Thursday, 29 November 2018

environmental audit committee

Environmental Audit Committee
Call For Evidence on sustainability in the fashion industry.

John Robertson, online shopkeeper & belt maker at Veganline.com
2 Avenue Gardens
London
SW14 8BP
0208 286 9947
shop@veganline.com

Parliament...commons-witness-guide  says  "Include any recommendations for action by the Government or others which you would like the committee to consider." I recommend as many as I can in case worth noting, starting with proposal underlined. Which doesn't mean I trade at any scale or am more expert or anything like that. "Be concise" says the guide but the call for evidence asks general questions that others answer differently. So thanks for reading my un-concise general answers if you want to. I have tried to set this out so that readers can skip to another section in case that helps, and mention themes as well in case that helps navigate while skipping. Thanks for reading them and if anyone gets in touch for sources or to ask questions I will try to reply.

For the record I trade as Veganline.com selling vegan shoes online that are mainly made in the UK and similar democratic welfare states to the vegan market. If I were not writing this I would be installing a 21st century web site with stock control. I spend a lot of time googling UK shoe factories and sometimes visiting them and buying from them, and see a UK shoe industry that's like the public face of the clothes-making industry - the factories with websites and landlines and unusual machinery or skills that are easily lost. I have listed the shoe factories on http://bit.ly/shoefactories and a dozen or so known underwear factories on Pantstopoverty.org.uk. A couple have closed since I wrote the list and none of them has the cash to fund a trade association lobbyist or a PR office or keep-up with government initiatives. I don't see committee witnesses from UK factories. This is a problem because there are so many government and college-funded initiatives willing to write and claim expertise alongside the big brands' PR or ethical trade offices which can talk, and a conversation takes place over the heads of people who make things in the UK. The British Fashion Council talks to DEFRA apparently. I don't know what that has to do with people who make things and am sure, from experience of things like Ethical Fashion Forum, that their opinions are not mine.

I don't know of "dark factories" in the UK shoe industry where people work double the hours on their wage slips. I guess the reason is that the work is multi-machine and multi-skill so factories can't pop-up or shut-down when they get a capricious buyer from ASOS or a tax inspection. They stay shut unfortunately. The same goes for a lot of the more public clothing factories with unusual machines. I had a token share in East End Manufacturing that made things like dresses, so I got a letter about reasons for closure after capricious ASOS buyers moved orders overseas.

  • new clothes far east: out-sourcing
  • old clothes (reduce use, re-use by resale/rent, recycle fibre)
  • new clothes UK: re-shoring

1

new clothes far east: out-sourcing


    General question -  you might want to skip down to "proposal".

    "What incentives have led to the rise of “fast fashion?” asks the call for evidence.
    If a welfare state like the UK trades with another country that has no welfare state, like Bangladesh, some things are likely to happen. The poor in a country like Bangladesh will leave school early - specially girls - and have Victorian-size families. Maybe as a kind of insurance against children not surviving or growing old without family but I don't really know. So poverty will remain in a booming economy, as in Victorian Britain. I think factory wages have fallen in Bangladesh as the scale of the industry has risen and can try to find the reference if anybody is interested.
    UK manufacturers will have extra costs paying for things like secondary schools or pensions or the NHS or dole or unemployment insurance and so find their industry under-cut or else furtive, under-invested, and paying half the minimum wage. They will be tempted to vote Trump, or that's what US rust-belt steelworkers have done in a similar situation when faced with Mexican imports. There are quotes from Leicester machinists which look a bit cynical about government. (I read that Turkish support for a particular party is centred on people like those in the Turkish textile industry but don't know any more about Turkey. Well I do. They have voted Fascist several times in a row with effects on human rights and lots of freedoms including press freedom and we should do something about it with our tariffs, but that is beyond the scope of this call for evidence.) 
    Bangladeshis will find it very hard to change the system because so many Bangladeshi goods are sold for cheap export, competing with Cambodian or Vietnamese or Sri Lankan cheap export. That's what rich Bangladeshis will say anyway - the sort of people who run Bangladeshi government. People who don't want to start educating their servants or anything like that. Meanwhile, UK agencies like the Department for International Development or Oxfam have to stay on good terms with the Bangladeshi government or the Cambodian or Vietnamese or such and will tend to put their clients' point of view, which is what they learned on economics courses or development studies courses anyway, so they won't think it odd to undermine the welfare state which pays their wages in a country where they are based.
    Surprisingly, economists do not know much about social insurance systems. They were not in the text book when I did an economics degree, because social insurance doesn't sell textbooks in the USA. If economists note the law of comparative advantage, they don't note how it should work between a welfare state and a sweatshop country. I don't think development economists at Dfid will know much about social insurance and tariffs either from their Development Studies courses. You'd have to find a course in Public Administration to study this, and not many 18 year-olds study Public Administration: it should be in the popular course. 
    That is why we are poor.

    Proposal  Social clause tariffs
    Themes - Tax,  Chasing the cheapest needle round the planet

    I propose a conditional tariff on countries like Bangladesh - the cheap needle countries - which is set each year from a formula, so people can plan-ahead about what will happen to orders that chase the cheap needle round the planet. Last time anything like this was tried it was called a "social clause". A formula relating the amount of anything like a welfare state in each country to the tariff. So Cambodia, which has introduced a big means-tested national assistance scheme - would get a lower tariff than Bangladesh, which has no national insurance and no national assistance. There would need to be an index of social insurance in each country, a bit like the brand new Human Rights Index or the Democracy Index.
    General Theme: enforcement of minimum wage or tax payment
    Committee members asked about enforcement of minimum wage or tax payment. I think we can guess the answer, which is that if you enforce against cooks or cleaners or builders, the work probably goes to a better UK employer. If you enforce against textile workers, the work goes to Bangladesh. But this reduces the potential of "made in UK" to be a premium ethical brand that sells better than "Nike", which has a huge markup on manufacturing costs in Myanmar that it spends on PR and advertising. 
    I don't care whether the tariff is popular in Bangladesh as this is would be a law to help British people. I understand that 1970s attempts at a "social clause" in tariffs were dropped because unpopular with the rich people who run poor countries.
    If Bangladesh develops in the way UK law-makers want, maybe with a new national system or free secondary schools, then law-makers in Bangladesh would expect that that the tariff would fall. They will not loose quite so much business to Vietnam or Sri Lanka as they otherwise would by becoming the second cheapest country instead of the cheapest. And families would tend to have less children.
    There are some background points about history. In the UK, we had a Forster's Education Act in 1871, a National Insurance Act in 1911, and a National Assistance Act in 1948. None of these was replicated by the Colonial Service in Bengal, and instead the economists of the Foreighn Office and Department for International Development suggested a zero tariff with Bangladesh after the UK joined the EU, set to promote development. That is why the fast-fashion, fast-poverty story is so big in Bangladesh, rather than other countries. That is also why the UK textile industry has shrunk so much since 1871, 1911, and 1948. There used to be so much of it that there was a regional accent that could be heard over the sound of looms and a breed of dog that could clean underneath. Then we paid economists at the Colonial Service and Department for International Development to put ourselves out of work.

    Incentive

    "consequence-free"  "in the food industry ... you go into a shop who grew your peas". 

    Proposal - factory label

    Themes - example of due diligence against modern slavery - preparation in case a large market requires this in future - simple regulation to suit small business - cattle market theme of small business v large business - tax collection easier  - minimum wage enforcement easier - emotional attachment to clothes and so broader issues like keeping them them longer -  

    Q112 Chair "this is something that is completely standard in the food industry, where you can see when you go into a shop who grew your peas". 
    I propose that government pesters wholesalers and importers and retailers to name the factory on each item of clothing, even before it's required in any market. I'd like a law as soon as possible too. Once the chain stores have to do it, it's only fair that wholesalers should follow although they will be more touchy because each of their customers will look at the labels and think "could I cut out a stage in the chain?"
    For Indian clothes sold in the UK, they already identify themselves for their home market so they could just do the same thing when making for the UK market.
    For UK labels sold in France, the Committee heard that nobody knows where a French duty-of-care law for French companies will take the market. Will French labels show more detail? Will British ones look more corporate and furtive and loose trade? Nobody knows. Also, will the EU market soon have a majority for labelling by country of origin? Nobody knows.
    Ministers can use the arguments above to try to persuade more labels to include the names of the factories, even before it's a legal requirement. Ministers looked reluctant to change laws or taxes, but mentioned a new Retail Advisory Group, and Anti Slavery Review, and The Government's Response to the Labour Market Strategy Review (in Q447) as places to ask for change.

    Background to factory label proposal

    The bureaucratic effect is a cheap or free way to show diligence & transparency without taking a qualification and then paying to join some scheme to apply the jargon from that qualification, which is what I don't want. That would be as bad as the thing for . This is what some witnesses said about a later stage - labelling sources of raw material and having to label it by law - but the same answers apply to the first of step of naming manufacturers on the label voluntarily. Some people might approve of the early voluntary stages and not the later compulsory stages but I agree with them all.
    Mr Phillip Dunn @ Ludlow MP, Q247 "identify the sources of your raw material?" Leanne Wood @ Burbury  "the practicalities ... difficult with larger suppliers that import lots of goods versus smaller suppliers  where tracing...back would be challenging" -  Paul Lister @ Primark "the regulatory burden is often easier easier for us to fulfil, than for the smaller competitors, but any regulation needs to be enforced and level" -  
    I am a smaller competitor and I know what they mean. Wholesalers give minimal information. It takes nagging to persuade them to put the country of origin on their UK-made goods, possibly. They might write "cotton". That's about it. These are people who saw UK production collapse in competitiveness and disappear in their lifetimes, and they have had to make sense of that somehow.  In contrast, I am told that Indian factories write their names on garments by default; it's only their expert orders that go without a factory label. I know that the UK's ministry of defence clothing used often to have the name of the factory on it, until a decade or two ago. And as one MP said  

    Practical effects of factory labels are not all good or bad

    I think that factory labels would need to be introduced slowly because the effects are awkward. For example Lambert Howarth - the firm that made Blizzard Boots - was persuaded by M&S to subcontract to China while closing the home factory. Than a transparency initiative dictated that they say where they'd subcontracted. Then M&S bought direct and Lambert Howarth closed altogether. So it's awkward that anyone in the supply chain can try to by-pass a stage, a wholesaler for example, in the short term, until the market adjusts. It also takes time for the market to get savvy about fibs. One witness said they were getting savvy: 
    Q388 Paul Smith @ Misguided "the new system facilitates listing the manufacturer as well as the supplier.... these sites will be listed on the purchase order ... when our freight forwarder goes to collect products. If he is directed to an address that he does not recognise, that can be flagged back up to us to say there is something amiss here. The first line on the purchase order will be the supplier and the second will be the manufacturer's address" . In other words, a secret subcontract involves an extra delivery to the lead contractor to avoid being found-out, which isn't a big deal but it's something
    So you get a more savvy market and a more informed one, even if you don't get the truth on all the labels. It's a step towards good things like tax collection and minimum wage enforcement and UK shopkeepers being able to find UK suppliers, UK suppliers finding UK shopkeepers.
    Cattle Market theme - big buyer small supplier
    I hope that retailers get better at long-term commitment to factories in exchange for investment in machines and staff - vague repeated point that applies to supermarkets and farms as well as clothes shops and clothes factories. Primark's Paul Lister said (Q152)
    We often buy on longer lead times, in quiet periods for the factories, and then we pay the factories early. If you are a factory owner, you will be able to give Primark a better price to reflect that. Then, our margins are very tight. Our published margins are between 9% and 12%. 
    As a customer I know that Primark has a lot of fast-changing designs like the screen prints on the T shirts, but others don't change so fast, and that could be how they claim "we have very little unused stock. It is about 0.25%" . So the returns go back on the shelf. I guess it is similar in the factories, where odds and ends can go towards the next batch, while tooling or setup costs are lower. That's how it would work for shoes.
     where? that it tries to be a reasonable customer to its suppliers, and that goes a long way to getting a reasonable price. The chair has said that scale speed and distance what phrase?  

    2
    waste & labelling of old clothes: 


    Themes already covered by the proposal for factory labelling, above:

    • "Does labelling inform consumers about how to donate or recycle clothing to minimise environmental impact, including what to do with damaged clothing?"
    Witnesses mentioned that the emotional value of clothing, and interest in it, is something that's likely to be associated with the points above, like walking to a charity shop or buying a heavyweight longer-lasting garment.  A garment with "A Patel, Rana Plaza" or "A Patel, Typewriter Building, Leicester" is more likely to prompt subtle responses that one that says "George at ASDA", I think, because George is fictional.

    Machines yet to be invented theme - often repeated - machines rumoured to exist theme

    A Theme wasn't called-for but came-up several times in witness statements:
    Machines yet to be invented.
    I can imagine a few that are hard to visualise because few of us get a chance to see the existing and not ideal machine, even if we see an ad for a grant available to develop a better one.

    Q21
    Alan Wheeler @ Textile Recycling Association wants to see "Producers and retailers offering incentives for design for recycling .... dissasembly ... durability" "Fibre ... market is limited to things like wiping cloths, insulation, shoddy, which is a wool/yarn substitute"
    Mark Sumner @ Leeds University School of Design; "fibre to fibre - chemically process it and turn it into something else. People have done it in test tubes"

    • Machines for sorting garments by size & style out of the tip or the recycling bin. This could save selling them in lucky-dip bales, and so, I guess loosing a lot of their value. I have seen a TV documentary about JMBarry bales of mixed stock going to Uganda. I have seen web pages about Ministry of Defence auctions of bales a few years ago, such as a bale of mixed sizes of combat trousers.
    • Machines for sorting unsalable garments by fabric composition so that the mainly-cotton ones can be turned into short-fibre cotton.
    • Machines for shredding mixed fibres and using them or separating them somehow. Apparently polyester fibres have been disolved and re-constituted in a test tube in Leeds, but it took a long time. The former Cortoulds factory in Hull exists to turn wood pulp into microfibre, but I don't know how - it sounds similar.

    • Machines for making cheap recycled fibre into mattress stuffing and insulation and packing blankets. Apparently factories in Wakefield have done this kind of work for ever but wool insulation in the shops is still more expensive than fibreglass. One witness said that members of the recycling association have a difficult time a the moment. I read that this is because of over-supply of very thin cotton, which is hard to recycle.

    Proposal: waste theme - machines yet to be invented theme - machines rumoured to exist
    If there are grants to develop new machines, there should be grants to display old ones in use.

    Most of use can design a better hanger, because we see how they work, but we don't see how recycling machines work and that's a problem. 
    I think that councils have a role here. They might find public space in which these machines can operate, publicly, behind a glass window or visibly at the tip or somewhere like that. The idea of doing it publicly is that someone might thing "I could do better than that" and have a go, while at the moment it is not general knowledge. It could be relatively easy for councils and recycling companies that are short of time and money. I don't know any more practicalities than that, but maybe a tip contractor could organise space at a time for a recycling company to run a machine in a way that visitors could see. That would be a good thing. Maybe someone who knows about other kinds of textile machines could have a look.

    Proposal: waste theme - machines rumoured to exist theme - keeping these machines in use

    Employer-run pensions to be owned by those who have paid-in, and provide contribution-related benefits. This would save scrapping of old machines after sudden closures.

    Mark Sumner @ Leeds University School of Design says "A number of [Textile Recycling Association]... members are going through very difficult financial times .... role for government to play in funding for recycling techniques"  
    There's a danger of scarce, unusual machines being lost after a rapid factory closure, so this is a point about rapid factory closure, for example at Richards of Aberdeen, a firm which had unusual flat looms capable of weaving stalk fibres like flax as well as synthetics. When it closed, employees waited years for compensation after their company pension turned-out to have too little money left in it. We know the same story from BHS. So, if such pensions were contribution-based and owned by contributors, then it would be easier for them to remain separate and keep enough cash to keep going. If they lend money to the factory, then employees would be top of the list of creditors talking to the receiver and the liquidator  about what can be done with assets. I think they'd be much better at making use of old machines than a typical receiver and less machines would go to waste. Taxpayers would pay fewer compensation claims as well.

    Proposal: waste theme - machines yet to be invented theme
    Open-source nesting and pattern cutting software for designers to reduce off-cuts and waste

    I propose that somebody somewhere sponsors an open source pattern-nesting program that works with other open source software. Maybe there is some funding body in the world that could sponsor it. It could be part of the government's Industrial Strategy. 
    I understand that there is free open source knitting machine software, but not yet much that's free or cheap to lay-out patterns on a screen or a projection or even drive a cutting machine for those that can make one up, and training for people who want to make their own machines is a similar theme.. I have a page on the net called "nesting software for next to nothing". It gets a lot of hits but there isn't a lot on it.
    One thing that anyone can do is to use more open source software, hoping that more widespread use encourages more people to teach themselves how to write it. This is something likely to save money, rather than cost money. Leicester Council could do it.
    Background to the proposal
    I tried a pattern cutting for footwear course at London College of Fashion. It was low-tec and the second half of the course usually didn't run because the first part was over-priced. There was, the tutor said, a Gerber fabric cutting machine with its own nesting software in a college building but these things cost in the low tens of thousands of pounds to buy so there's no demand for a course in how to use it. A fashion graduate with student debt, for example, wouldn't buy one. There would be nowhere to put it. So, thinking of Phoebe English's claim that every garment in Oxford Street has a degree of cutting waste, it would be good if fashion designers taught themselves the most economical use of fabric by downloading some free software that maybe a factory could use as well. They might soon get to the standard of Primark patterns which - it's claimed - have very little waste.
    There was another comment in the oral evidence where a buyer said "CMT Units" for cut-make-trim; workshops that cut from a roll of fabric instead of knitting a tube from yarn as old factories are still able to do. It saves them some wastage and a couple of seams. I haven't thought of a proposal to help people make tube knitting machines to I mention it here as a digression. 

    Proposal: waste theme - machines yet to be invented theme - procurement theme

    Size Hangers for charity shops and ebayers.
    A government department could commission size hangers. Then factories would make them and ebayers or charity shop volunteers could use them
    Sustainable clothing action plan theme relevant to Q500 and Q502
    Any of us with a bit of time can try designing a hanger that shows size, and expanding hangers already exist so there may be one with a size label on the market already. It might even come with a tape for length or a dial for weight.
    Size-hangers - if that's what they're called - would help re-sale of clothes online. You'd hang the garment, take a snapshot with the Ebay app or whatever, and type the details from the snapshot into the form on the screen. You might have time to do another site like Depop as well.  
    M&S told the committee that they have lots of samples and returns to give away. Easier hanging might help them sell the stuff instead. Primark said they had only 0.25% of turnover to give away, but when I look at their shops I see a lot of work being done just to keep things arranged and labelled, so I think they could use these hangers too.
    Lastly the hanger would help a charity shop volunteer when there is a tonne of donations in the back room and a full rack of clothes in the front show-room. If a volunteer can hang all the donations and read the sizes, that's a job speeded-up. The volunteer might even keep a rail in the back room for ebay sales as well. With super hi-tek inventions, it might be possible to have something for sale on ebay and on the shop floor at the same time, and cancel the ebay advert if the thing sells in the shop.

    Proposal: Unistats to flag fashion courses that do not cover mass-production
    theme of machines yet to be invented, or maybe only known to a few companies

    It would be good if Unistats flagged the fashion courses that do or don't cover machine servicing or making of clothes generally. It strikes me that a fashion course that involves a lot of sketches and mood boards is training for a career that doesn't exist; graduates need to be able to make clothes or sell clothes as well. Now that Unistats shows career prospects of different degree courses, fashion colleges have to change and I think this is a way of helping them do it. At the moment, in London, there is a tradition of the Mayor saying things about "London's famous fashion colleges", but the student satisfaction rates are really bad. University of the Arts is one of the most unsatisfying institutions. Career prospects are mediocre. I have come-across one or two fashion graduates who end-up as chain store buyers. It would be good if they knew how to cost a garment.

    Proposal:
    better choice of fashion college for Stratford  on criteria a-g

    I understand that the Greater London Authority (GLA) is building something on the Stratford Olympic site that will house part of the BBC, The London College of Fashion, and something to do with classical dance, which is the sort of thing that makes people want to vote Trump, but these public spending priorities seems normal to them. There have been forensic reports and investigations for assembly members, questioning whether GLA spending meets minimum rules for public procurement of arts projects. They are as puzzled as anyone about how GLA chooses its arts projects.
    I suggest that central government suspends co-operation until a college management is chosen in a fair way, on these seven tests.

    college selection test 1: Student satisfaction

    Asked whether "Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of my course", on a scale of 1-10, University of the Arts students are some of the least satisfied on the National Student Survey spreadsheet and the re-published versions like Unistats, the Guardian University Guide and the Complete University Guide. The figures change each year and vary a lot between courses, but, London College of Fashion gets low marks from students compared to other design and production colleges. I look at shoe courses. It is the least popular provider of shoe courses.

    college selection test 2: Routes to student employment in related jobs

    London College of Fashion does not sponsor any kind of maker-lab or access to time on shoe-making machines or sewing machines or cutting tables by the hour. The current courses that I glanced at seem geared to getting jobs for existing large employers, rather than self-employment or working at small employers. There are National Student Survey measures of graduate employment. I don't think London College of Fashion has best results.
    London college of fashion doesn't have a good record of making things. London College of Fashion's postgraduate Footwear Futures course did not produce a single wearable shoe that I could see on their degree show as part of London Design Festival. A lecture promoting their degree courses said "we usually make single shoes rather than pairs, and it takes us a few days". Their student competitions to make a design each year for Clarks do not cover soles; sole moulds are too technical for the college to make. I don't think this is good value for students. 

    college selection test 3: Services to help small business or the unemployed 

    London College of Fashion uses its Knowledge Transfer Partnership money to run a course instead. "We don't do bespoke", I was told. They don't even promote their library to footwear and clothing companies in London. They don't publish a list of footwear and clothing companies in London. I don't think they contact clothing and footwear companies to offer their courses, and, if they did, I doubt they would get takers. They don't contact shoe shops about their footwear degree show - in fact it's not always easy to get-in, even if you run a shoe shop. Sometimes they try to charge for tickets.
    college selection test 4: Services to hinder small businesses and the self employed

    Google "Creative Connexions brief and budget" and you find freedom of information replies about this company run from London College of Fashion offices. It was a scheme to encourage out-sourcing to China, paid-for by money meant for higher education. I don't think that anyone involved in that scheme should receive government funding on any project for, say, 10 years. I first heard of the scheme the weekend that my wallet supplier, JJ Blackledge of Manchester went bust. Creative Connexions held a free seminar down the road in Manchester, with speakers from Ethical Fashion Forum and Terra Plana, the firm that used to sell Chinese-made shoes. "Sourcing materials or manufacturing in China should be considered seriously if you want to compete in a global market and keep production cost low. Many do not think that China should be your first port of call if you have decided to build your brand on a sustainable business model in which worker's rights are recognised, the materials used are environmentally friendly..." said the email.

    college selection test 5: Transparency of relation to government.

    London College of Fashion is praised, traditionally, by London Mayors who also pay for London Fashion Week. Nobody knows quite why. I think it started with an attempt by Ken Livingstone to promote fashion college degree shows. London College of Fashion has a seat in the House of Lords, in the sense of acting as "secretariat" to Baroness Lola Young and the All Party Group for Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion. Lola Young was nominated to be a Baron by the Greater London Authority. Their business department, renamed "Centre for Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion" had a web page plastered with logos of public sector organisations. It was involved in a Department for International Development project to provide teaching materials for "Ethical Fashion" promoting "Ethical Fashion Forum" and companies including "Juste". The result was an online book-like document that, in the words of the researcher "relies on statements from the companies themselves and has not been verified". Some of the companies never traded. And if you type "Ethical Fashion Forum" into Bing you'll see how it has been debunked and changed its name, after having to move-out of a taxpayer-funded office.  

    college selection test 6: Opinion of clothing and footwear workers in the area

    If you took a  London College of Fashion prospectus round the Typewriter Building in Leicester, I doubt you'd find much interest in it. Nor at the few shoe or clothing businesses around the new Stratford site. particularly if they knew about the "making it ethically in China" sales drive. I think that these are people who should be consulted about which clothing and footwear college gets taxpayer funding.






    sustainable clothing action plan / uniformreuse.co.uk / Resources and Waste Strategy in preparation / Extended Producer Responsibility in France or voluntary


    Q174 John Ryan "The government ... new Resources and Waste Strategy. What policies would you like to see ministers include to reduce and re-utilise the mountain of clothing waste we are currently producing, or... enabling to be produced?"

    Reduce theme

    Proposal
    End Department for Business funding for London Fashion Week.

    Central government funded some overseas visitors and some export credit guarantees, with a high default rate, last time I looked at finance for London Fashion week, which is more-or-less part of the Greater London Authority (GLA). If the GLA wants to continue London Fashion Week, and maybe get help from Central government, here are some ideas

    (1) Known UK clothing and footwear factories to be asked to nominate any customers for the exhibitor places, which are paid-for but get tax-subsidised PR. No exhibitors allowed who do not have a reference as a good customer from a clothing or footwear factory, or run one. No emphasis on fashion college competitions for selection.

    (2) factory names to be shown on the stalls and lists as well as exhibitor names

    (3) Leicester venue rather than London, where there is space to travel and book hotel rooms without crowding-out other things

    (4) Department for Business help in introducing buyers to factories, rather than to designers.

    The point of these changes is to circulate money among the people who pay taxes towards this thing, such as Leicester clothing workers. It might also raise wages in Leicester clothing factories.





    Tax luxury advertising or add health warnings? This is only half an idea, related to brand IP value rather than specification value, and a spec that says "made in UK working conditions". 
    Tube knit in decline as under-cut, spray-on or shrink-on fabric, grown fungus fabric, microfibre shoes I am wearing some fifteen year-old ones and they have not killed the planet yet. Fluffy microfibre appears to be what's referred-to.  
    Sponsor free pattern cutting software. The luxury brands have no need for thrifty pattern cutting and their designers have no money for it, so they can come-up with a zero-waste pattern as though new.

    Reuse: Re-sell or Rent theme - "sharing economy"  phrase - can anyone like government do anything to increase demand for old clothes and turnover in charity shops?

    Hire market is shrinking for clothes
    Fat Lama, the biggest general-hire web site, has never made money for small shareholders like myself. The owner wondered whether it could be sold or closed, but kept it open and the web version shows live searches which are nearly all for photographic equipment, and one or two other categories like motor caravans look promising. Nobody hires-out a dinner jacket or academic gown, suggesting that it has been tried and failed. Government can help clothes hire operators by helping the broader classifieds market work, but I don't see anything coming quickly for P2P clothes hire.
    (I have had some luck with a car on Hiyacar and Turo. I have a small share in Hiyacar so I know that it doesn't yet make money, but I have a car rented-out on it and know that renter-outers can make a small profit or reduce their costs if they run a car anyway.) 
    I wrote something about high-street hire companies a few years ago, and did a lot of googling. They have shrunk from a standard Yellow Pages entry for family businesses - "dress and formal wear hire" to a few concessions in department stores run by one or two companies. 
    I do not know how to encourage existing formal wear hire companies to try new sharing-economy models, but maybe the sector skills council for launderettes (among other things like fashion) could be funded for inspiration, as I imagine that clothes hire and washing go together and there is a tradition of training in different washing methods and machines and such.
    Proposal: Help the classifieds market share ads from one platform to another
    Re-sale theme.

    The classifieds market is prone to monopoly, if you tend to use the site with the most stuff for sale. That allows the biggest site to charge 10% and to buy rivals, as Ebay does.
    It doesn't need to experiment with a hire option; that falls to smaller companies like Fat Lama or maybe Deepop. A way-around the problem is to use aggregators - call them classifieds search engines - like for-sale.co.uk to show the ads of several web sites including smaller ones to show together. Government can help. It can obtain assurances or even pass laws to say that the biggest markets will use consistent, open formats to show their ads so that other sites can copy them. Maybe this is a job for the Retail Sector Council that a minister mentioned.

    Proposal: reduction in landfill tax for councils that promote second hand shops
    Tax incentives for re-ruse theme

    The minister quoted the VAT threshold and the British Business Bank as general business incentives, but didn't mention Landfill Tax. This is a reverse incentive. As I understand it, councils pay tax on landfill so it is in their interest to promote recycling, and they do. They or their contractors are good at cardboard and glass recycling, and they put-out odd leaflets now and then about other things. 
    I don't know how they can do more without time to think or money left-over after paying for social care, so a national scheme that does the work for them would be good. Something like "Love your clothes", but with specific names of second hand shops as well as Trashnothing/ Freecycle. Maybe central government could knock £10,000 off landfill tax to any council that puts certain posters on the sides of bin lorries, and the contractor could do the paperwork so that a council just has to say "OK: do what you do for other councils" to the contractor. The first step would be a survey of what works already - maybe there is a council somewhere that has got the problem cracked and boosts awareness of second-hand shops. A witness (Mike Barry of M&S, Q 175) mentioned "Zero Waste Scotland". A few committee members and witnesses mentioned tax breaks for recycling. Could the council offer a free mail-out for second-hand shop lists and vouchers? They could go-out with some other bit of mail.

    Recycling: machines yet to be invented or machines owned by just one or two firms 

    Q21 Sort spin shred - waiting for an invention
    Dr Sumner 



    IDEA
    a tax on chamois leather wiping cloths and non-recycled wiping cloths

    IDEA
    a tax on clothes advertising

    IDEA
    make all credit cards red and debit cards black - maybe a tax on second and third credit cards as in ireland - to reduce the inflationary use of credit; to shame credit

    Re-sell
    Q22 Zac Goldsmith
    Textile Markets Situation report and statements by textile recyclers say that it's hard to want to recycle thin material. There isn't the emotional attachment that justifies the walk to the charity shop, nor the value to justify putting it on the rack.


    Q37 Alex Sobel "Mr Mungos or Mr Shoddies then?".
    .... invent a shredding machine and a spinning machine for scrap clothes. 

    Re-use. Uniformreuse.co.uk - suggested change - directory of used uniform sellers 

    Uniformreuse.co.uk, a former DEFRA-sponsored web site, is itself surplus and not funded to offer advice or web updates since January 2018. Whoever owns the web site might accept funding to provide a links-list of UK organisations which might have used uniform for sale.  That is the kind of information which ministries have, already; the big private and wider public-sector organisations could be added by a researcher and kept up to date each year for not much money.

    Re-use. Uniformreuse.co.uk/best-practices.php - suggested change to advice - how to stop auctioning bales of lucky-dip sizes

    As a retailer I have googled government surplus disposal contractors and tried to find out how the system works. I may be out of date, but I think they auction bales of similar materials like a bale of camouflage trousers or a maybe a carton of pairs of boots in various sizes. There is no information attached to say that this is a certain specification that came in various widths and lengths, has passed various tests when new, and can be re-ordered from various suppliers or made-up from various shapes and parts. All this information might be in a filing cabinet in another office, but it isn't provided with the bale.
    As a retailer I know that goods with a consistent future supply in all sizes are worth more than a lucky-dip.
    I guess that a lot of large organisations that use uniforms do something similar. This is odd because I guess an organisation's store-room  receives, issue, and stores clothing by size, making it more valuable. This value is lost when clothing is mixed-up in a bails, and the value has to be added again by surplus companies, picking-through what they have bought in a rather labour intensive way which makes clothing harder to re-sell. The same problem applies to catalogue returns - often sold as a bale.

    Re-use and Re-shore. Uniformreuse.co.uk/best-practices.php - suggested change to advice - add a spec to make the same clothes that are being sold more valuable

    As a manufacturer I never got started on any of this. I just make vegan belts. If specifications & templates become available from large organisations (and I have not found them, despite freedom of information requests to the MOD about Haynes and Cann aircrew boots) I might have try making more, and even bidding for government contracts if my business ever grows larger. A contract to make belts for example, based on knowledge of the belt specification, starting on orders that the main contractor doesn't want like vegan belts. Or trials and top-ups if the main contractor is on another continent and a fast supplier in the UK can help between larger orders.
    I don't know if specification is the right word, but a note of potential suppliers, their minimum orders if available, and the shapes and specifications that they made as a downloadable file would all be good.  

    3 Re-shoring


    General question; long answer
    How has the domestic clothing manufacturing industry changed over time? (written call for evidence)

    Every introduction of public services in the UK has added to costs that were not mirrored in India by the economists who advised governors there. Forster's Education Act 1871, The National Insurance Act 1911, and the National Assistance Act 1948. Meanwhile, free trade continued with the colonies. UK government also had an instinct to maintain a high pound, trying to stay on the Gold Standard in the 1930s and something similar in the 1960s. When the UK joined the EU, the Foreign Office negotiated a special 0% tariff for Bangladesh in the name of development. By this time it was North Sea Oil that started to prop-up the value of the pound. So Bangladeshi machinists had a cheaper currency and lower government costs.

    Then the part I remember. A new monetary policy that came-in in 1979. It consisted of putting-up interest rates. Within five years, a fifth of manufacturing had closed and a quarter of the workforce was on government schemes like the Community Programme or Youth Opportunities, sick, or unemployed. Others crowded the available higher education courses which were often cheaply-to-teach arts courses, taught next to ghosts of technical courses like engineering or footwear and fabric manufacturing. I did economics and can look-up sources for this if anyone is interested.

    Technical colleges for clothing and footwear - particularly London College of Fashion

    As the factories closed, technical courses also closed and I am told by a former Cordwainers College lecturer - Frank Jones - that the only students they could get were for fashion courses. As I remember from being a student at that time, students could be naive about the value of such degrees, or simply want to get off the dole. Maybe people who thought they could make a living by designing clothes without learning to run a factory or sell clothes at the same time.  In 1983 the Greater London Authority (GLC at the time) funded London Fashion Week through an office they called British Fashion Council. It was a glorified degree show. There was no attempt to help factories - only designers. There is still a tradition of London Mayors saying polite things about awful fashion degree courses and funding London Fashion Week, as well as the "Value of Fashion" report that they got done by London Economics.

    Only a decade or so ago I looked at a London College of Fashion prospectus about footwear courses and saw that is was so vague that it hardly said what the courses were. It gave interviews with former students about the vibe and buzz of London. I was cynical about their motives, because I tried a short course in pattern cutting for footwear at the time. The sort of thing that technical colleges used to run for small businesses. I was told that the second half didn't usually run, and I think that was because the first half was so over-priced for the few hours and near zero technology provided. Since then, the National Student Survey has noted University of the Arts (including London College of Fashion and a few ex-Cordwainers courses) as one of the least popular universities with students, and when I look online for course details they are a lot more specific; they are getting better. Unistats also tries to show job prospects for people who have done different degrees and so London College of Fashion has to go back to being more of a technical college, but it very much doesn't engage with small businesses like the ones in the Typewriter Building in Leicester.

    This is a committee witness from Nottingham Trent University, talking about subjects like fibre loss tests on fabric.

    Q31 Stella Claxton "We have designers who are very creative but we have lost the kind of textile technology element that was present 20 or 30 years ago that served our own manufacturing industry. We have lost a lot of that knowledge of materials that, if we still have that, would be a huge help. We probably have people left-over from that time who could be persuaded to contribute ideas and take part in solutions. Therefore, how we look at our education and design processing, how we are educating designers and then maybe how design department and products are developed... how these teams are set-up.

    As practical training has gone, so has data from the footwear industry. When I started selling shoes in 1998 there was a Shoe Trades Directory in most reference libraries, put together by the people who sold advertising for a footwear factory trade magazine. There were footwear-only trade shows. None of these now exist. One or two technical libraries like the one at Cordwainers' College had SATRA Bulletin, publishing research on footwear production by a research association. Nowadays, Hackney Library keep theirs in a locked archive, Cordwainers' has some recent copies for people who get special permission to use the library, but older copies are in an archive. The latest copies are online-only and membership of SATRA costs hundreds or thousands of pounds.

    Nowadays, the problem is finding information about who makes what. It is hard to find a firm that makes a certain type of shoes, and what their minimum order is. At any one time a lot of them will be short of money or even in receivership, so they are not all going to join a trade association.

    Q468 "There is no general spreadsheet of companies giving the size of the companies, the number of employees that they have and so-on".  Andrea Atkins MP, under secretary of state at the Home Office, talking about enforcement of minimum wage law.

    Q123 "We still do not have entire data sets for production. We do not know which orders are being placed in which factories" "I think the fashion industry should be mandated to give us these statistics"   Lucy Siegle, Journalist, talking about tax collection




    Proposal: 

    Monetary Policy Committee to add a note on each report to state that the transmission mechanism harms UK industry

    The Bank of England described the mechanism of monetary policy to a Select Committee, using the diagram above. You'll see the bottom row of arrows: interest rates go up, money flows-in to lend at these higher interest rates, and so the pound rises, lowering import prices. In other words, we pay over the odds for UK government debt and at the same time we make UK factories un-competitive. We pay to put ourselves out of work. So there ought to be some system to protect manufacturing if interest rates go up - maybe with a tax break or a tariff - and there need to be alternative systems for warding-off inflation, and these points need in the front of the minds of journalists and MPs. Otherwise it's hard to see why anyone would want to invest long-term in UK manufacturing.

    When this kind of monetary policy came-in in 1979 I remember that a fifth of manufacturing closed in five years leaving a quarter of the workforce on government schemes, unemployed, or sick. Another group did every available higher education course - often cheaply taught courses in arts subjects or fashion at the ghosts of technical colleges. I did economics and can look-up sources for facts if anyone is interested.

    Proposal - minimum wage theme
    Costing course for buyers. 

    (1) I think the relevant skills council could try to make sure that there is a free or cheap online course available so that buyers and makers know how to cost a garment, how it's difficult, and whether there are any machines that can make it cheaper at one factory than another. Videos of factory owners trying to explain it would be good. I'd like to do a course like that myself and I know that one or two buyers have come out of fashion design courses with very little emphasis on costing or specification or mass production. The Knitwear course specification at London College of fashion probably has costing in it for example, but not mentioned by name.
    (2) And a commitment from most buying companies that their individual buyers are certified. I think that's a good first step of due diligence in making sure that they don't unwittingly buy at a price that can't be made for the minimum wage in a country, even by the lead contractor. They might wittingly buy at below minimum wage, or a subcontractor might, but the expectation would be a start. Then a retailer could possibly ask for video of the garment batch being made, to make sure that it is made at a known contractor or in a known amount of time. If you combine that with a factory label that states a contractor, you make it a lot easier to check whether goods are made at minimum wage.
    I know that the ministers interviewed on 18th of December looked un-keen on new legislation, but the better chain stores or the ones who want to look better could do some work and share notes at the Ethical Trading Initiative.

    Proposal - minimum wage theme - trade directory theme - machines rumoured to exist theme
    Trade Directories to name factories
    HMRC hold data from taxes such as VAT that are useful for writing directories of factories.  They have said so in a reply to a Freedom of Information request, which also says that the Commissioners for the Revenue and Customs Act 2005 section 18 over-rides the Freedom of Information Act, and that it can't be published. They may allow it in the public interest, but examples given suggest that they need a lot of proof that something is in the public interest; I don't know if they need legislation.
    First, the Revenue and Customs Act might have to be changed so that data about manufacturers can be released to anyone writing a business directory, or to the Office for National Statistics, unless the manufacturer opts-out. They could publish it next to company data at Companies House, adding entries for manufacturers that are not limited companies. 

    Second, the people who write these directories would have to allow space for a factory to say what kinds of machines it has and what sized orders it considers. I think there might be room for a government subsidy or a scheme to start this off. The result would be a directory that allowed a buyer to know which factory is cheap because it has a good machine, and which factory is cheap because someone works two shifts for the price of one. 
    Examples 
    Circular knitting machines at Manchester Hosiery used to make the trunk of a T shirt from yarn, saving the waste and labour of two seams. Unfortunately the firm went bust due to lack of interest. 
    Joseph Smedley showed a machine on TV that could make the trunk and sleeves of a knitted jumper from yarn, saving even more labour and waste, but one of the MPs on the committee said that a Smedley factory had closed, so maybe the machine is lost.
    L Gent of Leicester used to make computer-automated sewing machines and templates for automatically sewing a shape. They would be good people to ask about the reasons why UK factories often don't invest enough to make things at the minimum wage. And if a directory said what factories had automated sewing machines, that would help buyers. 




    509
    Monetary Policy / explanation of clothing manufacturing being distant emotionally from consumers as well as physically - "conscience - free" , and an extraordinary premium on advertised brands. A theory about advertised brands.
    MPs quiz minister about different clothing lifespans in different countries.


    Proposal - minimum wage theme
    Costing course for buyers. 

    (1) I think the relevant skills council could try to make sure that there is a free or cheap online course available so that buyers and makers know how to cost a garment, how it's difficult, how to research further because it's difficult. Videos of factory owners trying to explain it would be good. I'd like to do a course like that myself and I know that one or two buyers have come out of fashion design courses with very little emphasis on costing or specification or mass production. The Knitwear course specification at London College of fashion probably has costing in it for example, but not mentioned by name.
    (2) And a commitment from most buying companies that their individual buyers are certified. I think that's a good first step of due diligence in making sure that they don't unwittingly buy at a price that can't be made for the minimum wage in a country, even by the lead contractor. They might wittingly buy at below minimum wage, or a subcontractor might, but the expectation would be a start. Then a retailer could possibly ask for video of the garment batch being made, to make sure that it is made at a known contractor or in a known amount of time. If you combine that with a factory label that states a contractor, you make it a lot easier to check whether goods are made at minimum wage.
    I know that the ministers interviewed on 18th of December looked un-keen on new legislation, but the better chain stores or the ones who want to look better could do some work and share notes at the Ethical Trading Initiative.

    Proposal - minimum wage theme - trade directory theme - machines rumoured to exist theme
    Trade Directories to mention what kind of machinery a factory has
    This takes two steps. 
    First, the Revenue and Customs Act might have to be changed so that data about manufacturers can be released to anyone writing a business directory, or to the Office for National Statistics. I suppose they would publish some extra detail next to each entry on the Companies House site, and add entries for some producers who are not companies. It could be up to the companies themselves to make this data invisible to the public if they logged-on and did so. Then, writers of online directories would re-hash the information as they have done with data from Companies House, and try to produce directories of who makes what in the UK. This kind of data would help UK buyers and trade envoys.
    Second, the people who write these directories would have to allow space for a factory to say what kinds of machines it has and what sized orders it considers. I think there might be a need for a government subsidy or a scheme to start this off quickly. The result would be a directory that allowed a buyer to know which factory is cheap because it has a good machine, and which factory is cheap because someone works two shifts for the price of one. 
    Examples 
    Circular knitting machines at Manchester Hosiery used to make the trunk of a T shirt from yarn, saving the waste & labour of two seams. Unfortunately the firm went bust due to lack of interest. 
    Joseph Smedley showed a machine on TV that could make the trunk and sleeves of a knitted jumper from yarn, saving even more labour and waste, but one of the MPs on the committee said that a Smedley factory had closed, so maybe the machine is lost.
    L Gent of Leicester used to make computer-automated sewing machines and templates for automatically sewing a shape. They would be good people to ask about the reasons why UK factories often don't invest enough to make things at the minimum wage. And if a directory said what factories had automated sewing machines, that would help buyers. 

    Enforcement Theme - role of Leicester MPs - promotion of interest in good employers

    One Leicester MP was Secretary of State for Business about 10 years ago. I forget her name. She must have signed-off subsidies to London Fashion Week via an exhibitions visiting programme. At the same time, Equity Shoes of Leicester, a 100 year-old staff-owned company that had recently employed 200 people, collapsed due to lack of interest from buyers, lack of public relations, or hogging of the limelight by this rather fictional kind of event called London Fashion Week that says nothing about where clothes are made and everything about who drew the picture of what to make. And this MP's colleagues at the time promoted something called Ethical Fashion Forum, which ran a seminar on "buying from co-operatives", but seemed to believe that the only "ethical" co-operatives were in the third world, so Equity Shoes went un-mentioned to a public-funded seminar of dozens of potential buyers. That was just before Equity Shoes went bust. I doubt this MP made any connection in her head between these points. I doubt anyone picked her up on it of questioned her. Remploy Uniforms closed at about the same time.

    Q58 Enforcement Theme - minimum pricing standard -fabric - minutes - education
    Education Theme - buyers need to know
    This is like the design of a pair of army trousers or a uniform belt. If it is open-source, it helps everyone whether someone who wants to become a buyer or a manufacturer. So there needs to be an agreement that the garment can be made on minimum wage, even if the lead contractor then finds a subcontractor who can pays less.

    Q101 labelling transparency theme
    "durability, the experience, the relationship that they have with the product"



    Q202 label durability - grams

    As a small-scale trader I think grams per m2 is good label for clothing, because, if the supplier doesn't put it on the label, any of us probably can. We might have to take the clothing apart or consult some kind of online guide, but we'd get there in the end.

    If there is some way of encouraging traders to label clothing that is 139gram per meter squared or thinner, that would be help us sell 140 gram clothing where there is more chance for fair employers and UK manufacturers to compete. Acess to durability tests at technical colleges would be good. If a trader or council trading standards could get something tested for free, that would be good.

    Q207 a similar view of history but not quite the same- and we still rely on newness to keep Primark shops open

    Q241 employer pension schemes of shrunken companies need to be mutually-owned and separately-owned schemes, so that if the firm goes bust with a mysterious debt to the pension fund, then the staff are front of the queue of creditors that the receiver is working-for

    Procurement theme
    "If you want... speak their language" said a Northern Irish MP.
    If you want to buy something, it's good to know who already makes it and buy what they already sell.
    It would be good to contact a short list of all likely factories within cheap courier distance.
    Large organisations work in a different way. For them, purchasing is more like advertising a job and applicants are expected to know about them and know their language and their payment terms.
    This might work if there is a thriving UK industry. There used to be firms that were good at getting army boot contracts for example. But it doesn't work if you have a low-budget, lean, fragile industry of firms that have to stick to one job and do it without backup staff.

    Another option would be to tender for people to manage a ministry-owned production system; the ministry could provide the space and the tools and redundancy money if the job ends, while the bidder could choose the staff and manage them. I don't know how that would work. Or maybe the ministry could hire one firm to do payroll with another doing the manufacturing. They might video the process so it's clear that they don't work double shifts and charge for single. At the moment, AJM Sewing has been closed since October and nobody has re-started the web site, so I imagine that there are a lot of stretch-fabric technicians on the dole there who a ministry could hire for a purpose.
    .
    Develop buying procedures with real UK factories - some of those people in Leicester who want to pay a decent wage and have no layers of middle-men and air-freight between themselves and the ministry. I did once try to find out more about military boot procurement after Haynes and Cann closed their factory and I bought some tools. I gave-up.







    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    FINAL HEARING: MINISTERS

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Questions 391-446

    .  . 
    This is also a bad side of a good thing. There are anecdotes of people working for various structures and agencies in one building which is a mystery to visitors but it does help them train each other and work on each others' orders.  



    I would like fair tariffs on goods from Bangladesh - a repeated point.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Companies House
    Q468 Victoria Atkins MP, under secretary of state for crime, talking about enforcement
     "There is no general spreadsheet"

    repeated point: we need a spreadsheet of UK factories so that third parties can embellish the information and make it into a page on Kompass Directory or wherever. The civil service has released Companies House data for free, which is something. If a limited company (but not society) writes "footwear manufacturer" on the accounts then I can find it, but there's nothing to stop it writing anything it wants, and no prompt to remind it whether "manufacturer" means that it has its own workshop in the UK, or that it gets stuff done somewhere unknown,

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Q482 answer
    Tollhurst
    "Brands at the top of the supply chain or retailers at the top of the supply chain have responsibility for breaches" - 
    Adkins
    "Section 54 targets ... companies ... turnover over £36 million"
    I suppose that't section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act if there is one.
    In a consultation, I'm sure that brands would say that they want to experiment, to buy fabric in Berwick Street or whatever as well as buy well-documented goods in bulk. Also, I want wholesalers to publish what they know.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Q489 Coffrey Reuse and rent theme /  / Coathanger theme /  Sustainable Clothing Action Plan

    An extending hanger could show the size of a garment, and even its length and weight, without action by the charity-shop volunteer or the ebay seller who takes a snap shot. So it would be easier to manage a charity shop; the turnover might be faster, and a new generation of volunteers might even start taking ebay snapshots that show size weight and length all in one go.


    Extended Producer Responsibility:
    The responsiblity to use coathangers that suit second-hand clothes sellers, so the coathangers are in the catalogues for sale or they filter-round anyway to charity shops. I suppose this belongs in the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan.

    Q500
    "the way that manufacturers design their products"

    They offer a prize for a separation machine. I think my hanger is a simpler idea.
    Retailers could label the grams per square meter of clothing - or at least of clothing sold in bulk - so that the public get a sense of which T shirt will fall apart. If it's on the garment itself in some durable form, better still because it helps that charity shop volunteer with a bale of donations and a rack of slow-selling vaguely-sorted products in the front of the shop. Likewise the person on the conveyor belt at a council recycling depot. Tax on thin fabric?  This is half an idea; I don't know how. Extra business rates of chain stores that sell an estimated 30% thin fabric, as guessed from their web sites and spot checks.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Q502
    "funding" for separation of household waste.






    IP theme

    Is there some way to tax advertising of luxury brands like Burberry unless they allow audit ?
    Is there some way to remove advertised brands from trade promotion altogether?

    Is there some way to move towards a society where you buy a bag made in a UK factory- probably named- rather than a bag with a brand on it? Of undermining the cult of IP in other words. Allowing brands to call themselves Blueberry and make trench coats with easily mistakable labels if they are broadly similar in their sourcing and quality, so the consumer is not mis-lead in that way. For example Zatchels got a lot of bother from Cambridge Satchel Company, after moving from sub-contractor to brand retailer. It was settled out of court but Cambridge Satchel Company did not invent the satchel; this shouldn't happen.

    519
    Low cost, high volume, consequence-free


    Low-cost
    - no national insurance, national assistance, secondary schools built-in to the price

    High volume
    - big buyer small seller

    Consequence free
    - how do I link this with monetary policy? The advertising era I suppose.

    - reduce reuse rent and recycle are opposite to buying in Bangladesh and spending the margin on advertising. Goal 12- promoting sustainable production and consumption- likewise.

    520- McNally

    All party parliamentary group on the fashion and textile industry

    522
    Consequence: reduce re-use rent recycle
    A wear label or a Grams pre Square Meter label or both would be good
    A pesticide label or litres of water label for cotton would be good
    524
    "It is on our agenda to have a new domestic labelling system and eco-labelling"
    Exports will continue to the EU so harmonised would be good for exports, but maybe there could be a rule about point-of sale signs?
    I think this might pay for itself. If UK brands and UK-made clothing comes to be seen as heavyweight, people will tend to buy stuff made in the UK,

    To ramble a bit, that increases the range of jobs available to us, the sympathetic home market that helps any new business get going, and it proves that manufacturing can be done in a democratic welfare state.

    525 McNally / Tollhurst dept for business
    Advertising Standards Authority and a naming / shaming regime
    Retail Sector Council newly set-up
    distance selling regulations I suppose are Department for Business
    IP law I suppose is Department for Business
    these are both 


    530 Dunne/ Atkins Home Office / procurement
    best to talk about large organisations because so much taxpayer-funded work is contracted out
    Choosing a supplier who buys from other suppliers and is part of SEDEC and ETI.

    Zero interest in buying from a democratic welfare state of buying close to home.

    If a factory in Leicester wants to sign-up to make uniform, it's unlikely that they will be signed-up to a UN global compact; it's hard enough organising payroll. So I think government is buying from a different sort of person to the sort of person who makes clothes, and that adds to the cost.


    Better choose a supplier who can take-back used uniforms and re-sell
    Better choose a supplier who is physically close and part of a similar economy- a democratic welfare state. Not a state prone to modern slavery.
    This could be done if we had postcodes for UK manufacturers and a list of what kinds of enquiries they want to receive. It's a "beyond the wit of man" thing. I could have a go myself.




    541 tax non-recyclables
    "If you write to give me a suggestion, I will be happy to consider it"

    If we stopped spending tax on London Fashion Week, the world would be a happier place
    We pay for the "Love Your Clothes" campaign, and we pay for a "Dump your clothes and buy new ones" campaign called London Fashion Week. They we pay for visitors, and defaults via the Export Credit Guarantee scheme, and of course Londoners pay because of the congestion and crowding which Greater London Economics call economic advantages "agglomeration". And we pay if good UK producers are crowded-out of the column-inches and the air-time.


    561 tax and renting clothes
    Clean Growth - hanger theme
    Suggest if needed
    Agreement to avoid monopoly, and barriers to entry, into the classifieds industry by using open and consistent standards. At the moment ebay charge 10%.

    Planning law- merge most workshops into the office and retail category ( I am no expert)


    Vacant property: fund a scheme to make sure vacant property is rentable, even if it takes a zero rent to do it.
    -------------------------------------end of ministers bit--------------------------------------------



    27th November Chain Stores & "chasing the cheapest needle round the planet" - repeated for merging with the top version



    Q125 National Insurance - disconnect in the 4th out of 101 companies in the world.


    Q132 Unions. Lack of push in the UK as well as a lack of pull. This is different to other businesses like legal insurers; it is an exemption. They are allowed to use no-win no-fee lawyers and even to charge these lawyers commission, and not to tell union members. A survey of people who had tried to use UK unions for help in emergencies found that few would use them again. Those MPs who voted for the exemption - including mine, Susan Kramer who was lobbying against it at the time but didn't make the connection - should not be surprised when unions go out of fashion or the existing ones seem a bit unimaginative, under-staffed and unresponsive. My web site employees.org.uk has something on that point. So we can't in the UK expect many people to sign-up and have help if they want to set-up a better factory or work with colleagues to improve on the current one. They'll only get help if there is a really juicy personal injury case with huge compensation, the union lawyer can settle early on a cheap case and claim huge legal costs off the other side. Or maybe a legal case that's good PR.

    Resource and Waste Strategy
    Takeback for uniforms... ideally from a manufacturer in the UK who knows them inside out as it were, and doesn't need to work from labels; a manufacturer who can then sell by size and style and maintain a complete range rather than by mixed bail as the MOD currently does, I think, when it auctions uniform. Also a manufacturer who can make or design recyclable clothing. So uniform buyers need to find factories rather than wholesalers. Quote from Uniformreuse:

    • Security, branding and corporate image can be a big issue: "We don't want our uniforms being reused inappropriately, or ending up somewhere which will give us a negative image."
    • Uniforms which are made using blended fibres are currently impossible to recycle easily. Technologies for separating fibre blends are being researched but are not yet commercially available - and it could be some time before they are.
    • Deconstruction is not always considered in the design and manufacture of corporate wear: if it's complex to disassemble, it can be difficult to recycle.
    • It can be difficult and time consuming to find out which recyclers or charities are prepared to accept corporate wear.



    Takeback: Uniform Re-use...
    I would like to know if soldiers and uniform-wearers are offered second-hand as an option. I don't know.

    Re-carding and re-spinning (if those are the right words)
    Pro-actively approach any firm in the spinning industry to make them aware of funding available, rather than expecting them to do the work of applying for a grant. There is a similar shortage of machines for stalk fibres - flex hemp or nettle - and knowledge about the ones that exist.

    Education...  College theme
    need to invent a comb and a spinning machine for scrap clothes. I think that fewer 18 year-olds sign-up to technical courses than want to. I think lots of us have made the mistake of signing-up to an all-arts course or an all social-science course and assuming that it leads somewhere, when the demand through life is for technically-savvy people as well as critically-minded people.

    Q174 proved me wrong about London art colleges, but I think the problem is particularly strong in London where the price of property means that there are fewer factories and fewer technical courses. People used to assume that there were jobs called "fashion designer" because the degree was available - something to do with sketch books and mood boards



















    We pay to put ourselves out of work. That is the gist of what I write


    Suggestions at the top with explanations under each heading would be a good answer; or suggestions repeated under each heading.

    Suggestions by heading and who could do what.
    • Have UK clothing purchasing habits changed in recent years?
    •  no suggestion
    ---------------------
    What is the environmental [and social?] impact of the fashion supply chain?



    no suggestion
    How has this changed over time?

    no suggestion
    ---------------------
    What incentives have led to the rise of “fast fashion” in the UK

    Mostly incentives which we taxpayers pay for; if we stopped spending, the world would be a better place.

    Monetary policy which works by promoting cheap imports, 1979 to about 2009 and now held in reserve. (I know that Boohoo grew a lot after 2009 so this isn't a total answer)

    Attempts to boost development in Bangladesh by allowing a zero tariff, mirrored in Bangladesh by tax-funded export subsidies. Policies of this kind have been tried since 1840 and we are still waiting for them to work because Bangladesh lacks a national insurance system or a national assistance act or a Forsters' Education Act and these, in UK experience, were associated with a fall in the birth rate and a reduction of extremes of poverty. Neither has happened in Bangladesh. So we are stoking-up a population explosion and a glut of very cheap garment workers in the name of development.

    The Mayor of London's London Fashion Week, which is an advert for catwalk fashion (as opposed to more individual ways of wearing existing clothes, or clothes that are interesting because of how and where they were made. If the Mayor closed London Fashion Week for a year or two, taxpayers would save money and something better would fill the fashion pages of newspapers.

    The glut of fashion design courses without allied production skills, and of teenagers applying for these courses. It's a London thing, I think; the trend is not so strong in the midlands, and it is related to London Fashion Week. There is a tradition of London Mayors saying things about "London's famous fashion colleges". I think it goes back to Ken Livingston in the 1980s. I hope this trend will end as teenagers see the employment stats for London College of Fashion courses and popularity ratings for its parent University of the Arts, which is the least popular of any higher education institution in the UK. I hope that production courses are re-invented and become popular.

    Creative Connexions [sic] and other government initiatives to promote imports at the expense of home production, including nudges to buy "ethical fashion" as opposed to UK production. I could give blatant examples. We have one government department sometimes lobbying another, or overt operations to nudge UK consumers. "The Value of Fashion" report is funded by UK taxpayers to justify their spending on London Fashion Week, and it has some assumptions built-in which aren't sufficiently open or questioned. There is also the department at London College of Fashion which is sponsored by Nike and acts as "secretariat" to someone in the House of Lords who puts Nike's point of view. Taxpayers also fund some of the students that fund such departments. There are Chevning Scholarships, a Great India Fund, a Great China Fund, and

    Confidentiality in HMRC which keeps records of what factories exist and what they say they are making. This information isn't even available under Freedom of Information requests or available to the Office for National Statistics. The Revenue and Customs Act is very strict about this. The Town and Country Planning Act also tends to keep manufacturing out of sight, like drains. So nobody - buyers, MPs, journalists, teenagers wondering what to study, jobseekers, statisticians - nobody has much idea of what manufacturing is going-on.



    what incentives could be put in place to make fashion more sustainable?

    subsidised imports, so
    Health warning on Monetary Policy Committee minutes.
    The treasury needs to research other ways of reducing inflation.
    The treasury needs a way of reducing taxes on manufacturers at times of tight monetary policy, so they don't all have to close when the exchange-rate shoots-up.

    sweatshop countries which do not end poverty so
    Training for economists. There are economics degree courses, and I went on one years ago that was quite good of its sort but still did more harm than good I think.

    London Fashion Week's concept of fashion as publicised so
    End London Fashion Week or, if reform-able:
    - require references from manufacturers from each exhibitor
    - contact all known UK manufacturers and tell thm how to nominate exibitors from among customers


    Distancing of consumers from producers beyond what happens in South Europe of Japan I guess. so
    - labelling by factory


    Fashion courses as higher education that emphasise creativity but don't explain how to service a sewing machine or write an ecommerce site. The lop-sided result is a glut of cheap unemployed designers and the view of the world that goes with design-only skills: the idea that the UK sells intellectual property nowadays and that to make anything is old-fashioned. This is none of my business, or less of my business, if the courses are popular and people pay to go on them but I think students are badly traeted by the process. University of the Arts is the least popular of any higher education institution but gets help from the Mayor of London and is "secretariat" to an all-party group in the House of Lords.
    Is “fast fashion” unsustainable?
    No suggestion





    Environmental impact of the fashion industry

    • Have UK clothing purchasing habits changed in recent years?

    • Increase in vegan purchases from the 1980s onwards - I was a part of that in the first decade of this century, providing growing numbers of vegan shoes and boots on very specialised advertising and other companies have followed, taking-over. The UN report Livestock's Long Shadow, or (for me at least) its executive summery, gives some reasons why this is a good thing for the environment and for people in the poorer countries who compete with animals for resources in a rather stark way; animals use-up the road surface or the last green ground cover or the clean water that humans need.




      tempting to throw-in a lot of economics going back to 1911.


      The country with national insurance looses manufacturing.
      The country without national insurance gains population - that's what happened in Victorian industrial towns. So wages don't go up but economists keep promising that they might go-up next year. In fact they have gone down in Bangladesh recently.





    • What is the environmental impact of the fashion supply chain?
      How has this changed over time?



    • What incentives have led to the rise of “fast fashion” in the UK and 
    • what incentives could be put in place to make fashion more sustainable?

      Take the first part
      What incentives have led to the rise of “fast fashion” in the UK

      Our taxes pay for Greater London Authority to fund British Fashion Council.
      My freedom of information requests revealed that its success is measured in column-inches; it it a publicity-seeking organisation. Anyone's impression from the media is that London Fashion Week promotes this year's different way of fashioning goods by various designers, rather than the process of fashioning goods. I have been to a London Fashion Week as a buyer and seen the other side of it - the stalls at a trade show - and I have tried to make sense of what the organisation writes, but I still have the same impression: out taxes pay for it to promote this concept of "fashion" which changes each year, so it is a relative of "fast fashion", the cheap high-street version.


      There is also an argument put, I think, in the "Value of Fashion" report that each pound spent on fashion promotion by the Greater London Authority circulates often and widely among taxpayers, giving a very high return on investment. I think that is what return on investment must mean, but I don't see evidence in the report and I am happy to try to trace claims made and reasons for doubt it anyone asks me to.











      tempting throw-in a lot of economics going back to 1911.

      There was a funded initiative to help De Montfort University help develop nonwovens and stalk-based fibres. The commercial result, so far as I know, is a chair cover fabric called Sting made of wool and nettle fibres.

      There are funded initiatives in Spain and Portugal to help all clothing factories - not just the ones in a trade association - get themselves onto online directories and find representation at one or two trade shows. I don't know the detail but see European Regional Development Fund logo on their web sites. In the UK, equivalent funding went to the GLA and from there to London Fashion Week, which I think reduces employment in the fashion industry and promotes consumer choices that we regret later. So, if London Fashion Week ceased, we would save public money and reduce column-inches devoted to fast fashion, both at the same time.




    • Is “fast fashion” unsustainable?

      Quantity is the live issue.
      I can refer to Livestock's Long Shadow as well, and the growing veggie market in the UK, as well as mentioning UK synthetics



    • What industry initiatives exist to minimise the environmental impact of the fashion industry?
    • Labelling by farm for veg in the UK
      Labelling by factory for clothes in India if sold in India
      Labelling by factory for clothes in the UK if made for the Ministry of Defence until maybe 2000.
       
    •  
    • ======
    • Slightly dodgy  claims by firms like Monsoon or Nike made because they know about their supply chain and can make claims, and they can't make claims about anything much else but they have a PR department looking for something to say.

      Surprising amount of taxpayer funding already, intended to improve working conditions, with two common threads in their PR statements(1) it doesn't pressure the developing countries to introduce a welfare state or national insurance, in order not to upset manufacturers and their host governments. Nor does it mention the advantages of production that helps sustain a welfare state such as production in the UK.
      (2) when trying to find something to say to justify production in Bangladesh or India, it tends to emphasise natural fibres as though better than microfibres or acrylic or viscous. One press release from a group including Ethical Fashion and British Fashion Council suggested that these imported goods could be called "ethical" and given another tax break.

      The short answer is that there are taxpayer-funded initiatives which help put taxpayers out of work.

    • https://www.ethicaltrade.org/about-eti/funding - funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office + membership fees
      "base code of labour practice"


    • https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/ethical-fashion-initiative_en funds one of your witnesses
      "reduce poverty .... and irregular migration (especially to europe)"

      I don't write from experience of what these agencies do in detail, but more of their public relations, their statements to committees like your own, and their web sites.

      There are government-backed initiatives from the EU's small grant to the Clean Clothes Campaign, the Foreign Office grant to Ethical Clothing 




    • How could the carbon emissions and water demand from the fashion industry be reduced?


      Local manufacturing - this is a repeated point and I'm not sure where it goes.

      Directories of factories by area and the orders they want to get would help bulk buyers to consider the nearest suitable factories, contact them. Any large organisation with a procurement department might do this, instead of placing an advert and hoping that suppliers get in touch. There is also more potential for buyers to buy what's easy to make, with a two-way conversation between buyer and seller.

      Textile machines theme

      Question 181 = pattern cutting = tube knit machines already exist but they're often very old. Manchester Hosiery had about five - one kept for spares which the receiver threw out. Government can help make sure that the market works in matching demand for old machine spares with supply of short-run manufacturing. There are dealers who do this, but they could suggest ways for a ministry to help along the lines of Zero Waste Scotland.

    • Likewise there are machines that make stalk fibres like nettle into spinnable fibres. They are not good enough to change the market by themselves. Perhaps if these machines were sponsored to work in a high street, then people like me could see what they are, buy nettle fabric, or invent better nettle shredders. Maybe a grant to make machinery portable for exhibitions would be a start.
    Q202
    "I represent Osset and Wakefield which have a shoddy and mungo industry. It is not like there is anything new we can invent is there? It is just that these traditional industries have died and it has been easy to chuck things into landfill and forget about them. Isn't that the real problem with the fast fashion industry?"
    Q207

    Cotton shortage and Conscript Cotton theme
    label by weight idea - almost free - any size of operation can do it - maybe introduce a law about the lowest grammes per square meter when sold via wholesalers and chain stores. The middle and top garments can look after themselves; people might label them to help them sell. But consumers need prompting that thin fabric doesn't last. A suggested label could say the number of square meters of fabric and the average weight, so consumers could test the result themselves on the kitchen scales at home. I think this would educate consumers like me who choose between the cheapest new clothing and second-hand clothing. Even a cheapskate like myself might be prompted to pay a bit more or walk a bit further to buy second-hand; to buy one pair of pants that I can wear for a month rather than a pack to change each week, or however consumer behaviour works.

    If chainstores (but not wholesalers) are prepared to send someone along to a meeting or talk to a journalist and say "our aspiration is 100% by 2022" about the Better Cotton Initiative, then there needs to be more demand for goods by specification and less by brand or low price. So maybe journalists, consumers, government, could prompt the trade to have better labels.

    Q238
    Giving microfibre a bad name? Moulting fibre is the problem. Microfibre is good at wicking and an alternative to leather as well as to cotton. It is often made in democratic welfare states including the UK.


    London College of Fashion / London Fashion Week theme / Gullable Mayor theme
    Q239
    I was shocked by how little research was being done in this area

    Maybe there should be a press boycott of London Fashion Week? Or public statements that it is stupid?
    Q240
    recycled  fibres theme
    Voluntary target of 25% clothing including 25% recycled by 2025 @ M&S
    Any way of getting the import wholesalers to keep-up with M&S labelling standards? Whoever imports Five Star boxer shorts from Pakistan for example?

    Q241
    R&D theme"There must be some new solutions that we could stimulate" - Leanne Wood @ Burburry. "Old industries being able to do this".

    Pension scheme point? 

    "Insolvent companies pose a real threat to the security of final salary pension schemes.
    • At present when a company goes bankrupt the money owed by the company to the pension scheme is not a priority debt - it comes behind money owed to the banks and the Inland Revenue. The T&G campaigns to make it a priority debt.
    • This union has members in United Engineering Forgings where after a lifetime of employment employees face losing up to 70% of their pension entitlement.
    • We have members at Richards of Aberdeen Ltd, where more than 18 months after the appointment of an Independent Trustee the ex-employees are still waiting to see if they will get any pension at all.
    • We know of cases where after 30 or 40 years of paying into a pension scheme members are ending up with no pension at all. "

    That was from a trade union web site which went-on to side with the employers, saying that it was fine for an employer or an asset-stripper to own the pension; government must pay the bill

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Q263 cattle market theme
    ASOS in Wales? Finished-off one that's reported in the Financial Times (I think) and one at East End Manufacturing.

    Seem to be keen on closing the whole thing down rather than encouraging it.
    Likewise London fashion colleges.

    Q360 "so the person who anonymously told me that the company is making up to £2 million a year from fines to suppliers is potentially misguided then"

    Q276, Q317 Union theme
    unions need to offer value for money in organisation, in human resources advice, in legal insurance, with transparent local accounts and online communication with members. Note own experience at Employees.org.uk
    Q339 "There does not currently appear to be a demand from our workers  in our Burnley warehouse to require a union" Carol Kane @ Boohoo. Boohoo warehouses didn't look good places to work in an undercover documentary - rather like Sports Direct warehouses- so I guess that there is a demand for something like a union, or a union-run warehouse, but not unions and their reputations that are on offer. Maybe the workers saw my web site - employees.org.uk

    Q289 cattle market theme -
    Boohoo buying room - playing suppliers off against each other

    Q322 wear-once theme for the instagram photo


    Q324 Labelling theme

    Can you cite any example ofs where you are actively promoting durability or long life in your garment advertising online
    Nick Beighton @ ASOS "no, we do not", but he seems to recover himself and say the opposite in question 326

    Q344 short life theme"take make dispose society and the approach to manufacturing has to end. We realise that" - Nick Beighton @ ASOS.

    Q362 pattern cutting theme
    Phoebe English says that every garment in Oxford Street will have produced offcuts

    Q368 pattern cutting theme- Kenyan single mothers - need open source

    Q369 sort shred spin theme
    Carol Kane
    "offcuts is a very interesting conversation... leicester ... mainly polyester ... they were quoting some not huge amount of money for a for some machinery that would be shredding those for some secondary purpose Carol Kane @ Boohoo.

    Q379 Carol Kane "educating and research ... postwar I do not know of many new fibres that have come into the market" ...
    Technical College or Research Association theme "had to be collaborative"




    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    labelling theme - transparency
    Q87 Phoebe English @ Pheobe English
    It is very hard to find the research and find the reliable information that you can implement cost-effectively into your company

    Products tend to come by brand or by wholesalers' own brand - such as Five Star pants - and that is about all you know unless you make something yourself . If you are a stallholder or a bedroom internet company, then you probably can't even get the big brands to sell to you, so you are back to the Five Star pants. They might be marked "cotton" or "made in Pakistan" if you are lucky.

    labelling theme - transparency
    Graeme Raeburn @ Christopher Raeburn
    Business Rates
    our biggest challenge is broad customer awareness of why T shirt A costs .... fractionally more than .. B ... worker rights ... durability.

    could you replicate the buzz or someone purchasing or exploring and purchasing that piece of clothing? yes of course you can.

    Q94 WRAP - legislation for good pattern cutting?
    Phoebe English says yes, but I think cheap software is a start - anecdote about my pattern cutting course at London College of Fashion.


    labelling theme - transparency
    However, that does take time and money

    reuse: re-sell and rent
    Q94 Clothes hire shops closed, and, with business rates and cheap formal wear at Primark, it's easy to see why. If they have a future I guess it is working from back rooms.
    I wrote something about it a few years ago and did a lot of googling.
    Phoebe English "potentially make a lot of money for people willing to invest in it", and am breaking even with a car; not making anything on shares in Fat Lama or the car hire comapny Hiyacar." 

    This leads to a point about successes being small little niches that might grow within the classified ads industry

    Q94 Phoebe English "sharing

    reuse: re-sell
    Q97 Greeme Raeburn @ Christopher Raeburn
    Deposit scheme
    I wonder if that could be built-in to a uniform purchase, alongside labelling by factory. I don't know how it could work because the factory wouldn't be there in 30 years' time when uniform buyers ask for their deposits back - there would have to be a scheme like landlords' deposits, by which you could buy and sell the duty to offer the deposit if the clothing re-appeared.

    I can see a buy-back scheme working for Rowlett toaster or a Duelit, but this is going off the point.
    Could it be subsidised or could someone offer free publicity for it? A second-hand market in identified goods, such as a certain style of crockery or such-like.



    Q102 unions theme
    "unionised workforce label" - there might be an example in Naomi Klein's No Logo book about a union helping train an employer or somehow upgrade a sewing machine in order that the employer can pay a better rate.

    Q105 labelling
    Rare tariff point as well

    The World Benchmarking Alliance - human rights index. I already try to list the Democracy Index on my old web site Lucy Firth "certainly not the democracy of the country who produced them, where the workers' working conditions would likely be condidered illegal, if not criminal, in this country and in the country where the goods are sold"

    Q106 Tariff
    Siegle
    When fashion started to be outsourced, particularly from the UK....
    "low cost, high volume, and consequence-free"

    Q107 Re-use: re-sell
    Machines yet to be invented theme

    I don't know why L.M.Barry sells bails of unsized clothes. There is scope to invent a machine for trying to size and sort clothes, so you get a bail of T shirts or a bail of medium collar shirts.

    Q109 transparency
    Limited if you still buy from Bangladesh; needs to extrapolate from Bangladeshi average, legal conditions, rather than say "Brand X has a good story"

    There is opposite point of view "You can't compare countries", said an expert from Ethical Fashion Forum; "one of the best factories... is in China; one of the worst factories ... is in China. You are just as likely to have a bad factory down the road in London". I don't think that can be a sincere point of view but it was put by a Nike consultant, doubling as speaker for Ethical Fashion Forum in an interview to New Internationalist a few years ago. The worst UK factory is very different from the best China factory, as the new Human Rights Index or the Democracy Index will show.

    There is an opposite view in economics departments - those places where they tend not to hold tutorials. I asked an economist from SOAS who specialised in this stuff whether we should have a tariff that pressures Bangladesh to have a welare state. She looked as though she'd never been asked before - these people don't do tutorials - and re-itterated at the end of her lecture: "for me, it is for Bangladeshis to decide whether they have a welfare state". I don't think the economics of that make sense. I can't prevent the cheap part of the market from existing. Bangladeshis can't, together, raise standards if that means that the cheap orders go to Sri Lanka or Vietnam. So we have a problem with economists.



    Throw-away culture; over consumption
    Q114 free returns should possibly be discouraged or taxed or something like that. Maybe if the larger shops wrote "we don't offer free returns because..." then the others would follow.

    Possibly an overlap of hire and buy would be good, but it's one of many experiments that might take-off or not.


    Monetary Policy
    Q119 "VAT to be dropped on re-wear and re-use start-ups"
    I think it should be cut on all manufacturing if interest rates rise. There should be some formula. Otherwise, every time someone puts interest rates up to reduce inflation, the exchange rate goes up, industry closes, and it can take a lifetime for much of it to start-up again.



    General rhetoric
    Q2 Chair
    We have all heard horror stories and seen the programmes about sweatshops in the fashion industry

    Tax and tariffs
    Q2 Sumner:
    "garment making being shifted around the globe chasing lower labour costs"

    Q3
    "not only is it providing employment, but the textile industry for hundreds of years  has provided a route-through for growing GDP. 

    Tax and tariffs - comparison with Europe
    pretty good collection rate per head of population ... 11 kilos ... throwing away a lot more too.

    "challenge is getting an even distribution"

    Q5 McNally; "Nathans in Denny"

    Q6 McNally Procurement
    If you want to change the world you have to speak the language of the people that you are trying to reach. If you want to go a bit further, you need to research

    Q7 McNally nudge factor

    Q17 Tax and tariffs history26.7kg per person and in the rest of Europe about half of that.



    Q27 Lucas "Dooley documentary .... binge shopping ... role models"
    We pay for these role models at London Fashion Week

    Question 28 discusses this as hundreds of years or evolved behaviour but it's not. Nobody has ever enjoyed looking at Catwalks, in my eperience, but we pay to put them on TV at London Fashion Week. Nobody has ever gone on a fashion design course thinking "this is just a bit of fun - I know there is no job a the end", but people fall into that behaviour.  Stella Claxton's student dissertations might mention this.
    Tax thin clothes? - tax theme
    Q34 DR Sumner Emotional Longevity 
    but a thick T shirt also works better on a charity shop rack - more likely to donate if if you paid more for it - also more likely to buy it at £5 or £2 if there aren't super-thin ones in Asda at three for £10.

    A £5 T shirt in a charity shop that says "made by Patel & Co, Typewriter Building, Leicester, 150gsm", is beginning to look more interesting than one that says "George at ASDA -Mr  140gsm"

    Q43 Tax and tariffs - need to be unpopular
    List of sustainable development goals but these are not going to include National Insurance, because someone somewhere will vito it and be offended. They will also be offended it is mentioned in a tariff on their countries products. There was a lot of opposition to social clauses in tariffs in the 1970s when last tried. So it is necessary to be unpopular when setting tariffs. The most vociferous opponents will be people who do very well out of being rich amongst poverty: where will they get a new gardener if people start going to secondary school instead of having large families? Who will polish the Mercedez? They will be outraged out our colonialism. But a tariff that is reviewed each year according to the same scale as a tariff on Vietnam and Sri Lanka and any other country will possibly benefit their economies, and, if not, it will certainly benefit ours which I think is important too.


    Q46 Low productivity under-cuts high productivity. Cattle Market theme. Capricious buyers. 
    If the buyer buys in Turkey and expects you still to be in business when they come back, you will have to re-start on rented or standard machines. The "CMT Unit" way of making things instead of tube knit with vast old machines or any other unusual technology.


    Q47 Rana Plaza v Typrewriter building - no comparison

    Q48 Enforcement Theme
    Possible to imagine why low enforcement - no point enforcing when the work can go to Turkey or Bangladesh

    Q57 Mr Goodwill: are members of parliament aware?



    Q50 Alex Sobel Union Theme

    Q62 Alex Sobel - India v UK 

    Q67 Turkmanestan v Turkey v UK
    There needs to be a sliding scale on which countries can go up or down. Brazil is likely to go a long way down very soon as Bolisero takes office, and it would be good if he knew that would damage exports and upset industry. Or Turkey. Same thing.



    Q73
    Takmanistan = Turkey so a sliding scale of tariffs according to things my government approves-of and disproves-of would be good. I do not approve of Turkey under that man - what's his name?

    Q79
    Bangladesh v UK question

    Q80
    Mr Goodwill "by appointment" can be changed - forbidden to be put on a non-uk item unless the country matches standards of human rights and democracy.




    • Anyone with cash: Sponsorship of open source software for pattern cutting - or whatever software helps a designer waste less cloth. Higher education colleges might want to help with this as their graduates need to get jobs, while short of cash, so any training in free software would help their graduates and help the college get better statistics for employ-ability.
      Nesting software can be publicly sponsored and encouraged, saving waste
      Old machines like the BSM ones used in shoe factories or the tube knitting machines used at Manchester Hosiery can waste less than a workshop that makes-up garments from a flat roll. The problem with these machines is alerting manufacturers to parts shortages - it's a general problem of the industry not being connected. If you can make a machine part, how do you find the person with the worn-out machine?




    Waste from fashion



    • What typically happens to unwanted and unwearable clothing in the UK?
      How can this clothing be managed in a more environmentally friendly way?

    • How much unwanted clothing is land-filled or incinerated in the UK each year?

    • Does labelling inform consumers about how to donate or recycle clothing to minimise environmental impact, including what to do with damaged clothing?

    • Uniform owners, buyers, and disposers...
      Labelling of
      military clothing by factory used to be common.I suggest that large organisations could offer surplus clothing back to the firms that made it. That's a slightly odd idea but I think it would appeal to me as a consumer to buy an item that's been made at a factory, sold to a ministry, and then sold back for next to nothing so that the factory can think what to do with it. The system would provide an incentive for the factory to make good clothes and see how they wear-out, and they would have the best chance of knowing how to put it right before maybe re-dying and re-selling to civilians.

      (I understand that military people are offered new clothing from store; old clothing is not necessarily worn-out.)
    • What actions have been taken by the fashion industry, the Gov

    • ernment and local authorities to increase reuse and recycling of clothing? How can this clothing be managed in a more environmentally friendly way?

      Something to be said about waste generally - more of white goods than clothes. Is there some way that councils could advertise second-hand shops and schemes like Trashnothing in order to reduce throw-aways and increase demand for salvage from the tip?

      Maybe money for a pilot project or something like that could help start a trend among councils.

    • How could consumers be encouraged to buy fewer clothes, reuse clothes and think about how best to dispose of clothes when they are no longer wanted?


    • Two things I can contribute on a similar labelling point, although more to do with awareness of production and tractability of production than recycling

      (1) Indian factories label clothing with some link to the factory where it was made by default. They know how to do it. It costs nothing extra except the cost of adding a label.

      (2) UK veg growers know how to add some linjk to the farm where something was grown by default. So could the same scheme that applies to carrots be applied to T shirts? A lot of the same issues apply - big efficient farms, scared to invest because of capricious buyers at the much biggers supermarkets, and scared to give evidence for the same reason. The result is a lot of big low-profile farms using very cheap labour.

    • Different point
      If the pound were lower, we would be forced to pay more for imports or buy local products, including second-hand ones.
      I remember in the 1980s it was cheaper to buy £10 jeans in charity shops than to find the equivalent Primark - I think it was called Dirty Dicks Jeans or something like that - which charged more than £10.
      If there were no Monetary Policy Committee advising rising interest rates, we could have a lower pound and save on our interest payments that we pay for the national debt, so this could save money and increase recycling at the same time. The only problem is how to guard against inflation if not by hiking-up the exchange rate, which is another issue.

    • Consumerism, impulse purchases, pressure on those who cannot afford but still see the advertising

      The Irish government has imposed a stamp duty on second credit cards. Irish citizens are allowed one, and pay tax on each extra card. The UK government has laws in place about advertising of credit and debt. I suggest another way to reduce consumption is to impose branding on credit cards, just as it is imposed on tobacco companies, so that a credit card has "debt card" written on it and is coloured red. If there is some way to tax the kinds of advertising that are used by big brands, that would be good as well. Maybe to fund a media grant system.

    • ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
      If there were a tariff against goods from countries without a welfare state, then imported clothes would be cheaper. At the moment I think there is a tariff on clothing and footwear from outside the EU with exceptions including Bangladesh, so it is the Bangladeshi - EU tariff that's the crucial one, as well as general terms in any trade deals that are written over the next few years.

      This is a very general point about shifting fashions.
      There are stories of children who don't know that milk usually comes from cows. I think it's the same with clothing. I think that if there were more clothing made in the UK and maybe made more publicly in the UK, then people would appreciate it for longer.

    • I can contribute something about the urge to be normal against the odds by people on low wages who see advertising and can't afford to buy what's advertised. So some kind of anti-consumerism idea could be good.



    Sustainable Garment Manufacturing in the UK

    In recent years there has been a renewed interest in clothing that has been made in Britain. However there are concerns that the need for quick turn-around in the supply chain to facilitate the demand for “fast fashion” has led to poor working conditions in UK garment factories.
    The Committee will also examine the sustainability of garment production in relation to the UK’s social and environmental commitments under the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The UK Government has a commitment to ensuring ‘Decent work and economic growth’ by protecting labour rights and promoting safe and secure working environments for all workers under UN Sustainable Development Goal 8.

    • How has the domestic clothing manufacturing industry changed over time? How is it set to develop in the future?



      People in the lobby have changed - the people like myself who present themselves as experts. We do not hear much from manufacturers themselves because they have to run lean simple and low-profile businesses. They do not look for ways to get-involved in initiatives or schemes; they do not have PR agents.

      Factual information is harder to come-by then when I consulted the Shoe Trades Directory in 1998 - a kind of Bradshaw's Guide to every firm in the UK shoe manufacturing business, compiled by the people who sold advertising for a trade magazine. Both closed soon-after. Glimpses of manufacturing are available on Google Street View, Jobmatch,


      http://www.hse.gov.uk/Prosecutions/search/industry/subsector.asp?SF=IS&SV=45&Sector_Name=Manufacture+of+textileshttp://www.hse.gov.uk/Prosecutions/case/case_list.asp?SN=S&ST=C&SF=IS&SV=46

      There are relatively few jobs on Jobmatch. This is an example for footwear:
      https://findajob.dwp.gov.uk/search?adv=1&qwd=footwear%20manufacturing&sb=date&sd=down

    • There are plenty of firms with accounts marked "manufacture" at Companies House, where they're asked to classify what trade they're in, but a lot of firms mis-classify in order to get a better credit rating or because they think of manufacturing in the UK and commissioning of manufacturing anywhere to be the  same thing. 







    • 1980s London changes - British Fashion Council is a PR agent for Greater London Authority - have persuaded successive mayors of incredible value for money from this subsidy in a way that I'd like to question in detail and have tried to question. Basically, I think it's all made-up.


      (1) less information combined with different lobbyists, so we now see a subject without hard detail, through the statements of clothes shop PR agents and people who campaign for better conditions in the third world. There is no lobby for the UK industry, which is fragmented and invisible.
    • How are Government and trade envoys ensuring they meet their commitments under SDG 8 to “protect workers’ rights” and “ensure safe working environments” within the garment manufacturing industry?

      Same point as above. They need a database of all UK industry, rather than an opt-in system of a few firms that have applied for a grant to go to a trade show or have somehow managed to get on a list. I think that's fair on taxpayers.
      Secondly they need to promote goods that are physically manufactured in the UK rather than remember their economics courses about how the UK makes intellectual property nowadays. Intellectual property does not make money circulate around the UK economy as efficiently as manufacturing, so, whatever the minister at the time says, I think there should be technical arguments to promote UK manufacturing.
      Thirdly, UK manufacturing happens
      (a) under UK law with
      (b) workers able to use UK services like benefits and health services. 
    • (c)Outside of work, troublemakers like Channel 4's Dispatches are able to make programmes here that they couldn't make in China, and
      (d) there is a public register of health and safety accidents in the UK by industry and address.



      What more could they do? Are there any industry standards or certifications in place to guarantee sustainable manufacturing of clothing to consumers?

      They promoted party donors Monsoon, who are notoriously hard to do business with and who buy their clothing in India. They promoted Pants to Poverty at a time when UK garment manufacturers like Remploy Uniforms and Manchester Hosiery were closing. So I think we need a guaruntee thet they work for UK taxpayers and not against us.


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    rant on lobbyists

    History -
    - Monetary policy: we pay to put ourselves out of work
    - Tariff, development, and national insurance policy: we pay to put ourselves out of work
    - Advisors who got us here: we pay student grants for people to go on courses and do more harm
    - The people in the lobby have changed a lot, and need different critical nous applied. A few decades ago, I think there was a clothing and footwear committee of MPs and they would have head evidence from UK manufacturers like Courtoulds. I imagine the evidence would be that it is hard to manufacture in the UK when far worse working condidtions are allowed in Bangladesh, and that we should appreciate the benefits of synthetics (or stalk-based fibres or recycled fibres if they exist) made in the UK compared to cotton with its drain on water resources. That's what you'd expect them to say.

    The new generation of people in the lobby have different funding and different backgrounds. A lot are taxpayer-funded.
    I have spent a lot of time debunking the new generation of lobby claims on the web pages Veganline.com/ethical-fashion.html, Pantstopoverty.org.uk/bond.html and a few blogposts PlanB4fashion.org.uk.

    Now, we have people from chains of clothes shops like BHS who tells us that "fashion" means shops, and that shops are good. I think that consumers would find other ways of spending their money and getting dressed if there were fewer chains of clothes shops importing cotton from sweatshops, but that is the gist of the "Value of Fashion" report, partly paid-for by the Greater London Authority under its "British Fashion Council" label in order to justify taxpayers spending on London Fashion Week.

    We have organisations that present themselves as higher education colleges and do teach students on student loans and award degrees, but seem more interested in their sponsors. The least popular university of any in the UK is University of the Arts, London, including London College of Fashion, but colleges like this are touted by the Greater London Authority

    If you take an extreme guess at what a lobbyist for an importer would say, you sometimes see hints of it in what they do say and what taxpayer-funded organisations are influenced to say in their name.
    • Sweatshops are good 
      ...if they are in badly-run countries and help their rich governments develop; we have a moral duty to buy from sweatshops in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka for example.
    • UK-made synthetics are bad,
      because of vague pollution risks
    • UK manufacturing is bad 
      because it can include sweatshops as seen in Dispatches. Even though these firms are exceptions, they are discovered, and staff work under UK law with UK healthcare, benefits, and safety inspections.
    • Large firm's products are vaguely "ethical"
      ...in the same way that McDonalds called its food "nutritious" in the 1980s. This is often justified by claims that only a large firm can make because it claims private knowledge of the entire supply chain which a more fragmented smaller firm cannot know. So a large brand promotes a shoe that can go in the compost bin as a sign that it is "ethical", and puts-up a speaker on the podium at Ethical Fashion Forum alongside independent guests to make the whole things look popular and impartial. I don't know if the compost-bin-shoe has been presented in that way, but it is an example of the kind of claim made.
    • And can they have a subsidy or a tax break please?
      Ethical Fashion Forum made similar points but survived on small grants and a large number of favours from public sector organisations that were orchestrated in a way that's not revealed. They shared a subsidised office with Pants to Poverty, who made similar claims of being a grass-roots popular movement while surviving on public sector favours and small grants. Meanwhile we know that BHS went bust with tax and pension debts.
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    Economists

    They are often people who did maths at A-level and go-on to something similar when they study their economics degree, without critical thought or tutorials to find-out about other peoples' opinions. Their textbooks do not mention things like national insurance because that doesn't sell economics textbooks in America, so it's shunted to obscure degree subjects that nobody knows they should apply-for like Public Administration. So I am happy to talk to economists about this, but I think there is another problem: why economics courses exist which cover macro-economics but not the welfare state, and whether applicants know in advance what they are in-for. I think such courses should have a pop-up warning on Unistats and I hope that web sites like The Times and The Guardian which re-hash this data do the same. I think that the Department for Business should not fund promotion of these courses overseas because it undermines UK interests.. I think that Chevening Scholarships and Marshall funding for postgraduate education, alongside Great India and Great China funding, should not pay student grants for people to study a alien theory of economics on their courses. The public sector is part of the economy, as in textile procurement, and I don't think we should procure bad economics courses that make us poor. I saw an advert from the Department for International Development that asked for two economics degrees studying data (some don't) and that's good, but the advert didn't specify any mention of the welfare state (most don't) so I guess that there are a lot of rather ignorant technocrats at the Department for International Development and that should change. I mention it here because some of them will object to tariffs against sweatshops. Several witnesses have written tentative, suggestive statements, and this is my statement.



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    DELETABLE
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    Apprendix about London Fashion Week 

    I pay DEFRA for "love your clothes" and I pay British Fashion Council - another name for the Greater London Authority and London Fashion Week - to do the opposite. Every interesting UK manufacturer that might get a mention in the media has to queue behind the subsidised PR for London Fashion Week. Every teenager who tries to understand fashion has to realise that catwalks and rapid change aren't what anyone is really interested in, or hardly anybody. They are just a kind of semi-fictional stage set from the Greater London Authority. One director - Harold Tilman- found some exibitors who didn't have any way of making the clothes on display. I suppose they were pressured to show a "collection", because that's part of the act even if it isn't what exhibitors really make or sell, and they were offered places for sale via an odd method of competitions at Vauxhall Fashion Scout and some other thing, which are run by small companies with charitable registration on behalf of a list of fashion colleges. So the thing is a half-fictional trade show, built on top of fashion college degree shows. I wrote a few freedom of information requests to try to find out what the current event is really for, and, after a pause, they commissioned Oxford Economics - a consultancy - to write what a huge return on public investment it provides, in an unconvincing way. You might have seen The Value of Fashion report. If return on investment means that the money carries-on circulates a lot of times in the UK economy, I don't see them making that point. At the end of the report they claim some kind of input-output formula based on the shoe industry in 1998 when input output data was last available for England and Wales, but I have a list of 1998 shoe factories and most of them are now crossed-out. There are other claims that the event crowds people into London - the Picadilly Line at rush-hour for example - without saying that it crowds other people out. This is claimed to be a good thing. Fashion PR and lobbying is claimed to be a good thing, as is advertising. And clothes shops are counted as "fashion". There are a lot of clothes shops like BHS at the time, and they are declared to be a good thing. I don't see the argument. People would spend their money on something if it wasn't clothes shops, or maybe save it, but, according to the report, Fashion "contributes" a huge amount to the UK economy which happens to be exactly the same figure as some other report by Oxford Economics - I think it is the contribution of overseas students. If they've done one on Heathrow, they probably say that contributes the same amount of billions as well.

    Sarah O'Connor article