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Securing the best conditions for the UK fashion & textile industry

07/02/2024

UKFT continues to represent the voice of the UK fashion and textile industry to government (both nationally and regionally), the civil service, policymakers and other stakeholders on a broad range of topics to create the right conditions for successful and sustainable trade. This covers everything from skills to export and import regulations, the impact of the national minimum wage, trading with Europe, innovation and sustainability, challenges for UK manufacturers and more.

These conversations are regular and ongoing, and focus on UKFT’s key areas of activity:

  • Skills and training
  • Innovation and sustainability
  • UK manufacturing
  • International business (both export and import)

Some of the recent highlights include:

  • Hosted a visit by HM Trade Commissioner for Europe Chris Barton at Milano Unica where we introduced him to a variety of UK textile firms and discussed the ongoing difficulties of trading with Europe
  • Hosted a visit of the UK Consul General in Milan Catriona Graham at Pitti Uomo to highlight the UK menswear brands exporting to Italy and all around the world
  • Joined the UK Garments Industry Working Group on the Developing Countries Trading Scheme, which will review the long-term future of the scheme that replaced the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) and allows businesses to reduce the import costs of products from countries including Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
  • Chaired the inaugural skills meeting of the consumer goods trade association network
  • Met with the The Federation for Industry Skills & Standards to discuss the future of the skills and training landscape
  • Met with the Shadow Minister for Skills and Further Education, Seema Malhotra, on priorities for the sector and support required to address skills gaps
  • Met the leader of Glasgow City Council to talk about manufacturing and skills opportunities
  • Discussed with Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) about the marked differences between vocational funding between England and Scotland
  • Continue to provide detailed advice to government on trading agreements with countries such as Canada and Gulf Corporation Council
  • Met with the Secretary of State for Business and Trade and Lord Offord Minister for Exports at the Department for Business and Trade, including suggestions where the industry believes the UK-EU trade agreement should be improved to work for UK businesses.
  • Worked with other organisations continue to press the government to create a new UK VAT Refundscheme for international visitors to encourage tourists to spend their money in UK stores rather than other European cities
  • Joined roundtable events chaired by Fashion Roundtable and co-organised by the Labour Party (hosted by Chris Bryant MP, Shadow Minister for the Creative Industries and Digital) and the Liberal Democrats (hosted by Baroness Bonham-Carter) to discuss the importance of UK manufacturing, supporting new British designers and brands to grow and export, and the importance of the sector as a major UK employer.

In the run up to the next parliamentary elections, UKFT will engage with the government both directly and across government departments (including the Department for Business and Trade, Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs, Department for Education and more) and other parties who may potentially be called upon to make up the next Government to make sure that the voice of the industry is heard and that the UK’s framework is improved to create a better working environment for the UK fashion and textile industry over the next parliamentary term and beyond.

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UKFT’s Representation & Government Relations