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Comment: 'Supporting British footwear is our priority'

Lucy Reece Raybould, CEO of the British Footwear Association, explains how it is supporting the industry in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week we heard our prime minister and our chancellor promise to do “whatever it takes” to protect the economy, and these are sentiments echoed by the British Footwear Association in helping to protect the footwear sector.

Like most industries, we are currently facing unprecedented challenges. Many businesses are already reporting downturns of 50%-plus and following discussions with many of our members over the last 24 hours, there is an expectation that this will get worse. Figures of 80%-plus are being forecast in the coming days and weeks.

The government has said that now is “the time to be bold”. However, we need to be sure that the £330bn promise of help in the form of loans, grants and relief goes far enough in supporting the footwear industry.

The British Footwear Association will continue to work tirelessly to meet with policy makers in Whitehall to ensure that we are financially supported through these uncharted waters, and we are already lobbying hard on behalf of all our members to insist that government provides real tangible support now.  

The next few days will be crucial in what promises to be a prolonged period of intense hardship with many critical decisions being taken across our industry on a daily basis, so providing the information and support that you need to act fast is, and will remain, our overriding priority.

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