Commenting on the 2017 Budget, Dr Philip Wright, Chief Executive of the Textile Services Association said: “Increasing the National Living Wage should be viewed with caution. We support a better paid and trained workforce, but in today’s uncertain climate the increase will squeeze the NHS even more. This is a safety matter – hospitals rely on our members to decontaminate 13 million bedsheets and scrubs every week – without such services they cannot operate.”

He added: “With a weak pound increasing import prices for machinery, linen and cleaning chemicals, a wage increase significantly above inflation heaps yet more costs on our members who in turn have no choice but to pass this on to health, hospitality and manufacturing sectors.”