Climate Action

MPs call for an end to fast fashion with 1p tax

A new report has found that implementing a 1p tax on clothing items could reduce the fast fashion movement across the UK.

  • 19 February 2019
  • Rachel Cooper

A new report has found that implementing a 1p tax on clothing items could reduce the fast fashion movement across the UK.

The report, commissioned by the Environmental Audit Committee, recommends that the clothing brands and retailers should pay a 1p tax on every garment they sell. It estimates that this could raise over £35 million in a year to improve textile reuse and recycling in the UK.

Mary Creagh, MP and Environmental Audit Committee Chair, said: “Fashion shouldn’t cost the earth. Our insatiable appetite for clothes comes with a huge social and environmental price tag: carbon emissions, water use, chemical and plastic pollution are all destroying our environment.”

The report also recommends taxation should be reformed to reward companies that offer clothing repairs and reduce the environmental footprint of their products.

A recent report by the Environmental Audit Committee found that six UK fashion retailers were significantly failing to reduce their environmental impact. ASOS and Marks and Spencer were some of the most engaged with sustainability, with brands like Boohoo and Missguided falling to the bottom of the pack.

In the UK, around 300,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in household bins every year with around 80 per cent of this incinerated and 20 per cent sent to landfill.

Mary Creagh added: “In the UK we buy more clothes per person than any other country in Europe. ‘Fast fashion’ means we overconsume and under use clothes. As a result, we get rid of over a million tonnes of clothes, with £140m worth going to landfill, every year.”

The report also calling for an end to the exploitation of labour. They recommend vital changes to the Modern Slavery Act and Companies Act to increase transparency and require large fashion brands and retailers to perform due diligence checks across their supply chains to ensure their products are produced without forced or child labour.

Despite the commitment shown by MPs to combat fast fashion, many environmentalists have called for a more appropriate tax of £1 per garment.

Read the full report here.

Photograph: U.S. Air Force photo/Gina Randall/Released