The UK fashion and textile industry contributes £62bn to the UK economy
The UK fashion and textile industry directly supported a £62 billion contribution to UK GDP, 1.3 million jobs across the country and raised more than £23 billion in tax revenues, according to a new landmark report commissioned by UKFT.
This equated to £1 in every £34 of the UK’s total gross value added contribution, one in every 25 jobs in the UK and £1 in every £30 of HMRC’s total tax receipts in 2021.
‘The Fashion and Textile Industry’s Footprint in the UK’ by Oxford Economics, marks the first comprehensive assessment of the sector on the UK, examining its economic impact, social contribution and environmental sustainability.
The UK fashion and textile industry is one of the largest sectors in the country and its influence extends around the world. A new fashion or textile product – which could range from a pair of jeans, Savile Row suit or designer dress through to a medical mask, upholstered car seat or next-generation fabric used in space – involves hundreds of people co-operating with each other to bring an idea to life and into the hands of the final consumer.
The activities of the people involved can be broadly categorised into two main areas: “creating and making” and “distribution, retail and aftercare”. The report found that approximately 260,000 jobs are supported through design, development and manufacturing (“creating and making”), while one million jobs are supported through distribution, retail and aftercare.
The report also underlines the industry’s social impact, benefitting diverse demographics by supporting:
- 197,000 jobs for people aged under 25,
- 52,000 jobs for those aged 65 and older
- 540,000 jobs for women
The industry’s extensive footprint reaches all nations and regions of the UK, supporting:
- 210,000 jobs in London
- 140,000 jobs in the North West
- 120,000 jobs in Yorkshire and the Humber
- 110,000 jobs in the South West
- 100,000 jobs in Scotland
- 56,000 jobs in Wales
- 40,000 in Northern Ireland
The report confirms that the UK fashion and textile industry has the potential to play a pivotal role in the nation’s next phase of economic growth. The sector could support an additional £15 billion in GVA, generate 100,000 more jobs and contribute £5 billion in tax receipts if it returns to its 2019 size.
However challenges remain including international trade barriers, skills shortages, training investment gaps and sustainability hurdles. If these obstacles are addressed, the industry has the potential to expand its socioeconomic footprint, aligning with broader objectives like “Levelling Up”.
Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, said: “This report highlights for the first time the vital contribution that the fashion and textile industry makes to the UK economy and society as a whole, and its potential for future growth and positive impact. With the right support, the industry stands poised to lead the way for post-covid recovery, emphasising its resilience and adaptability.”
About the study
The report was researched and written by Oxford Economics commissioned by UKFT and funded by a range of cross-sector organisations including The Clothworkers’ Company, The Weavers’ Company, Innovate UK, the University of Huddersfield, the Greater London Authority and The Cotton Textiles Research Trust. It follows the findings of industry-wide consultation.
It studied the direct impact of economic activity at the sites of fashion and textile businesses, as well as the indirect impact (sustained via the supply chain such as logistics, accountancy and legal services) plus the induced impact (consumer spending from those employed by the UK fashion and textile sector).
The report defined the UK fashion and textile industry into two broad categories:
- Creating and making comprising fashion and textile education; product development and design; growing of fibre crops; manufacturing of textile machinery; manufacturing of fibres, textiles and leather; manufacturing of fashion and textile products
- Distribution, retail and aftercare comprising wholesale of fashion and textile products; retail of fashion and textile products; renting, repair and washing of fashion and textile products
Access the full report