Should a Car Wash be Licensed?


2 March 2020

By Elizabeth Bradshaw

Licensing is a vast subject, and one that most only associate with the sale of alcohol or gambling.

Most of us pay a visit to the local car wash each week to have our cars cleaned; businesses provide a conveyer belt service of immaculately washed cars and often the consumer thinks very little about those who provide that service. However, some businesses have been found to have a sinister side and some workers are subjected to appalling conditions.

The Government has been called on to introduce licensing for car washes.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:

“Modern slavery is a despicable crime and a rising threat to our communities. We are working with councils to increase awareness and understanding of modern slavery, to help them identify these ruthless profiteers and rescue their victims from lives of servitude, including those working at hand car washes for little or no pay.”

“Council regulatory and planning services have suffered significantly as a result of central government funding reductions which constrain councils’ ability to proactively focus on the enforcement and regulation of car washes.”

According to the Financial Times, Matthew Taylor, Interim Director of labour market enforcement is to propose that the licensing programme should be overseen by local authorities, with inspection costs covered by licence fees.

It has been reported that Mr Taylor said hand car washes should be licensed to combat the sector’s “endemic non-compliance” of minimum wage rules.

If the changes are effective it has been said that these changes should be fairly simple to introduce. In the interim consider downloading the safe car wash app. This app was launched in June 2018. The Safe Car Wash app is a new tool that will enable the largest community intelligence gathering exercise ever attempted in the United Kingdom. The app is aimed to stop the sinister side of these businesses.

It would suggest that if such apps exist and we are aware that the working conditions of some of these businesses are associated with modern slavery, why is the area not regulated?