The Textile Services Association (TSA) has warned that the lack of support for the hospitality laundry sector has put thousands of workers' jobs at risk.
Despite lobbying by the TSA, which represents the UK's commercial hospitality laundry industry, the sector was left without support in the initial Covid-19 lockdown. The support measures announced following newly introduced restrictions, such as the 10pm curfew, have once again excluded the sector, which employs around 28,000 workers in the UK.
"The government is not learning," says David Stevens, chief executive of the TSA. "Or perhaps it doesn't care. The first national lockdown nearly destroyed the commercial laundries who service the hospitality industry. They had virtually no help from the government as they were deemed ineligible for rate rebates and hospitality grants, so apart from the furlough scheme, which is ending, they were left on their own.
"The new Job Support Scheme won't help, either – with business volumes down by 70% or more, hospitality laundries can hardly afford to pay staff to work, let alone pay them not to work.
"Our industry is on its knees, and the government is just turning its back on us."
Many hospitality laundry businesses were forced to take on debt to survive the initial lockdown and are now unable to make repayments as business volumes are dropping once again with local lockdowns.
The TSA has called for an extension to the furlough scheme or grant support for those businesses that supply the hospitality sector in lockdown areas. "Without help, they will go under," says Stevens. "Tens of thousands of jobs are at risk if the government does not take immediate action to support our industry."
Visit www.tsa-uk.org for more information.