Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle, Emma Hardy, is calling for a total ban on all logoed school uniforms and for children to be granted the right to wear plain clothes from high-street chains instead.
This labour MP - a seat described by the Guardian in 2005 as an " isolated fishing port grim east coast town' - has composed a letter to the Department for Education in which she is urging the government to issue statutory guidance to stop schools forcing parents to buy more expensive branded blazers, sweaters and sportswear.
Hardy - a former teacher at Willerby Carr Lane Primary School where she spent 10 years - also wants a ban on parents having to buy from a single stockist, which she claims bumps up the price, explaining a plain blazer from Tesco may cost you £10 as opposed to £33.00 for the same equivalent in one of your more specialist stockists.
Arguing: “If schools want to have a badge, they could supply sew-on badges to parents." Assuming all her constituents can sew!
Naturally, we here at All Shorts Schoolwear are outraged by the news.
While Hardy's latest round of rhetoric may be music to the ears of her constituents of Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle - a deprived area undergoing regeneration with low income roots and high unemployment - in a drive to secure votes, we mustn't ignore the wider picture here.
Firstly, we strongly advise Emma Hardy to reconsider her proposals, proposals which - if granted - would doubtless threaten the future of many of our high-street school uniform suppliers - a notion which in turn would culminate in unprecedented job losses for their countless employees; Livelihoods which may take years to recover - if at all.
Rather than assuming full responsibility for the unprecedented high-levels of poverty in the UK, it would appear schools and retailers are once again being held to account for someone elses mistakes by the powers that be.
While it is true supermarkets offer attractive in-store cut-price deals for cost conscious parents, the reality is, not everyone stops to consider the economic, environmental - let alone the ethical implications behind these immorally low-priced school garments.
Surely Hardy must realise the only reason why many of our high-street supermarkets can afford to sell budget price clothing is because such garments are likely the result of forced labour in overseas factories where working conditions are - for the most part - anything but humane.
It stands to reason, if you are purchasing a shirt for fewer than £2.00 in a British supermarket, it can't have been manufactured in the UK where the minimum hourly rate for those 25 and over currently sits at £8.21. Such a cruelly cut-price item has to mean it was constructed unethically, either in some dismal sweatshop out in the middle east where labourers receive as little as twenty pence per week - and often involves children; Or by some other poorly underpaid labourer.
Surely, Emma Hardy wouldn't want us to assume her proposal now meant she approves of sweatshop manufacturing, that it is now suddenly acceptable for Britain's schoolchildren to turn up for school proudly wearing clothes - unbeknown to them - conceived at the hand of another person's suffering? Is this the sort of message she really wants to send out, given the abolition of slavery here in Britain in 1833 post the introduction of the Slavery Act? A case of double standards?
Most of the parents we talk to all say they would much prefer to buy into quality than to fall into the trap of paying less and shelling out for endless replacements over the year.
Smart corporate branded uniforms sets the tone of any given school, raises academic standards, instils a real sense of pride, helps combat bullying and reduces bad behaviour, says The Schoolwear Association, which conducted independent research back in 2017 which looked at dress and well-being, and the kind of appearance-related pressures which, if went undetected, could lead to mental health issues.
While unbranded items of school uniform may seem like the most attractive of the two options to some, it is simply a short-sighted solution and makes no real economic sense - aside from all the unethical implications involved, with many preferring to live by the adage: "buy cheap buy twice."
Regrettably, within the appalling three years it has taken this administration to debate the ins and out of Brexit - for which no conclusions have yet been reached months beyond the set leave-by date - we have witnessed record number shop and factory closures in the textile industry, with the falling pound and cheap, off-shaw equivalents cited among the top two factors responsible for their demise.
Now they feel the only answer is attack by bullying schools into completely changing their uniform policies to reflect the miserable reality of the UK's 4.1 million children living in poverty, while forcing the hand at the same time of retailers to slash their prices - which many know is simply nigh on impossible if they are to survive in our present economic climate.
For us as independent retailers, it would mean us cutting our long-established ties with what remains of our British textile manufacturers and looking elsewhere for alternative solutions; an idea many of us British suppliers would certainly not want to entertain. Such a move would completely go against everything we believe in and doubtless result in more future commercial losses on these isles in the long-run.
If the government were to go ahead with Emma Hardy's proposal and impose statutory guidelines to schools preventing them from insisting on branded school uniform, the ramifications would doubtless prove detrimental for our nations independent school sector, (unless they came under the exclusion zone.
For a start, the notion - if passed - would by its very definition - deny these schools the right to a corporate identity, which in turn could have far reaching implications for their commercial image, as well as on pupil behaviour and their subsequent academic performance, let alone decimate a fundamental aspect of our English culture with its roots in Tudor times.
Granted, we can think of several Measures in addition to those being currently proposed by- Emma Hardy, measures which - if introduced - would have far reaching benefits for the British textile industry and the wider economy respectively.
To start with, urgent investment in the UK economic infrastructure is desperately required, with a call for increased collaboration between more and more schools, colleges and universities to further strengthen the gap between the workplace and learning in the classroom.
In addition, raising import duty for unethically produced products coming into the Uk is another solution we believe ought to strengthen our own manufacturing output, create fairer competition, secure British jobs and reduce the exploitation of foreign workers.
We also welcome these recommendations by the Centre for Retail Research, who in its own report Retail At Bay 2018 proposed a compromise that could be put into effect immediately, were the Chancellor so minded. This would involve a twin system:
1) Continue with business rates but halve the rate of rates;
2) Introduce a turnover tax on all retailers;
3) Abolish the maze of exemptions from business rates.
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