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UKFT’s key asks of the new government


The UK fashion and textile industry directly supports a £62 billion contribution to UK GDP, 1.3 million jobs across the country and raises more than £23 billion in tax revenue, according to a recent report from UKFT and Oxford Economics. We believe this could grow much further if these key issues were addressed…

International Business

There must be a commitment from the new government to make sure that Brexit works for UK businesses and manufacturers and that UK companies receive the financial support that they need to reach new markets.

There are significant growth opportunities for the industry in new markets and at new events.

  • RESTORE EXPORT SUPPORT: The sector requires significant investment in export grants for companies in the fashion and textile sector. Currently there is no grant support, although previously for every £1 government spent on support for fashion and textile exports there was a return of £30.
  • MAKE BREXIT WORK: Immediately prepare for the 2026 review of the UK-EU FTA to reduce the significant administrative and financial burdens that the current post Brexit arrangements have imposed on the industry.
  • JOIN PEM CONVENTION: The UK should join the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean (PEM) Convention on preferential rules of origin giving the UK access to the same advantages as many of its closest competitors.

UKFT research estimates that unleashing the potential of UK fashion and textile exports would increase the total economic impact of the fashion and textile sector by 12%.

Skills & Education

Individuals with highly specialist and technical skills are one of the most valuable assets in the industry. A new government should help UK businesses to hire and train more skilled workers by revolutionising the education system.

  • UNLOCK FUNDING FOR SPECIALIST TRAINING: Overhaul the funding for apprenticeships to allow specialist training to flourish. Release Apprenticeship Levy Funds to support other industry approved training.
  • SUPPORT SME TRAINING: Incentivise SMEs to invest in training and provide a training infrastructure that meets the needs of SMEs.
  • TEACH MAKING SKILLS AT SCHOOL: Address the lack of emphasis on teaching and honing ‘making’ skills within the National Curriculum. This has a stifling effect on the knowledge and talent in the fashion and textile industry.

UKFT calculates that the removal of skills barriers could see the industry support another 98,000 jobs.

Sustainability & Innovation

The new government should introduce legislation to drive investment that helps the sector transition to a more circular economy.

  • DEVELOP INDUSTRY-LED EPR SCHEME: Introduce an intelligent EPR scheme for fashion and textiles, which incentivises the good and penalises the bad. The fees generated should be used to further develop the circular economy.
  • ESTABLISH INDUSTRY-LED NATIONAL TEXTILE RECYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE: Work with the industry to create a national textile recycling infrastructure to tackle the growing issue of textile waste and create new feedstock for UK manufacturers.
  • REINTRODUCE EFFECTIVE R&D TAX CREDITS: Relaunch a robust R&D tax credit system to accelerate innovation and enhance productivity.

Research commissioned by UKFT shows that the removal of the barriers to investing in R&D could increase the fashion and textile sector’s total economic contribution by 5.4%.

UK Manufacturing

The government must act to secure resilient UK supply chains to support the country’s needs in healthcare, civil protection and defence with a level playing field for UK manufacturers to protect UK jobs and skills.

  • BOOST UK MANUFACTURING WITH PUBLIC PROCUREMENT: Change the rules around procurement so that public bodies such as the military, emergency services and the NHS have to spend some of their budgets buying product made in the UK.
  • ESTABLISH CAPEX GRANTS FOR UK MANUFACTURING: Support the UK fashion and textile manufacturing sector to meet this demand through grant funding for new capital expenditure.
  • REINSTATE UK VAT REFUND SCHEME: Introduce a new UK VAT refund scheme to attract foreign tourists to shop in the UK, rather than in Paris, Milan or Berlin, to support UK retailers who in turn would support the UK manufacturing sector across the four nations of the UK.

UKFT estimates that the removal of barriers to public sector procurement of textiles could see GDP could grow by £3.1 billion, the sector could support 64,000 more jobs, and could stimulate £1.2 billion more in tax revenues for the Exchequer.

Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, said: “We believe that the government can significantly boost the industry by taking immediate actions: restoring export support for companies and reinstating a UK VAT-refund scheme. In the longer term, the industry needs support for a transition to a more circular system through an EPR scheme for fashion and textiles, as well as developing a national textile recycling infrastructure. To attract new talent, Labour should fulfil its manifesto promise to reform apprenticeship funding and revamp the education system. Additionally, changing public procurement rules to require public bodies to purchase UK-made products would be a real benefit to UK manufacturers, which would have positive impact throughout the sector. Supporting the UK fashion and textile industry will create jobs, increase sales, grow GDP and enhance tax revenues.”


The UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) is committed to delivering sustainable growth for the entire UK fashion and textile supply chain. We bring together brands, designers, manufacturers, suppliers, educators and retailers to promote their businesses and our industry, both in the UK and throughout the world.

Our members produce fashion and accessories for every segment of the retail market, as well as for airlines, banks and the armed forces. UKFT’s textile members produce yarns and fabric used in an astonishing array of end markets – from designer trainers to the transport system and from industrial filters to tennis balls.

Our members range in size from small and local producers up to global super brands, but what they have in common is a belief in quality, craftsmanship and a commitment to creative talent. Interested in joining us? Find out more here.