Data from HMRC, sent to the Environmental Audit Committee as part of its inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry found that a 126 workers were underpaid over a six-year period and have since been paid-out an average of £900.
The chair of the Audit Committee, MP Mary Creagh, has since said that the investigation shows exploitation is still “rife” within the industry.
More than £1,350 has been paid in wage arrears to 10 workers following HMRC investigations, which is the equivalent to more than three weeks’ pay at National Minimum Wage.
Additionally one in four investigations by HMRC found non-payment of the National Minimum Wage. The Committee was also told that 14 investigations are currently ongoing.
Creagh said: “‘Made in the UK’ should mean workers are paid at least the minimum wage. It has been 20 years since the introduction of the minimum wage but in our inquiry we heard that under payment is rife and goes hand in hand with a culture of fear and intimidation in the UK’s textile industry.
“This letter adds to the scandalous and growing evidence of workers being criminally underpaid in the UK. This must stop. We need government action to end these 19th Century practices in 21st Century Britain.”