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MP fears garment workers in Leicester may be exposed to abuse under changed regulations

By Rachel Douglass

6 Oct 2022

Business

Image: Unsplash

Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe has expressed her concerns towards the city’s garment industry after Treasury minister Chris Philip suggested the government was planning to scrap regulations for businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

During an event for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Philip said that the UK government “will be reducing business regulation” and added that “Jacob Rees-Mogg has a whole load of ideas to do so”.

In a response published on the Morning Star Online, Webbe said: “The government’s plan to remove small and medium businesses from regulation is typical of a madcap government that loves announcements but ignores reality. We need clarity urgently and in reality, we need more regulation and enforcement, not less.”

Since being elected to represent Leicester, Webbe said she has been campaigning to end the exploitation that has “plagued” Leicester’s garment industry.

The city is home to a number of fast-fashion production sites, including that of Boohoo, which came under fire after multiple investigations found evidence of abysmal working conditions and underpaid staff.

In her response, Webbe noted that many reports put blame on the workers for not speaking out about issues, which the MP said ignored the culpability of fast-fashion companies.

She added: “The only solution is both rapid government action, legislative reform and active trade union involvement to protect workers and improve pay and conditions.

“For as long as Boohoo and other fast-fashion companies refuse to recognise trade unions and sell clothes for a few pounds, it is workers who will pay the price. Garment industry employees in Leicester need and deserve more than this warped PR exercise from a company with a long history of supply chain malpractice.”

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