Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby has told talkRADIO that local authorities have been appealing to the government to act on modern slavery for more than four years.
It comes as Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen claimed as many as 10,000 people could be working in slave-like conditions in textile factories in Leicester, branding the subculture an “open secret”.
Speaking with talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, Sir Peter said: “We have been telling the government for over four years that there’s an issue here in Leicester and they need to help us by using their powers to make sure that we deal with it.
“We’re very, very up for tackling it, it is the government who have ignored our requests and also the requests of a parliamentary select committee last year that said that we, and other councils up and down the land, should be given powers to do something about that.”
Allegations of illegal working conditions at garment manufacturing sites in Leicester surfaced when the city saw a localised coronavirus outbreak.
Fashion brand Quiz said today it believes that one of its suppliers, based in the city, has used a subcontractor at the centre of allegations over breaches to the national living wage.
The brand said it is “extremely concerned” by a report in the Times over the weekend that its clothes are being made in a factory where prospective staff are being offered as little as £3 an hour – despite the living wage being £8.72 for someone over the age of 25.
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