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The Leicester garment factories exposed by Covid-19 | News

When the Guardian’s senior reporter Archie Bland arrived in Leicester to cover a new coronavirus spike he thought he would be covering a story about the frustrations of a city stuck in lockdown.

But, as he tells Anushka Asthana, he soon found that the trail of the new outbreak led to Leicester’s garment industry and the thousands of factories that continued to operate during lockdown, some allegedly without proper social distancing and in squalid conditions. Some of those factories supply the online fashion retailer Boohoo, which has seen a massive backlash this week.

Boohoo, previously a £5bn company which also owns the Nasty Gal and PrettyLittleThing brands, is launching an independent review of its UK supply chain following the allegations that some factories in Leicester that sell clothes to Boohoo paid workers below the minimum wage and failed to protect them from the coronavirus outbreak. It has said it will initially invest £10m towards “eradicating malpractice” in its supply chain.

30/06/2020 .Coronavirus. COVID-19.Leicester. The city is on lockdown again because of a raise in new cases of COVID-19. The Temple road area of Leicester where a lot of the garment industry is based.Photo SEAN SMITH

Photograph: Sean Smith/The Guardian

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