Hospitality Laundry Industry Unites in Plea to Government

An un-merry Christmas caps desperate year 

UK hospitality laundries have wished the government Merry Christmas – and begged politicians not to forget just how desperate the industry’s plight is.  The Christmas card, organised by the TSA (Textiles Services Association) features a bare Christmas tree and the words ‘A Not So Happy Christmas.’ The card is signed by many of the biggest names in the laundry industry, and is backed by UK Hospitality.  It includes quotes from some of the hospitality’s biggest names, including Hilton Hotels and Radisson Blu.

“We’re so grateful for the support of the hospitality industry,” says David Stevens, CEO of the TSA.  “What we need now is government action.  We have hundreds of businesses that are desperate for financial aid – so far they’ve had virtually nothing and they face ruin.  We have 24,000 workers at risk of being unemployed.  We have a hospitality industry that relies on us – and won’t be able to function if we go under.” 

A spokesperson from Radisson Blu says in the card, “Clean linen is vital to our operations. If we don’t have clean linen, we can’t make beds.  If you can’t make beds, you can’t sell rooms. Without it, you can’t survive.” 

The health sector also relies on the UK laundry industry.  In the card, a spokesperson for Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust says, “Without laundry, an acute trust wouldn’t last more than a day.”

In a display of laundry industry solidarity, the card is signed by Alistair McCrae of National Laundry Group, Guy Turvill of Swiss, Kevon Godley of Clean Linen and Workwear, Michael Jones of Fishers. Charles Betteridge of Christeyns, Ian Stubbs of Jensen, Mark Franklin of Elis, Pritpal Purewall of Synergy LMS, Ivan Kerry of ISA LEA, Mark Woolfenden of Johnson Service Group PLC, Simon Fry of Micronclean and David Stevens. 

“We’ve been lobbying for help since March,” says Stevens.  “I just hope the weight of the whole industry talking as one, and the influence of the season of goodwill, will give the necessary push to the government, so we finally get some support.” 

If you wish to discuss the above or if you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us on  020 3151 5600 or at tsa@tsa-uk.org.

‘KILLER CASH FLOW’ COULD DESTROY UK LAUNDRIES AND COST 24,000 JOBS

Final nail in coffin as government continues to ignore hospitality laundries

 “Dire.”  That’s the current state of the commercial laundries servicing the hospitality market, according to the Textile Services Association (TSA). 24,000 jobs in hospitality laundries are on the line and, despite repeated calls for help, the government has done little or nothing.

Now there’s a new fear – killer cash flow.  It works like this: in March, the hospitality market starts opening up with the so-called bounce back.  Laundries come back on line to service hotels, leisure centres and restaurants.  In March and April the laundries have work, but they also have costs, from day one: wages, fuel, transport and so on.  But at this stage, no money is coming in.  Why?  Because the accepted model for most hospitality laundries is to invoice at the end of month – and then they typically get paid on around 60 days.

And that’s the point at which many hospitality laundry businesses will get the final nail in their coffin.

“Government inaction is driving the industry into the ground,” says David Stevens, CEO of the TSA.  “We’re not asking for special treatment, we just want the support that other businesses are getting.  Rates relief would be a start.  Amending the guidance to local authorities on discretionary grants, so that we can be included.  Deferment of VAT until payback is viable.  Extending the terms of government loans until we can afford to repay them, and making more available during bounce back.

“Cash: that, in a word, is what we need.”

The TSA fought long and hard to get laundries included in the government support schemes.  It finally achieved success when it was announced that companies that supplied the hospitality sector, and relied on it for most of their business, would be eligible for discretionary grants from the local authority.  “Now that ‘success’ feels like a kick in the teeth,” says Stevens.   “We’re just not getting anywhere.  Virtually every laundry that has applied has been turned down.

“Yet again our industry is being ignored.  We are part of the hospitality sector and will not survive without support.  What’s it going to take to get some action?  Another 24,000 people on the dole?”

If you wish to discuss the above or if you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us on  020 3151 5600 or at tsa@tsa-uk.org.



GOVERNMENT GREEN LIGHT FOR REUSABLE PPE GOWNS COULD SAVE NHS £1BN+ A YEAR

TSA welcomes DHSC decision after months of lobbying, but warns it’s a ‘slow burner’

 

After months of lobbying by the Textile Services Association (TSA), the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that reusable gowns are now part of its official PPE strategy.   The TSA has long argued that reusable gowns make economic sense – they can be laundered and reused up to 75 times and the difference in cost is, as the DHSC itself says, ‘modest’.  At the same time reusable PPE gowns are far better for the environment.  While disposable gowns are creating, each year, an estimated 45 million tonnes of clinical waste that needs to be burnt, reusable ones are the far more sustainable option as they can be recycled at end of life.

“Everyone we spoke to in the cabinet office, civil service and government agreed with our argument, but they didn’t take it anywhere,” says David Stevens, CEO of the TSA.  In early October, the DHSC published its Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Strategy, in which it mentions reusable PPE on several occasions.  However, as Stevens points out, they didn’t exactly shout it from the hilltops – and the policy of sourcing and using disposables has continued, despite recent media furore about the contracts involved.

Now, however, Stevens has had the policy on reusable PPE gowns confirmed at the highest level.  “A spokesperson from NHSI England acknowledged that we are pushing at an open door – the problem is, there still doesn’t seem to be much progress. On the plus side, the DHSC says it wants to see an increase in reusable gowns and talks about developing a comprehensive business model, with commercial laundries central to delivering the strategy.  It’s also working with the UK textile industry and universities on developing the use of new materials, such as graphene.

Stevens adds, “While the news that the DHSC is so supportive of reusable PPE gowns is very welcome, it comes with a health warning: this is a slow burner and, going by past experience, could take a long time to come to fruition.  That’s why the TSA is going to keep on pushing.” 

The TSA is now having regular calls with the NHS Improvement team to drive the use of reusable PPE gowns further up the agenda.  Currently, as part of the DHSC official PPE strategy, NHS England is piloting the use of reusable gowns with twenty providers, with sixty more waiting to join the pilot, working alongside laundry suppliers to increase the proportion of reusable gowns in the system and reduce waste of single use gowns.

Meanwhile, the TSA has published a short guide on multi-use PPE gowns, detailing how the reusable gowns could be made in the UK (currently most disposable PPE comes from overseas) and cleaned in commercial laundries to ensure they are safe for reuse.  The Guide, ‘The Case for Reusable Gowns… there’s a better way’, explains the difference between disposable and reusable gowns, and gives stark statistics – including the potential saving to the NHS of £1.2bn per year.  The Guide is available to download from here

If you wish to discuss the above or if you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us on  020 3151 5600 or at tsa@tsa-uk.org.