£9 Billion industry creates 20,000 UK jobs
17th February 2015
Up to 20,000 jobs could be created in the UK textile sector by 2020.
That's according to the Manchester-based Alliance Project which has published its 'Repatriation of UK Textiles Manufacture' report.
The report is the biggest study on supply and demand in the textile industry in 20 years and says the industry is worth £9bn to the UK economy.
The Alliance Project, based at Manchester economic think tank New Economy, was created to examine the potential for repatriating textiles manufacturing to the UK.
Lord David Alliance, the prominent south Manchester businessman who last week revealed his long-term battle with depression, commissioned the report, with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the government providing support.
It comes at the same time as the successful national N Brown Textiles Growth Programme. That scheme is the first ever textile grant growth programme in British history, led by Manchester-based N Brown Group.
It has also been supported by others including BIS, Manchester Growth Company, M&S and ASOS.
The Textiles Growth Programme received £12.8m in 2013 from the Regional Growth Fund and created 1,600 jobs and 115 apprenticeship positions in the England in its first year.
What they said
Mike Blackburn, chair of Greater Manchester LEP, said: "Further to the growth deal announcement, the launch of the Textiles Alliance Report is fantastic news for Greater Manchester.
"This report takes a timely and strategic overview of the sector on behalf of the UK, positioning Greater Manchester and the wider north firmly at the forefront of driving investment into this important growth industry.
"The fact we've seen 1,600 jobs created by the N Brown Textiles Growth Programme since its launch back in 2013 is testament to the sheer effort that is going into this project. Not only is it having an impact on textiles but also on the wider supply chain and its governance - informing the approach of Greater Manchester's Manufacturing for example.
"Given the legacy of the textiles industry in this region, we can only hope to see this project go from strength to strength."
Angela Spindler, CEO of N Brown Group, said: "We are very supportive of the initiative and, as a retailer headquartered in Manchester, we are delighted by the job creation in the region.
"The first tranche of the funding has been allocated and while the results so far have been phenomenal, more needs to be done to drive textile manufacturing in the UK.
"As a business, we only source a small percentage from the UK, but there is a recognition of the growth potential in textile manufacturing.
"Retailers are desperate to increase capacity in the UK and this investment fund will allow us as an industry to grow that capacity quicker than we would otherwise have been able to.
"The industry needs all the support it can get to help meet this demand. This will also need parallel investment in Skills from the Government, as evidenced in the Alliance Report, which reveals a huge crisis in skills."
Companies which received funding from the National N Brown Textiles Growth Programme
R Gledhill Ltd is a family-owned business founded in 1936. Based in Oldham they produce made-to-order woollen yarns that are recognised across the world, from luxury Scottish knitwear to the yarn used in the green baize of the World Snooker Championship tables. Over the past 80 years the company has constantly expanded and updated its machinery to cope with demand, particularly in the Far East and Asia. The RGF4 grant has helped them address this growing order book, increase plant capacity by 20%, and relocate manufacturing facilities back into the UK.
Sigmatex is the world's largest independent carbon fibre weaver, with headquarters in Runcorn and operations in Rochdale. The firm produces materials that are stronger but lighter than steel for the premium automotive and aerospace markets, including Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, racing cars and Bentley. The Programme has allowed Sigmatex to expand their Research & Development facilities, and dramatically increase production of 'spread tow' fabrics; a lightweight carbon fibre material that is currently in huge demand from both overseas markets and in the UK.
Grafea is a luxury leather manufacturer, blending traditional British craftsmanship with vintage style and high quality materials. Originally from Greece, their manufacturing plant is now in central Manchester, producing handbags, briefcases, satchels, holdalls and rucksacks for luxury markets across the globe - from Hollywood and Harrods to Asia and Australia. Grafea have used the funds to purchase additional sewing and ancillary equipment, helping them increase production four-fold and promote the Made in Britain brand around the world.
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