The British Fashion Council (BFC) is urging the government to avoid a no-deal Brexit, claiming it would have a “negative impact” on the industry.
It follows figures revealing that trading under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules would cost the UK fashion industry, which is currently worth £32bn, between £850m and £900m.
The BFC said its main concerns are around trade and talent. In the case of a no-deal scenario, it questions whether businesses or consumers would take on the additional costs caused by WTO tariffs, and what will happen to travelling samples, logistics systems, shipping goods and VAT claims.
It is also concerned about the proposed changes to the immigration system and that lower-paid fashion workers would not be covered in the government’s white paper, in which the recommended Tier 2 visa has a £30,000 minimum threshold on salary.
As part of its appeal, the BFC wants the government to:
- Seek a deal with the European Union that would guarantee the healthy and steady growth of the fashion industry
- Give access to funding that would help to create stimulus that will ensure British designer businesses continue to remain competitive internationally through trading agreements, access to finance, free movement of talent and support for promotion
- Advise on all the different scenarios and translate them into what they mean to the fashion industry and the best way to navigate global trade challenges