DEFRA recognises key role of UK leather industry in food supply chain

We have finally had a response from government, confirming our request that the manufacturer of leather in the UK be recognised as a key function, and employees of leather manufacturers recognised as key employees. While we anticipate that there will be a loosening of restrictions in the coming weeks, this should provide the necessary authority for the continued operation of tanneries if restrictions on businesses were to be increased. Please note that while the response to does not specify which manufacturers would be included, the guidance from government would suggest that it would extend only to those processing from raw.

Regrettably, the Government has not addressed the issue of specific support for the industry to assist with the management of the accumulation of raw hides and skins from meat sector. Instead, we have been referred to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme, which would simply add further to debt to any speculation on purchases of hides and skins. While we have had little feedback on this issue, we do know that smaller and independent meat processors are struggling to find markets for their ‘fifth quarter’ products, and many are paying to have them disposed of.

Please see the letter here PO2020_07474. We will keep you informed of any further developments in this area.

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