic recovery”, Mr Kelly concluded.

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