Castleford's Burberry factory 'to make 100,000 surgical masks for NHS' following claims of PPE shortage

Bosses at fashion retailer Burberry say its Castleford factory is being repurposed to provide 100,000 surgical masks for the NHS.

The company, whose West Yorkshire facility normally manufacturers trench coats, is also funding research into a single dose vaccine - due to start clinical trials at the University of Oxford next month.

It follows reports that the head of an NHS trust in southern England has asked for Burberry's help to provide personal protective equipment for staff.

Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti said: "In challenging times, we must pulltogether.

"The whole team at Burberry is very proud to be able to support those who are working tirelessly to combat Covid-19, whether by treating patients, working to find a vaccine solution or helping provide food supplies to those in need at this time."

The government has denied there is a shortage of PPE, but in an anonymous interview with BBC's Radio 4, the head of an NHS trust said that claim was a "fantasy" - adding that his staff would run out of gowns by the weekend.

Health secretary Matt Hancock is due to face questions from MPs on Friday over the Government's coronavirus response, following announcements that lockdown measures will be extended for at least another three weeks.