Government “out of step” after calls for textile tax are dismissed

// Government accused of being “out of step” with the public by MPs after calls to place tax on fast fashion were rejected
// The government also rejected calls to ban the incineration or landfilling of unsold stock that can be reused or recycled

MPs have accused the government of being “out of step” with the public after it rejected all recommendations made by the Environmental Audit Committee’s (EAC) report on the sustainability of the fashion industry.

MPs on the EAC had called on the government earlier this year, urging “fast fashion” retailers to address forced labour, environmental destruction, and excessive waste in the industry by reforming tax laws.

However, the government has refused to accept any of the Committee’s recommendations after a formal response to the report today.

EAC chair Mary Creagh accused the government of being “content to tolerate practices that trash the environment and exploit workers despite having just committed to net zero emission targets”.

“The government is out of step with the public who are shocked by the fact that we are sending 300,000 tonnes of clothes a year to incineration or landfill,” she said.

“Ministers have failed to recognise that urgent action must be taken to change the fast fashion business model which produces cheap clothes that cost the earth.”

The original proposals meant there would have been a one penny levy on every fashion item sold, which could have raised £35 million for a new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme that would improve textile collection and recycling services across the UK.

The government has previously said it is keen to extend EPR schemes to ensure businesses that create waste pay more towards its recycling and re-use, arguing it provides firms with a financial incentive to embrace more resource efficient production and circular economy business models.

The government has also rejected the EAC’s calls to ban the incineration or landfilling of unsold stock that can be reused or recycled, explaining that it believes “positive approaches are required to find outlets for waste textiles rather than simply imposing a landfill ban”.

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