The TSA organises this yearly meeting so that its members can make Government representatives aware of matters that affect both individual businesses and the whole textile care industry.

The meeting was hosted by Lord Doug Hoyle and attended by seven MPs. Martin O’Neill chairman of the Trade and Industry Select Committee has agreed to a separate meeting.

TSA members explained to the legislators the detail of their concern about rising business costs.

The mass of legislation coming onto the statute books is particularly difficult.

Individual pieces such as flexible working or paternity leave might be welcomed, but so much new legislation in such a short time can alienate companies, particularly small to mid-sized operations. They feel confused by the regulation, to a point when all they can see is its impact on their costs.

On the environment too the industry has concerns. The laundry industry has a strong environmental story to tell: we recycle; we re-use; we reduce paper use; and produce less waste. So we feel we should be the Government’s partner in an environmental agenda, but instead we’re excluded from a valuable mechanism to negotiate reductions in our energy use in return for discounts on the climate change levy.

Most laundries now face an increased energy cost of some 15% and the reduction in employers’ national insurance contributions hardly compensates since the industry is a major user of energy but an efficient user of staff.

The expected implementation of the Solvent Emissions Directive later this year is welcomed as allowing responsible users of solvents to continue to offer drycleaning services and marginalising those operating on the fringes of the industry.

Enforcement must be uniform and costs fair, however, for the legislation, long pressed for by the industry, to enjoy continued support.

The meeting also presented a timely opportunity to brief parliamentarians on the quite unjustified possibility that the EU might soon bring back anti-dumping duties on made-up cotton bed linen originating in India and Pakistan.

Far from protecting domestic European jobs, these taxes would simply add yet again to the laundry industry’s costs in servicing the already investment starved area of healthcare and the threatened hotel and tourism sector.