Responding to the Chancellor’s Spring Budget Statement, Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive British Fashion Council said:
“The British Fashion Council (BFC) welcomes the announcements in today’s budget that will enable businesses and workers to recover from the effects of the pandemic including the extension of support schemes to September, the continuation of the furlough scheme, the fourth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) with the inclusion of “newly” self-employed, and notably the support to retail including continued rates freeze and £5bn in Restart Grants for the retail sector. We encourage responsible retail, ensuring that the benefits of this support are passed on through the value chains to suppliers, designers, and workers within them.
A report by Oxford Economics for the BFC has shown that the impact of COVID could be twice as hard on the fashion industry than the economy as a whole, therefore collective action is required to ensure recovery and positive growth of the industry as there are many businesses and workers that fall outside of the government support measures. We continue to discuss with the government the importance of the needs of the fashion industry, such as the movement of creatives through a fashion quarantine exemption and a “touring” visa to work in key EU markets; support for freelancers; a review of the Shortage of Occupation List to include skilled fashion workers and the need for government-backed event insurance to allow us to restart with certainty. As our industry moves to a clean growth strategy, it is essential that the government supports through investment in innovation and R&D as a priority.
The combined devastating effects of the pandemic and Brexit have had a greater negative impact on the fashion sector than most, and therefore we call on urgent action by the government to support the industry to play its role throughout the UK in its economic recovery.”