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MPs propose tax on fashion garments

Following widespread media reports about 'throwaway' fashion, MPs are calling for a 1p tax levy per garment in a bid to raise some £35m to invest in recycling. Market commentators have agreed that something needs to be done but have expressed cynicism over how the tax will be collected and whether 1p per item would actually cover the cost of collection let alone make much of an impact. 

One fashion sourcing contact, who preferred not to be named, said: "1p won't even touch the problem. It is more a matter that consumers are educated and understand that really low cost clothing comes at a human cost to those in the factories, mostly in third world countries,  who are very poorly paid. Then there is the impact on the environment from the heavy reliance on cheap man-made fabrics which are almost impossible to recycle. But the reality is that all fabrics carry an environmental cost as do all garments if you break all of the stages down - from the chemicals used in dyeing, to the power used in the factories,  to the shipping and handling throughout the supply chain. If an additional tax was collected it would have to be via the existing VAT system which could mean a new rate band for all clothing for retailers to administer, but even raising an extra 50p per garment, or pair of shoes for that matter,  would do little to deter those who want a constant supply of cheap new clothes and have no interest in their provenance."  

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