Business leaders have told the government to get its own house in order before subjecting firms to dawn raids and huge fines over data security and work permits.
Employers’ group the CBI scoffed at suggestions that private sector companies should be scrutinised over issues recently brought to light by government mishaps.
The Home Office was last month forced to admit to employing thousands of illegal immigrants as security staff – one of whom even guarded the prime minister’s car.
Then, chancellor Alistair Darling revealed that HM Revenue & Customs had lost two discs containing the personal details of 25 million child benefit claimants.
Yet the government announced it would be fining employers £10,000 for each illegal worker unwittingly hired, while pressure grew to allow Information Commissioner Richard Thomas to spot check employers’ data security procedures without prior consent.
Susan Anderson, director of HR policy at the CBI, told Personnel Today: “Let’s look at the public sector before we look at the private sector. What is the point in carrying out data inspections on the CBI? We hardly hold 25 million records.
“As for illegal workers, you can’t argue with the principle of being tough on those people who have not obeyed the law. But again, who ended up employing illegal security guards? The scandals have not been in the private sector.”