Covid-19 in Leicester: ‘racism fears’ let sweatshops go unchecked

According to a front page story in today’s Sunday Times, senior ministers believe that police and local authorities – concerned above all to avoid allegations of ‘racism’ – allowed blatant abuses in Leicester’s garment industry. Poor working conditions in the city’s ‘sweatshops’ have been blamed for a new outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, forcing a renewed Leicester lockdown.

The Home Secretary is said to have argued that “police and other government agencies have turned a blind eye to exploitation in Leicester’s textile warehouses and factories in the same way as the grooming scandal in Rotherham was ignored for years.”

Sunday Times journalists were briefed by a source close to the Home Office who said: “This scandal has been hiding in plain sight and there are concerns cultural sensibilities could be in part to blame for why these appalling working practices haven’t been properly investigated.”

Boohoo co-founders Mahmud Kamani (above, far left) and Carol Kane (second right) with rapper Snoop Dogg and Kamani’s son Samir

Many of these sweatshops are said to work for the highly successful bargain fashion brand Boohoo, which buys about 80% of all clothing produced in the Leicester area. The billionaire owners of Boohoo are the Kenyan Asian Kamani family, who came to north-west England in the late 1960s and started selling handbags on a Manchester market stall.

In partnership with designer Carol Kane, who started working with the Kamanis in Manchester in 1993, Boohoo was launched in 2006, targeting girls in their teens and early 20s who were looking for fashion bargains. It also operates the brand PrettyLittleThing and in 2017 bought the American retailer Nasty Gal.

£1bn has been wiped off the company’s share value in the past week, following belated revelations about Leicester working practices.

Comments are closed.

  • Find By Category

  • Latest News

  • Follow us on Twitter