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Hindmarch says red tape is strangling UK manufacturing

The UK’s stringent employment laws are holding back manufacturing and businesses, handbag designer Anya Hindmarch has claimed.

Hindmarch told Drapers on Monday at the London launch of StartUp Britain, a private sector initiative to support entrepreneurs, that she “dreamed” of a resurgence in UK garment and accessories manufacturing, but that the Government would need to loosen red tape first.

Throwing her support behind Drapers’ Save Our Skills (SOS) campaign, Hindmarch said: “I am passionate about British manufacturing. The dream is to have more here, but it is difficult with our labour laws. [UK] employment law is overbearing. It is intent on protecting the underdog that actually is doing the opposite, which is not beneficial to anyone. Some of the maternity laws, for example, are hard for employers and also for mothers. If you want to serve notice to someone it’s hard to do so. You end up keeping on people who may not be the best ones for the business.”

Hindmarch, who has five children and whose eponymous brand sources product from countries including the UK, Italy and China, added that, to compete with overseas producers, the UK manufacturing industry needs to help small businesses hit the “very hard to reach” minimum order levels set by many European brands and retailers.

Also speaking at the StartUp Britain launch, chancellor George Osborne said the Government was considering tax breaks for UK manufacturers. His comments followed Mulberry chief executive Godfrey Davis’s call last month for National Insurance holidays for firms setting up new UK production facilities.

For more on the Save Our Skills campaign, go to

www.drapersonline.com

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