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UK Fashion Leaders Pen Open Letter To Gov’t; Warn Of Brexit Decimation

The U.K. fashion industry is being hit hard amid the shifts from Brexit, according to an open letter from Tamara Cincik, CEO of Fashion Roundtable, addressed to government leaders, asking for aid like what’s been offered to other industries.

Fashion Roundtable is a think tank for the fashion industry. Cincik wrote that it has “a thriving industry, based on global leadership, complex supply chains and above all a deeply interconnected relationship with our overseas colleagues.”

“The fashion and textiles industry is the largest component of the previously thriving U.K. creative industries, growing 11 percent annually, bringing vital jobs and innovation to the U.K.,” Cincik wrote. “We contribute more to U.K. GDP than fishing, music, film, pharmaceuticals and automobile industries combined.”

But with Brexit have come changes, and Cincik wrote that the fashion industry has been “disregarded in this deal and our concerns overlooked in current policy decisions. All of which are severely impacting our opportunities to build back better and grow our onshoring manufacturing, digital innovation and sustainable design and technology in the U.K., where we now, more than ever, have the real chance to show global leadership.”

The letter goes on to say that the everyone working in the EU will need an expensive work permit for every member state they visit, which will come with a good amount of paperwork as well for products and equipment.

The fashion industry, the letter said, needs help, particularly the smaller businesses, and especially in light of the 23 million pound ($31.4 million) package to support the fishing industry that the government granted.

The letter urged the government to add garment workers to the Shortage Occupation Visa List, which will help with the thousands of vacancies currently present, aiding in training new workers.

Additionally, the letter asked the government to take back its decision to stop the VAT Retail Export Scheme, as it’s also set to impact the tourism and travel industry. It also requested tax relief and travel exemptions similar to how the film industry gets them.

PYMNTS reported that Brexit has caused issues for importing and exporting luxury goods, with some consumers and companies seeing extra costs they hadn’t known about before.

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