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LONDON – The British Fashion Council (BFC) has claimed a no deal Brexit could cost the UK fashion sector up to £900m over the course of a year. The gloomy forecast is based on export figures from 2018, which show that abiding by World Trade Organisation rules would massively increase annual tariff costs for retailers and fashion designers. The council points out that the UK leads the world in creativity, innovation and business and the fashion industry is worth £32bn to the UK GDP and employs more than 890,000 people.

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The BFC has urged the UK Government to seek a deal with the EU which would guarantee the healthy and steady growth of the fashion industry.

It has also called for the Government to give access to funding that would help create stimulus that will ensure British designer businesses continue to remain competitive internationally through trading agreements, access to finance, free movement of talent and support for promotion.

Finally it asked the government to advise on all the different scenarios and translate them into what they mean to the fashion industry and the best way to navigate global trade challenges. 

Ahead of London Fashion Week September 2019, the BFC also held a seminar for designers specifically around preparing for a no deal Brexit, helping them identify the risks and challenges to their business and help them prepare for WTO rules in the event of no deal being reached by 31 October 2019.

At the time of writing, Tory rebels are set to join Labour to bring forward a bill later designed to stop the UK leaving the EU on 31 October without an agreement.

If they succeed, Prime Minister Boris Johnson could call a snap general election on 14 October.

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