MP’s Reject 1p Per Garment Tax Proposal
In February 2019 the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) caused industry debate with a series of proposals directed at reducing the amount of cheap fashion on sale and ending up in landfill. The committee recommended several measures in their report – ‘Fixing Fashion: Clothing Consumption And Sustainability’, including charging fashion producers 1p per garment to raise £35m for better clothing collection and recycling. However, as announced on 18th June, the EAC’s proposals have been rejected by government.
Mary Creagh, Labour MP and chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, stated that the government is “out of step with the public” and added: “The government has rejected our call, demonstrating that it is content to tolerate practices that trash the environment and exploit workers, despite having just committed to net zero emission targets.”
The government responded by saying that plans are already in the pipeline for dealing with the issue and that they are already tackling the environmental impacts of so-called ‘fast fashion’. At present the voluntary Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) is an industry-led action plan that encourages companies to cut their carbon, water and waste impact. But with a minimal number of retailers signed up and funding cuts for the recycling charity behind the scheme ‘Wrap’ – the EAC believe this simply isn’t tackling this urgent, environmental issue.
The EAC’s intention was to recommend clear economic incentives to encourage retailers to do the right thing and to reward companies that design products with lower environmental impacts and penalise those that do not. The latest figures reveal that British shoppers are buying twice as many new clothes than their neighbours in Italy and Germany. The allure of a cheap bargain has bred an unsustainable and irresponsible attitude to the buying and longevity of clothing and this urgently needs to change.