According to a report in the Manchester Evening News, the programme focused on five local enterprise partnerships (LEP) areas, which had previously had a history of textiles manufacturing, and where there were no growth opportunities. These included Greater Manchester, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Nottingham and Derbyshire.
Through renewed confidence, the industry now has the potential to add 10,000 new jobs and £500 million more to the UK’s economy each year by 2020. It is the most significant initiative ever to be undertaken in the UK to support its textiles industry, the report said.
Andy Ogden from English Fine Cottons, based in Dukinfield said: “The Textile Growth Programme has brought confidence back to the industry. The textile industry needs to support itself and bring quality back to the market.”
“We’ve invested £6 million in bringing cotton spinning back to support weavers, knitters and dyers. We want to ensure high quality cottons produced here in Manchester are back on the high street, giving British consumers the products they deserve,” Ogden said.
A total Regional Growth Fund of £27 million, awarded to the programme in 2012 has leveraged a further £123 million nationally from the private sector through the support of 340 British manufacturers.
Carol Kane, CEO at Manchester-based Boohoo.com said: “At Boohoo we are proud to source over 50 per cent of our products from the UK. Not only are we delighted to support the British textile manufacturing industry and the creation of employment opportunities for workers in the UK, having our suppliers nearby is also a crucial part of our business model. We are a fast-fashion business with a focus on speed to market, so being able to manufacture our products in the UK allows us to lead the way in offering the very latest trends and styles.”
The UK has now got a textiles workforce of 127,000 people across all skill levels from packing and warehouse staff through to board directors.
Lorna Fitzsimons, founder and director of the Textiles Growth Programme, based in Manchester, added: “Five years ago, Lord Alliance challenged Sir Vince Cable, the then Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, to recognise the opportunity for increasing UK fashion and textiles manufacturing. This started us on a journey which led to the most extensive study on supply and demand for UK fashion and textiles manufacturing in decades. There is still more to do but this is a success story no one saw coming.” (SV)
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