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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 02:46 GMT 03:46 UK
Scepticism over UK clothes claims
High Street shoppers
UK shoppers are becoming more aware of the human cost of cheap clothes
UK clothes retailers have been keen to show off their ethical values to appeal to socially-aware consumers.

But shoppers are sceptical of claims of good working conditions in the factories that make the garments sold in UK shops, a report has shown.

Of 7,000 people interviewed, 45% said they did not believe that worker abuse did not take place in the supply chain.

The TNS Worldpanel Fashion survey comes after allegations of poor standards in South Asia's textile industry.

The single biggest concern was over whether child labour was used in the factories that supplied the clothes to low-cost outlets, such as Tesco, Asda and Primark.

These shops have come under fire recently by charities, such as War on Want, for allowing poor working practices. All of the retailers have strongly denied the allegations.

Human cost

Seven out of 10 respondents said they thought it "very important" that there should not be any under age employees, and that workers should not be forced to work in unhealthy conditions for extended periods of time.

Shoppers over the age of 55 were found to be more sceptical about retailers' claims to be ethical and cared more about how the clothes were produced before making a purchase.

Younger shoppers under the age of 25, meanwhile, were less likely to care about how the clothes they wanted were manufactured.

"Over the past few years we have watched consumers flock to the cheapest outlets on the high street, but increasing awareness of the potential cost to humanity for these bargains is hitting home," said TNS Worldpanel Fashion executive Elaine Giles.

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