Dash Linen, a family business based in Wimbledon, operates a laundry service for a range of restaurants in London and the surrounding area.

Like many commercial laundries in the pandemic it is struggling with reduced business and a lack of financial assistance from the government.

“We’ve been watching our business crumble before our eyes,” said Edward Syed, director of Dash Linen who feels his company has been overlooked.

“The majority of our customers have been closed since the first lockdown. We’ve lost a few altogether, as they change their operation, and some have gone bankrupt owing us money.

“It’s a difficult situation for everyone but it’s not being made better by the government’s scattershot approach to which businesses receive help and which don’t.”

Dash Linen is part of the Textile Services Association (TSA), which is voicing its concerns about the government’s limited support for businesses within the hospitality supply chain.

The TSA has been urging the government to provide the same level of help to commercial laundries supplying the hospitality industry that other businesses in the sector have been receiving.

That includes rates relief; amending the guidance to local authorities on discretionary grants, so that commercial laundries can be included; deferment of VAT until payback is viable; extending the terms of government loans until laundries can afford to repay them; and making more loans available during the bounce back.

The lack of financial support has already caused staff redundancies at Dash Linen.

“Before the pandemic we were employing 63 people. We had to make 14 people redundant in June 2020 after our request for grants was turned down, and since then another five have left of their own accord,” said Edward.

“We’ve had a very low staff turnover, normally. Some of our staff have worked with us for over 20 years – it’s a very difficult situation.

Edward believes the relative invisibility of the hospitality laundry industry might be behind the government’s lack of response.

“Very few people know how many businesses rely on commercial laundries,” he added.

“If you look at every piece of linen in a restaurant, or every piece of cloth in a hotel, it will be regularly cleaned by a laundry. But this is a hidden side to these industries. The importance of ensuring that supply companies like us, who are vital to keep other companies running, are receiving the right help isn’t getting through.”