The Alliance Project

The Alliance Project, based at New Economy, was established to examine the potential for repatriating textiles manufacturing to the UK. The work was commissioned by Lord David Alliance and the GMCA with the support of Government through BIS. Work undertaken to date has identified the following pillars of activity to focus on:

Skills

One of the largest challenges for the textile industry to take advantage of the increased demand on-shoring will deliver is to address the skills shortage in the industry, and ensure a robust and stable talent pool is available to businesses. The Alliance Project will work with local partners and training providers to address employer’s skills shortages which are currently holding the sector back.

Investment

The focus of activity will be to quickly grow the capacity of the UK’s textile manufacturing base to ensure the sector is in the best position to capitalise on the current and evidenced future demand. The Alliance Project will work with the NBrown Group Regional Growth Fund (Round 4) to support investment in textiles firms across Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Innovation

To ensure the revitalised industry does not stagnate, it is critical to address the problem of lack of innovation in a micro supply chain. To secure early advantage the Alliance Project team will work with industry and government and agencies, both national and local, to establish the case for investment in innovation, including growing relationships between universities and firms.

Reconnecting supply and demand

Critical to the success of the sector is the development of trade links throughout the textiles vertical supply chain. In particular, helping to strengthen relationships and creating new links between manufacturers and retailers. The Alliance Project is already building on its research through work on a UK asset register of manufacturing capacity and capability.

Alliance Report

The Alliance Report: ‘Repatriation of UK Textiles Manufacture’, is the biggest study in twenty-years on supply and demand in UK textile manufacturing. The report was published by The Alliance Project, a not-for-profit organisation established to examine the potential for repatriating textiles manufacturing to the UK. According to the report, the UK textile industry is worth £9 billion to the economy and is experiencing year-on-year export and domestic growth. Government figures show that last year alone 5,000 new jobs were created in textile manufacturing in the UK.

The Alliance Report highlights:

• Post-recession growth is coming from ‘micro-companies’ rather than OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) or prime manufactures.

• A further 15,000 jobs in UK textile manufacturing could be created by 2020, making a total of 20’000 since 2013.

• The value of UK textiles is worth just under £9bn to the economy and is growing.

• Significant capabilities still exist in traditional sectors such as yarn-spinning, knitting and weaving alongside growth in technical textiles, materials and composites.

• Rationale for sourcing from low cost countries has weakened due consumer behaviour demanding shorter lead times (fast fashion) plus a demand for UK made homeware.

• Increasing costs from competing countries making UK sourcing more attractive.

• Traditional areas of manufacturing are focussed around high unemployment pockets.

The report is here (PDF, 7110kb).

For more information, please email Alison Wimpenny or call 0161 237 4252.