Yorkshire is still at the heart of the UK’s textile manufacturing industry according to a new report commissioned by Lord David Alliance on the Repatriation of UK Textiles Manufacture.
The report confirms that the UK textile industry is set to enjoy a revival as companies from across the globe choose to source their fabrics from the UK. As many as 20,000 jobs could be created in the UK textile industry over the next five years, with a large proportion of these jobs being created here in West Yorkshire.
Lord Alliance’s report has identified West Yorkshire as the most condensed are of textile manufacture and weaving in the UK. However, the report also pinpoints a need for rapid investment into the UK’s textile manufacturing industry if it is to capitalise on both the current and future demands upon the industry.
A skills shortage has also been highlighted as one of the most significant challenges facing the industry. This is something which will need to be overcome if UK textile manufacturing is to meet the increased demands that on-shoring will bring. In addition, the report states that if the UK’s revived textile industry is to avoid stagnation, the issue of lack of innovation and the weak relationship between textile companies and universities will need to be addressed.
The report is the largest and most comprehensive study to be carried out over the last twenty years into supply and demand in the UK’s textile manufacturing industry. The UK textile industry is now worth £9 billion to the economy and is enjoying yearly growth in both domestic and export sales. In addition, government data shows that during 2014 alone, 5,000 new jobs were created in the UK industry. This post-recession growth is being generated by so-called ‘micro-companies’ and the report’s authors predict that an additional 15,000 jobs could be created in UK textile manufacturing by 2020.
This growth in UK textile manufacturing is likely to be down to a number of factors: a demand for homeware ‘made in the UK,’ alongside changing trends in consumer behaviour which demand turnaround times. Thanks to the skills and capabilities which still exist right here in Yorkshire, our home-grown textile industry can offer knitting, weaving and yarn-spinning, alongside the manufacture of technical fabrics and composites.