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Developing Countries: Clothing

Department for International Development written question – answered on 18th May 2020.

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Photo of Rushanara Ali Rushanara Ali Labour, Bethnal Green and Bow

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to support workers in the ready-made garment factories in developing countries who depend on business contracts from fashion firms in the UK and other western nations during the covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

Measures to control the spread of COVID-19 are having a profound impact on global trade and supply chains. We are aware that businesses have been affected by cancelled orders, and the Department is engaging with businesses in the UK and in developing countries to understand the challenges they face with respect to protecting incomes and livelihoods in their supply chains. We are working very closely with other parts of the UK government including the Department for International Trade.

We are also investing in sector analyses to understand the impacts of the crisis on factories, workers and supply chains and we are working with retailers to ensure that there is workplace and hygiene safety in place where factories are continuing to operate.

For example, in Bangladesh, through the Better Jobs in Bangladesh programme, DFID will be supporting around 1000 factories and their workers safely return to work when the factories re-open.

Officials have met with many British businesses in this sector and are working to establish a programme that would protect people working in overseas supply chains, including in these sectors, to ensure that their livelihoods are protected and British people can access the goods they need.

My Ministerial colleagues and I will continue to engage with businesses as we work together to support vulnerable workers in supply chains.

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