Madam Prime Minister Theresa May,

Today is the fourth anniversary of the passing of the Modern Slavery Act. Yet across the UK modern slavery is happening in plain sight and we can take action to prevent it.

The recent findings of the Environmental Audit Committee revealed that there is a ‘spectrum of exploitation’ taking place at hand car washes. Though not all hand car washes breach employment, taxation, health and safety and environmental regulations, the committee found there was widespread and flagrant rule breaking across the country.

The committee heard that car washes are the most commonly report sites to the Modern Slavery Helpline; that there is underpayment of the national minimum wage by an estimated 15%; that tax evasion was common; that workers had suffered from terrible working conditions including chemical burns and that unmanaged there are a range of toxic substances within the waste water that can be polluting. This situation is unacceptable.

Local councils can be part of the solution to tackle Modern Slavery, and over 80 councils have already signed the Co-operative Party’s Charter against Modern Slavery. With experience of licensing, the right framework and funding, councils can help tackle non-compliance in their area.

We support the proposal by the Director of Labour Market Enforcement’s and endorsed by MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee for the compulsory licensing of hand car washes to be introduced.


Geraint Davies MP

Alex Sobel MP

Cllr Nick Forbes (Leader of LGA Labour Group and Leader of Newcastle)

Lord Kennedy of Southwark

John Biggs (Mayor of Tower Hamlets)

Cllr Simon Blackburn (Leader of Blackpool)

Councillor Allen Brett (Leader of Rochdale)

Cllr Matthew Brown (Leader of Preston)

Cllr Claire Coghill (Leader of Waltham Forest)

Tom Copley AM (London)

Paul Dennett (Mayor of Salford)

Cllr Julie Dore (Leader of Sheffield)

Damien Egan (Mayor of Lewisham)

Councillor Tricia Gilby (Leader of Chesterfield)

Cllr Tom Hayes (Oxford)

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe (Leader of Bradford)

Cllr Jack Hopkins (Leader of Lambeth)

Cllr John Howard (Redbridge)

Cllr Sue Jeffrey (Leader of Redcar and Cleveland)

Cllr Chris Read (Leader of Rotherham)

Cllr Tim Swift (Leader of Calderdale)

Cllr Sharon Taylor (Leader of Stevenage)

Cllr Alan Waters (Leader of Norwich)

Cllr Richard Watts (Leader of Islington)

Councillor Glyn Jones (Deputy Mayor of Doncaster)

Dr Alan Billings (Police & Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire)

Mark Burns-Williamson OBE (Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire and Lead for Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking)

Hardyal Dhindsa (Police & Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire)

Clive Grunshaw (Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire)

Ron Hogg (Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham)

Paddy Tipping (Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire)