UK high street retailer Monsoon has hit back at reports in UK newspapers that some of its suppliers in India have used child labour.

Monsoon said the press reports, in The Observer and The News Of The World, "were based on a fundamental misunderstanding of a series of audit reports".

The Observer article, published on Sunday (21 November) reported instances of child labour and pay below the minimum wage among Monsoon's suppliers.

Monsoon described the reports as "inaccurate and misleading".

Unlike many retailers, Monsoon's audits include sub-contractors and homeworkers who are often involved in the production of craft products. "We are the only retailer to have reached so far into our supply chain," it said.

The Observer reported that Monsoon had identified a number of "serious breaches" among subcontractors - something the company insists was not directly linked to its own supply chain.

In a statement Monsoon added that during its audit process it de-listed suppliers whose practices repeatedly fell short of its own standards.

The company said it had identified two instances of child labour by subcontractors in the past five years, and took immediate action. It also said that all its suppliers had provided written confirmation they will pay at least the minimum wage.

It added: "Monsoon is passionate about ethical trade. We always have been. It has been at the heart of what we do since the company was founded in 1973 and we are proud of our achievements."