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A cry for help for 28,000 laundry workers

Everyone agrees that laundries should be on the list of businesses that can apply for rate relief, including MPs, Cabinet Officers and Local Councils. But no one has done anything about it says the Textile Services Association (TSA), despite the fact that much of the UK laundry industry, which employs 28,000 people, is about to go out of business.

The lockdown has seen virtually every industry that has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic receive extra support from government. But not laundries. Without the hospitality industry on stream, most of the laundry industry has been totally shut down. Many of the UK’s laundry businesses are now in such dire straits that they will go bankrupt without some sort of financial aid.

David Stevens, CEO of the TSA, which represents the UK laundry industry said: “I have had literally hundreds of calls with councils, rate officers, MPs, even cabinet officers, all of whom agree that our circumstances are exceptional. I’ve sent letter after letter. I’ve had meeting after meeting.  All these people understand how essential we are to the hospitality industry. They know that hospitality can’t bounce back without laundry. But they all say their hands are tied without clear Government advice.

“We have the support of UK Hospitality, major hotel groups, trade associations, MPs, and so the list goes on. In fact nobody disagrees with us. Even the government agrees. But nothing is done. Now it’s critical, we’re on our knees. 

“The truth is, nobody seems to care about the 28,000 workers in our industry. There is a total lack of decision making within government, and nobody there seems to understand the processes they themselves have put in place.

“We’re not asking for help any more. We’re begging.”

The TSA has set down exactly what it needs in a simple two-point plan:

  • Give the UK laundry industry business rate relief
  • Recognise that effectively hospitality laundries are part of the hospitality industry – and should get the same support that it gets

“It’s frankly appalling. Stop prevaricating and procrastinating. Give us the support we need to survive,”adds Stevens. “There are 28,000 jobs are on the line. We need help. Not tomorrow, not next week. We need it right now.”

About Sarah OBeirne

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