The UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT) has launched its manifesto, calling on the government to support the fashion and textile industry.
The association said the industry, which contributes over GBP37m (US$59.8m) to the UK economy is seeking a commitment from Ministers to engage with UKFT on a regular basis on behalf of the fashion and textile industry, and to ensure the industry as a whole remains high on the political agenda.
“The fashion and textile industry is still growing 20% year on year and this is a truly remarkable achievement. It is an industry that young people particularly are inspired to be in and is one that we can be truly proud of,” said chairman of the All Party Group for Fashion and Textiles Damian Collins.
“Our job should be to look at what barriers and limits there are to growth and see what we can be doing to help.”
The association is seeking a level economic and business playing field with Europe and internationally, and is calling for a commitment to make it simpler for UK companies to bid for UK contracts, a commitment to stop the “steady creep” of government activity which impacts on the trade association sector’s ability to support their industry, and a commitment to reinforce the Climate Change Levy scheme and for it to continue to be administered by industry associations. It is looking for the simplification of policies within different devolved regions and administrations, which can cause confusion overseas and raise resentment between the regions.
UKFT said it wants government support to help it deliver training, including a campaign to ensure that fashion and textile graduates have a basic understanding of running a business; a program of industry mentors to support start-up designer companies; a scheme to ensure accurate information outlining the range of opportunities in the sector be made available to schools and that teachers and lecturers become familiar with the sector.
It is also looking to increase the role of export, seeking a closer working relationship with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), particularly around preparing companies for export and the allocation of budgets. It is calling for a program of supported trade missions for established exporters to the BRIC markets, increased funding for the Tradeshow Access Program (TAP), and greater flexibility to channel the existing budgets to the best investment potential for the taxpayer. It is also calling for trade associations to be reconnected directly with Commercial Officers in overseas Embassies and a “swift conclusion to FTA negotiations with key markets including Japan and the USA”.