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2013 Review - Alan Wheeler

The ride has been a rollercoaster with a string of businesses closures in the first few weeks of the year, followed by a celebratory reception at the Houses of Parliament.

This was followed by more closures whilst at the same time more positive developments have taken place through the clothing roadmap and other initiatives led by WRAP and the London and Merseyside Textiles Forum.

Businesses and charities looking back will conclude that 2013 was, at best, a difficult year.  Despite the closures, the prices that collectors are paying for second hand clothing to their local authority and charity partners has remained unsustainably high. 

we have been advised that some local authorities have signed new contracts with textile bank operators that have offered seemingly well above the market rate, but when new collection arrangements have started, actual revenue has decreased because yields from banks have dropped.  Of course there can be a number of legitimate reasons as to why this may happen, including the opening up of a charity shop or cash for clothing store nearby, but looking forward local authorities should give consideration to including minimum performance standards in their contracts.  If a site’s performance drops below a certain pre-contract level with no reasonable explanation, then questions should be asked.

In trying to simply chase the collector that pays the highest headline rate, collectors have been put under pressure to quote prices that they simply cannot afford.  This favours nobody, especially if it forces collectors out of business.  This year, a number of local authorities and charities have seen their minor gains realised through getting a few pence per kilo more wiped out when their bankrupt collectors have left them thousands of pounds worth of debt.

Alan Wheeler, TRA. This article first appeared in the MRW Handbook

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