Addressing members and guests of the Textile Services Association (TSA) after its recent annual general meeting, John Redwood MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, said possible UK high taxation on energy could make a direct impact on Britain’s textile care sector.

Such taxation tended to destroy UK jobs without necessarily cleaning up the planet. As far as the road transport industry and a heavier tax burden was concerned, it seemed to be an “own goal” to subsidise foreign hauliers on Britain’s roads.

Energy taxation would increase the gap between the commercial health of the industrial sector and that of the service sector, Mr Redwood maintained. The TSA and individual companies in the textile care sector could be active in voicing their opposition to such taxation. “It is worth protesting,” he said.

Britain should make its contribution to achieving a cleaner environment but should not make a bigger effort than other countries, he stated.

The National Minimum Wage was causing considerable damage to employer/employee relationships and some employees were losing benefits while others were losing jobs. What was won on basic pay could be lost in less overtime availability, the pooling of tips, fewer benefits and so on—losses which defeated the aim of the legislation.

The Labour government was responsible for a massive expansion in regulation. An administration could only claim to be de-regulatory if more was removed from the statute book than was put on, Mr Redwood said.

* A report on the TSA’s annual general meeting, which was held at Launderers’ Hall, London, appears on page 33.