Textile recyclers have called on the Government to ensure that the single market remains available to the UK after it leaves the EU.
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Alan Wheeler, director of the Textile Recycling Association (TRA) (centre), said such a position was essential post-Brexit because of the industry’s reliance on exports and migrant workers from the EU.
Wheeler made the call in a report on the state of the UK market presented at the Amsterdam convention of the Bureau of International Recycling.
He noted a slowing down in the decline of used clothing values – with some reports even indicating a small rise – but said that was not surprising following the fall of the pound.
“Such a decline has temporarily made British exports cheaper but either inflation will follow or, if retailers attempt to keep prices down, profit margins will be squeezed and businesses in the wider economy will go to the wall. Either way the economic outlook is bad.
“My message to our Government is simple. We rely significantly on exports to the EU and on migrant workers from the EU. We need to maintain access to the single market and to the EU labour force.”
Wheeler said it was in the interest of our country that the Government sought to attain terms that mutually benefitted both the UK and “friends and allies in the European Union”.
“The Government needs to take advice from UK business leaders by addressing concerns about access to the single market and the EU labour force.
“If we continue to erect walls or either the UK Government or the EU pursue a course of action which forces the other party into a corner, then negotiations are doomed to fail,” he added.