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DEFRA LAUNCHES SECOND CONSULTATION ON THE DRAFT GANGMASTERS (EXCLUSIONS) REGULATIONS
Defra is today launching the second stage of a public consultation on the scope of the Gangmasters Licensing Scheme.

 

The public are being asked to comment on four options for determining the extent to which the scope of the Gangmasters Licensing Scheme should apply to labour providers who operate in the food processing and packaging industry. The four options are:

* Option 1 - Exclude labour providers who supply workers to undertake second stage processing and packaging of food.
* Option 2 - Exclude labour providers who supply workers to undertake second stage processing and packaging of food using Language Lessons refined definitions of initial and second stage processing.
* Option 3 - Exclude labour providers who supply workers to undertake processing and packaging of food in all off-farm facilities.
* Option 4 - No exclusions for processing and packaging of food and agricultural products.

Sustainable Farming and Food Minister, Lord Bach, said:
"I am pleased to announce this second consultation stage which should help us to decide how the Gangmaster Licensing Scheme should apply to the food processing and packaging industry."

"We are keen to encourage public participation in this consultation and the views of labour providers and labour users in the industry are particularly welcome."

The first stage of the consultation sought views on the extent to which labour providers operating in agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and the food processing and packaging industry should be excluded from the requirement to obtain a gangmaster's licence. Defra also commissioned research into the incidence of exploitation by labour providers operating in food processing and packaging.

This second round of consultation deals specifically with food processing and packaging. Defra is consulting further on the scope of the scheme in relation to workers supplied by labour providers to process and package agricultural, fish and shellfish products.

On completion of the consultation Defra will consider all responses received to both rounds before introducing the Gangmasters (Exclusions) Regulations. These will specify the circumstances where a labour provider is not required to obtain a licence.

The GLA and Defra will also be holding a series of regional Consultation Events throughout the UK during the next two months to provide labour providers and users and small businesses with the opportunity to hear more about the new Licensing Scheme, the second consultation on the Exclusion Regulations and to give feedback on both sets of proposals.

Events will be held between October and December in Brighton, Worcestershire, Morecambe, Penzance, and Boston. There will also be events in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

The closing date for this consultation is 15 December 2014. For an electronic copy of the consultation paper see the Defra website:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/gangmaster-exclregstwo/index.htm

More information on licensing can be obtained from the GLA website at www.gla.gov.uk or by calling the GLA Helpline on 0845 6025020.

Notes to Editors

1. A public consultation was also launched on Monday 17th October by the recently formed Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA). The GLA will be asking for views on the rules that will govern the operation of the Gangmasters Licensing Scheme and the conditions attached to a licence application, inspections and licence fees.
For more information see:
http://www.gla.gov.uk/press_171005.htm

2. Defra's first consultation document on the Exclusion Regulations can be viewed at:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/gangmaster-exclreg/index.htm

3. A summary of responses to the first consultation can be viewed at:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/responses.htm

4. The report of the research into the activities of labour providers in the processing industry can be viewed at:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/gangmasters/index.htm#research

5. The consultation timetable is as follows:
* Brighton, 28 October
* Northern Ireland, 1 November
* Worcestershire, 25 November, attended by Peter Luff MP
* Morecambe, 2 December, attended by Geraldine Smith MP
* Penzance, 9 December, attended by Andrew George MP
* Boston, 9 December, attended by Mark Simmonds MP
Dates for events in Scotland and Wales are still to be confirmed.

6. Press are welcome to attend all events.

7. The Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 and the Explanatory Notes are priced documents which are published by the Stationary Office (www.tso.co.uk/bookshop). An electronic copy of the Act can be viewed at:
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2004/20040011.htm

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