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Cleaning and hygiene sector is a top UK industry

New research released by the British Cleaning Council (BCC) has cemented the cleaning, hygiene and waste sector’s position as one of the UK’s Top 10 industries, giving a highly detailed picture of the sector.

The British Cleaning Council (BCC) has cemented the cleaning, hygiene and waste sector’s position as one of the UK’s Top 10 industries, giving a highly detailed picture of the sector.

The new research shows that the industry contributed £55.5bn to the UK economy in 2018 – a slight rise on previous figures – with turnover soaring in a sector with tens of thousands of businesses.

The latest employment data available, from 2020, shows that there are 1.47m workers in the sector, approximately 5% of the UK workforce, and a top UK industry for employment. Other more recent figures show the varying effect the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns have had on some parts of the industry, with demand soaring in some areas and shrinking in others.

The report also refers to the change in public attitudes which has put cleaning and hygiene at the top of the agenda, and brought widespread recognition for the vital work of the sector’s previously invisible workforce.

Paul Thrupp, BCC Chairman, said:

“Once again, our annual research report provides some fascinating insights into the cleaning, hygiene and waste sector. It testifies to the huge size and importance of the sector, which is one of the 10 biggest in the UK and is a huge contributor to the UK economy. There are early indications of the impact of the pandemic on the sector, with different parts of the industry being affected in different ways.

“During the pandemic, many cleaning and hygiene operatives have continued to do vital work, protecting the health and wellbeing of others, while often putting themselves at risk. The public recognises and values this contribution.

“Increased awareness of the importance of cleaning and hygiene means our industry will continue to play a vital role as the UK recovers from the pandemic and into the future. I believe the outlook going forward is very positive.”

The BCC issues a yearly research report on the industry, including national data it has collated. Some of the data available for this year’s report has not been updated by national sources due to the pandemic. The latest data available, from 2018, demonstrates the strength of the industry, with turnover having increased 30% in the previous five years, a rate much greater than all UK economic growth of 13%. The industry continued to grow up to 2020, with 66,420 businesses operating, up from nearly 60,000 in 2016, the report says.

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