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Talkin’ About the Car Wash, Yeah January 19, 2016

Posted by Audit Monkey in The Joy & Pain of Internal Audit, Working Life in Britain.
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A recent article in The Times highlighted that car washes, i.e. automatic mechanical rollover car washes are being driven out by illegal gangs.  As many Londoners and others know, hand car washes have sprung up here and there to, well, wash cars.  These are often staffed by migrant labour, keen to earn some cash and live the [British] dream.  No problem there, especially if you don’t mind washing cars for a living.  However, this activity is having an adverse effect on automatic car washes located at petrol stations as less washes are being carried out by customers.  In turn, this impacts the income, hence profit and suddenly that automatic roller behind the petrol pumps looks like an expensive fixed asset.  It would seem that British motorists prefer a hand wash rather than an automatic roller.

Would you believe, there is an industry group for petrol stations, the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), and they have staged a fight back.  The usual arguments have been wheeled out (geddit?), loss of income to the Treasury due to cash in hand transactions at manual car washes, the use of powerful detergents which leak into the water table and use of illegal workers.  Apparently the UK Border Agency (remember them?) used to carry out raids to detain illegal immigrants but presumably these are few and are between since the Border Agency was disbanded.

You are probably thinking ‘what’s my issue?’.  The PRA’s byline in the article is the lack of regulation over those managing and running hand car washes.  By implication the PRA is calling for more regulation.  This tickled me as the solution to any problem these days is to throw more regulation over it, be it the taming the of Banks through CRD IV, the introduction of regulatory bodies for oversight purposes, e.g. the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) for the supermarkets, the list goes on.  Conversely you could argue the British government should have a more robust stance toward immigrants but hey, that wasn’t the policy back then, nor is it now due to the ‘freedom of movement for workers within the EU’. But more regulation?  Please spare me.

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Comments»

1. Richard - January 21, 2016

It’s about time the government took the cash in hand economy seriously as it costs the treasury and unfairly penalises legitimate businesses.

ITauditSecurity - January 26, 2016

Looks like that industry is going down the drain…


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