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LONDON – UK Government has written to several online fashion retailers, including Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing and Misguided, after evidence given in Parliament “raised alarm bells” about purchasing practices. The Environmental Audit Committee recently heard evidence linking sub-minimum wages at garment factories in Leicester, England with ultra-low prices – including the retail of dresses for just £5. The Chair of the Committee has now written letters to Amazon, Asos, Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing and Misguided, and is inviting some to give evidence in Parliament.

The Committee is requesting information on areas including staff wages, the life-cycle of the garments sold, and steps being taken to reduce the environmental and social impact of their businesses.

Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh MP, said: “Our recent evidence hearing raised alarm bells about the fast growing online-only retail sector. Low quality £5 dresses aimed at young people are said to be made by workers on illegally low wages and are discarded almost instantly, causing mountains of non-recycled waste to pile up.

“We will be calling some of these online retailers in front of the Committee to answer questions, but in the meantime, my letters encourage them to face up to the social and environmental consequences of their business models. We want to know that they are fully compliant with employment law, that garments have a decent life-span, and that profit is not put before environmental damage. I look forward to the responses.”

The Committee will publish the written responses once they are received.

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