The UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) announced „it is working to support the government as it starts to increase the availability of PPE.” „However, it is estimated that global demand for PPE has grown by 1,000% in the past few weeks,” the UKFT estimates.

The UKFT, which brings together UK designers, manufacturers, suppliers, agents and retailers, is trying to help its members who offered to help produce marks and gowns for the British health system and other key workers, find the right solutions in the supply chain.

„There are a number of bottlenecks in the supply chain that government is looking to resolve very quickly and the most important of which is the availability of the correct fabric. It is vital that all PPE is made from the appropriate material otherwise the protection given by items could be compromised,” the UKFT says on its webpage.

The UK government has asked for the help of the local garment and fashion makers, but first it tried to „develop the appropriate terms and conditions and to ensure the regulatory system is able to cope with the ramping up of production.” The UK government will operate a triage system to work with larger manufacturing firms first, and asked that „small companies not to manufacture products without hearing from government regarding the required specifications.”

UKFT has shared with the government „details of those companies that are already able to source PPE at scale and speed.”

„Masks and surgical gowns have very specific performance requirements and if you are supplying PPE to hospital and health workers who are in constant contact with those unfortunate enough to have contracted the virus, the products you make must meet these specifications. Currently all gowns and masks also have to be tested to ensure they meet the specifications and test laboratories are working at capacity,” the UKFT informed.

The financial support package available for businesses to help limit the impact of the Covid-19 virus on employees, includes grants to cover 80% of the costs of employees who are not working due to coronavirus shutdowns, but who have not been laid off.

The scheme will cover up to £2,500 per month for each eligible employee. The scheme will run for an initial three months, backdated to 1st March 2020.