Rishi Sunak Can’t Just Hope Other Big Companies Will Follow Primark’s Example | Nils Pratley | Politics


RIshi Sunak, the chancellor, readily admitted last week that there would be a “dead cost” to his policy of offering companies a £ 1,000 bonus for each employee recalled from leave and kept on the job until end of next January. This weight is a waste of rewarding companies for doing what they would have done anyway in the recovery of the economy.So it’s kind of good news for Sunak that some people are too embarrassed to take the money. Primark was the first to get out of the blocks this weekend. The fashion retailer did not need a financial incentive to bring 30,000 employees off work in stores and warehouses, so he would refuse the kind offer of £ 30 million in public money. Good game.

Primark’s honorable honor underscores the shockingly poor design of Sunak’s “job retention bonus” system. Yes, in some cases an incentive of £ 1,000 per employee can change an employer’s financial calculation, but it is suspected that the numbers will be lowercase.

Jim Harra, the director general of HMRC, understood the point when he officially told the chancellor that the scheme, with a theoretical maximum payment of £ 9.4 billion, did not offer “value for money” . If it’s too embarrassing for Sunak to advocate with big business to follow Primark’s example, someone should be put on the case. An energetic young minister could save a billion or two here.

The Fast Fashion Slowdown Is The Best Way To Get Out Of The Warehouse Scandal

Another day, another clothing retailer faced reports of wage abuse in its supply chain in Leicester. This time it was Quiz that promised a “full review” of the audit process after cases were discovered of workers being offered between £ 3 and £ 4 an hour to make clothing for the label.

Meanwhile, the mini-recovery in the share price of Boohoo, the retailer who purchases 40% of its clothing in Leicester, has been reversed. The shares fell 18%. Investors have understood that this affair will not be resolved quickly. On Friday, all doubts were removed when Aberdeen Standard Investments called Boohoo’s board of directors’ response to last week’s revelations “of insufficient scope, timeliness and severity”.

As with Boohoo, the Times report on Quiz involved the transmission of work to subcontractors, the visibility of the supply chain being lost (or not sufficiently researched). It is this aspect that deters some rival retailers. If you are truly determined to know every detail of where and how your clothes are made, they say, the textile industry in Leicester is not the place for you. The location is considered too risky – it is too difficult to gain 100% trust in quality operators.

Some Leicester refuseniks, however, also make a more gay point. If visibility and confidence improve, they are not opposed to the return of part of the manufacturing to the United Kingdom. Price gains from offshored production are becoming increasingly difficult to achieve; fast turnaround times and proximity to customers are now becoming increasingly attractive to mid-range labels, not just Boohoo.

It is clear that the reputation of the British textile industry will not be rehabilitated quickly after the revelations of the past fortnight. But a move upmarket, and far from fast fashion, seems the only promising path.


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