The latest research released by the Textiles Growth Programme shows the textile industry in West Yorkshire is thriving.
113 textiles manufacturing businesses across West Yorkshire have invested £44.5m in the Textiles Growth Programme over four years which in turn has unlocked more than £10m in grants through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. This has helped create 1,124 new jobs, safeguard nearly 150 jobs and created 166 apprenticeships in the industry.
The programme is focussed on five LEP areas in particular which previously have had a history of textiles manufacturing, and where there were no growth opportunities. These include West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Nottingham and Derbyshire.
Nationally, the Textiles Growth Programme research shows:
Through renewed confidence, the industry now has the potential to add 10,000 new jobs and £500m 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 the UK textiles industry.
A total Regional Growth Fund of £27m, awarded to the programme in 2012 has leveraged a further £123m nationally from the private sector through the support of 340 British manufacturers. The UK has now got a textiles workforce of 127,000 people (ONS Labour Force Survey) across all skill levels from packing and warehouse staff through to board directors.
Bill Macbeth, OBE, managing director of the Textile Centre of Excellence in Huddersfield, which has more than 100 textiles manufacturing businesses in its membership said: “The Textiles Growth Programme has illustrated the willingness and capacity of companies of companies to invest in the sector.
“It’s also been instrumental in increasing the Government’s awareness of the strength of the sector and its potential for growth. We now need to move forward as a united sector led by the UKFT, working with its federated members to develop our plans for skills development, export and innovation. This is particularly important as we prepare for Brexit negotiations.”
Lorna Fitzsimons, founder and director of the Textiles Growth Programme, 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.”
Sir Vince Cable, former secretary of State for Business, innovation and Skills who commissioned the work, concluded: "The textile industry was widely thought to be extinct in the UK, but some outstanding entrepreneurs, using new technology plus modest government help under coalition industrial strategy, have turned things around. Reshoring is real and growing."