It’s common knowledge that illegal gas repairs put people’s lives in danger, and that legitimate tradesmen aren’t particularly pleased about the activities of illegal gas fitters.
But the harm that these unscrupulous tradesmen does not just affect consumers and competitors, but every man, woman and child in the UK. Our boiler breakdown cover specialists have investigated some of the main problems.
Gas boiler repairs and cash-in-hand work
Many illegal gas appliance repairs are performed for ‘cash-in-hand’ payments. This means that the earnings of the worker do not go ‘through the books’, so the worker does not have to pay income tax, VAT or national insurance on their earnings.
People may think that they are getting a good deal when people ask for cash-in-hand, but illegal gas fitters are likely to perform substandard work that may be very costly to repair, so cash-in-hand is usually a false economy.
But when people work on a cash-in-hand basis, they deprive the government of essential revenue, curtailing the amount of money received by our social security and social protection systems.
The system of work also discourages people from performing regular work and means legitimate traders must deal with unfair competition, further impacting state revenues at a time when budget deficits are a key government concern.
Our boiler breakdown cover experts know that gas boiler repairs must be performed in a safe manner, and that this kind of work can pose a danger not just to customers but to contractors themselves.
The UK has made great strides in workplace safety over recent years, with legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work ect Act 1974 protecting workers in dangerous sectors and seeing the number of accidents at work plummet over recent years.
Illegal gas appliance repairs throw a spanner in the works. Illegal and unqualified gas fitters will pay very little attention to their legal requirements for workplace safety and proper working conditions. They may hire illegal immigrants and pay them derisory wages when conducting extensive gas work.
People can suffer serious injuries or even lose their lives when working on these jobs – gas is inherently dangerous, and burns, poisoning and explosions are real and serious risks when people work with it. While the rest of society works to improve employee safety and prevent workplace injuries, illegal gas workers try to pull us back.
How big is the problem?
The European Commission recently looked into the problem of undeclared work, and their findings indicate that the issue could be far greater than many people realise.
Gas boiler repairs and other home improvements and renovations were the most common reasons people used cash-in-hand work, with this representing 29% of all undeclared work. Furthermore, 11% of people said they have used undeclared labour in the last year, while 3% of people said they actually receive some of their paycheque as cash-in-hand.
László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, said that the European Commission is to propose the launch of a platform on the deterrence and prevention of undeclared work. This proposal will occur in April and should increase enforcement and inspections across the continent.
Consumers must not rely on Europe to protect them from illegal gas fitters, and must rely on themselves. Boiler breakdown cover with 247 Home Rescue is a great way to ensure that every boiler repair and annual boiler service in your home is performed safely and effectively.
Don’t attempt to touch any part of your boiler or central heating system if you’re unsure. Did you know? It’s illegal for anyone to use a gas appliance if they think it’s unsafe. It’s always better to be safe than sorry as you could make things worse.
Instead, call us on 0345 3192 247 and we can help. Our technical team will run through some simple troubleshooting to see if your problem can be resolved on the phone or they can book one of our friendly and knowledgeable Gas Safe registered engineers to get you back up and running as soon as possible.