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Leicestershire textile firms seek govt funds to relocate production back to UK

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-02-14 16:00:00 – UK

Leicestershire county officials have teamed up with counterparts in Manchester making all efforts to obtain Government cash worth up to £19 million to help rejuvenate the industry by acquiring new hi-tech machinery, which would allow textile manufacturers to relocate production from China, the Indian subcontinent and North Africa.

Textile firms are looking to tap into a multi-million pound funding scheme to bring more knitwear production back to Leicestershire, a the county's textile industry suffered thousands of job cuts in the mid to late 1990s and early 2000s as scores of manufacturers switched production to lower-cost overseas locations.

Now, a combination of increasing living standards in developing countries, transport costs and a call for more British-made products from consumers has made UK production attractive again.

Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) is looking to secure further cash to help textile firms after using up a £21 million allocation from RGF, helping almost 200 firms create 1,800 jobs.

The public-private sector organisation has partnered up with Greater Manchester's local enterprise partnership, which is bidding for up to £19 million from the Government to help the textile sector nationally. If they are successful, county officials would then look to access finance from this scheme on behalf of knitwear companies.

Sue Tilley, the LLEP's economic strategy manager, said that this collaboration between Leicester and Manchester is all about a made in the UK brand. There’s such an appetite for growth in the textile sector and the only way they are going to do this is by investing in machinery.

Manchester's textile industry is known for its woven goods, while in Leicester it's about knitted. Leicester has a reputation for fast fashion. They also need it to have a reputation for quality.

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