Just in time for the Textile Services Association (TSA) conference (3-4 May) the Association has some good news to share as its lobbying efforts finally bear fruit. After years of trying to persuade Parliament that the laundry industry needs its voice to be heard by the Government, there hgas been a breakthrough. After a focused and dogged effort by a TSA member to connect with his local MP the TSA met with Derek Thomas, MP for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (St Ives), in Westminster this week to discuss the ongoing issues facing the commercial laundry industry. 

MP LISTENS: From left to right, Emma Andersson of the TSA with Luke Edwards and Derek Thomas MP and David Stevens

TSA member Luke Edwards from Mounts Bay Laundry in Penzance helped to set up, and also attended, the meeting. Having pitched the case for the industry, the TSA is delighted that Mr Thomas has agreed to sponsor and to help organise a cross-party meeting in Westminster with an invitation to be sent to TSA members' local MPs.

"We are hugely grateful to Derek for his help and for being such a strong advocate for our industry," said David Stevens, CEO of the TSA.  Derek had previously visited Mounts Bay Laundry and so had a good understanding of the scale of the industry and its challenges. The Westminster meeting covered a lot of ground, including energy support, labour shortages and, more generally, what the industry can do to ensure that it is visible to the Government going forward. Also, demonstrating the industry's role it plays in supporting the UK economy and how it can help the Government achieve its sustainability targets.”

Stevens emphasised the work of TSA members and the new Lobbying Steering Group in helping raise the industry's profile.  "The work has resulted in many MPs visiting laundries and recognising the importance of our industry."  

The rise in the industry's profile is evident in the questions being raised in Parliament – just last month SNP member Martyn Day and Conservative Anne Marie Morris raised the issue of the need to support commercial laundries under the Energy and Trade Intensive Industries scheme.  Even Grant Shapps the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, mentioned the issue in his recent letter, saying: "I recognise the ongoing challenges for the commercial laundry sector due to significant increases in global energy prices and other cost of living pressures." 

The aim of the upcoming cross-party meeting will be to provide an overview of the commercial laundry industry. It will underline the value it brings to the UK Economy and the reliance of both hospitality and healthcare on the industry.  In addition, it will look to develop a strategy to allow the industry to engage fully in the newly formed Energy Efficiency Taskforce.

"At last, after all the lobbying by TSA and its members, the Government is starting to listen to commercial laundries," said Stevens.  "The support from Derek Thomas and other MPs is critical if we are to drive the messages home.  But this is just the beginning, we can't let up.  There is much work to do."