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Drapers Investigates: what industry wants from the government

The fashion industry wants greater clarity from the government on a host of issues surrounding the coronavirus epidemic, Drapers research has found

This week, Drapers conducted a second survey to gather further information on how the UK and Irish fashion industry is responding to the government lockdown. The survey was open to fashion businesses from across the UK and Ireland, and received 105 responses between 25 March and 30 March.

Of those who took part, 35% of respondents said the UK government’s advice for businesses claiming income support has been “not at all clear”, and 52% said it is “somewhat clear”. Meanwhile, 53% believe the UK government’s current general lockdown guidance is only “somewhat clear”, while 16% said it is “not at all clear”.

When asked what action they would like, respondents said faster access to support payments; loans, grants and support for those affected by cancelled orders; and greater clarity. Several manufacturers said they wanted clarification on whether they should still be trading or operating warehouses, and called for government support.

“[We need] clearer guidelines on isolation,” one fashion supplier said. “[And we need] more readily available information on government help schemes.” 

The director of one independent retailer said it needed access to financial support “asap, so we can pay suppliers and staff”. 

Drapers continues to gather and disseminate valuable information on how the UK and Irish fashion industry is impacted by and responding to the coronavirus crisis. Please take the anonymous survey. 

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) today urged the government to ensure retail businesses can access government loans and grant schemes urgently, or risk becoming insolvent “in a matter of weeks.”

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “The government has made a number of unprecedented moves to help businesses in recent weeks, which are very welcome. 

“However, as we continue to make clear in our regular dialogue with government, hundreds of viable retail businesses that have been forced to cease trading, or seen trading significantly curtailed as part of the response to the coronavirus crisis, need urgent action to ensure that they are eligible to receive funds from recently announced government loan and grant schemes or they will be insolvent in a matter of weeks.”

Meanwhile, almost all participants (96%) agreed that a government lockdown in the UK was necessary, while 91% supported the closure of all non-essential retail stores, and 58% said the government should have ordered a lockdown before 23 March. 

On 17 March, chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured top) unveiled an unprecedented £330bn loan guarantee scheme for businesses, to help them through the coronavirus crisis. Sunak pledged to do “whatever it takes” to keep companies and households solvent.

Drapers has contacted the government for comment. 

Take the anonymous survey here. 


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