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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

UK to donate £18 million to improve safety at Bangladesh garment factories

The British government is to donate £18 million to help train garment factory workers in Bangladesh, following the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka that killed more than 1100 people.

Alan Duncan, Minister of State at the Department for International Development made the announcement after visiting survivors of the tragedy, the worst industrial accident in Bangladeshi history.

The collapse of the Rana Plaza building revealed serious failings in working conditions and safety standards in Bangladesh's multi-billion dollar garment sector which supplies scores of Western retailers.

Factories located within the collapsed building had supplied British retailers such as Primark and Bonmarche and Mr Duncan said it was time that companies "assumed responsibility" for the way their products are made.

He added that the planned £18 million donation will provide training and expertise in improve safety standards at factories across Banvladesh.

Mr Duncan told the BBC: "The industry has been built from nothing in the past 30 years and now needs to be turned into a long-term development success, which means that urgent action is needed across the sector.

"Our own high street brands must assume responsibility for their products, from the store right back to the sewing machine, and the UK is ready to help make this happen."

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