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Growing importance of UK cleaning sector revealed by BCC report

25 March 2020

Adding further weight to calls for cleaning operatives to be classed as key workers, the British Cleaning Council (BCC) has published its fifth annual study on the cleaning sector.

Its research shows that the industry employs approximately 1.63m people and accounts for around 5% of the UK workforce.

This puts the sector on the same level as the transport and storage industry as one of the top 10 largest for UK employment provision.

The BCC report classifies the industry into four core divisions, including cleaning activities, FM, landscape service activities and waste and resource management.

It says employment increased 5% between 2015 and 2018 and the sector's growth has regularly outstripped that of the UK economy.

Figures show that cleaning contributed £54.5bn to the UK economy in 2018 and enjoyed a growth rate of 28% in the period starting from 2013, which was double that of the UK's 14% growth during that time.

It identifies demand for recycling as providing one of the sector's growth areas, with waste and resource management rising to nearly £14bn in 2018.

This part of the industry now accounts for 26% of the turnover of the entire cleaning sector.

BCC chairman Paul Thrupp said the report confirms that employment figures for the cleaning industry have been underestimated by the official statistics for some time.

"So this report is a contribution to the national conversation about the financial, environmental and social value of cleaning to the nation," he said.

Mr Thrupp further stated that the BCC is continuing to "advocate for everything positive about the cleaning sector, also helping our members with support, advice and leadership to manage challenging issue like low pay, human slavery, health and safety and immigration which can impact cleaning in the UK".

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