THE OWNER of fashion retailer Boohoo has said that he could easily move the business offshore if its practices are scrutinised too closely.

Billionaire company founder Mahmud Kamani told MPs on the environmental audit committee, which is investigating possible unethical practices at the company including low pay and unsafe working conditions, on Wednesday that he felt Boohoo was being punished for staying in the UK.

This comes after revelations that the firm, which maintains a major distribution centre in Burnley, had been profiting from 'sweatshop' conditions in its Leicester supply chain in which some workers were being paid as little as £3.50 an hour.

Lancashire Telegraph: Warehouses: Boohoo maintains a major distribution centre in BurnleyWarehouses: Boohoo maintains a major distribution centre in Burnley

The company maintains a distribution centre in Burnley

Mr Kamani said: "It’s very easy for us to take all our production offshore.

"Lots of people in the fashion industry have moved offshore.

"We are still here and sometimes, sometimes, it feels like we get punished for it, just sometimes.”

The investigation was launched after a damning report, carried out independently by Alison Levitt QC, was published in September revealing that 35 out of 49 companies in Boohoo's supply chain failed a minimum wage probe and that “serious health and safety violations” were found at some suppliers.

The report also found that there were poor conditions “across the best part, if not the entirety” of the company's supply chain in Leicester and that chief executive John Lyttle and other senior staff were sent an email in December 2019 describing one factory as having “the worst working conditions that I have seen in the UK."

Meanwhile the company has also faced separate claims that an agency worker at its Burnley warehouse faced discrimination due to her disability.

In response, Mr Kamani told MPs that he was committed to clamping down on such conditions, despite implying that he could seek to move the company elsewhere if such scrutiny continued.

He said: “We will make Leicester right, we will make things correct, that I promise you.”

He added: “I cannot possibly know everything in this business, but I do know this is a priority in our business.”

The company has now come under pressure from shopworkers union USDAW to allow its employees to unionise.

However, Mr Kamani admitted that he has refused to meet with officials, but said that workers were free to join trade unions if they wished.

He said: "We are here to support the industry."

"Sometimes we feel we're getting punished for it."