Onshoring or reshoring could give UK manufacturing a boost by relocating production of some goods from current low-cost locations overseas, according to a new report.

The phenomenon, which is gaining currency in the US thanks in part to a large-scale plan by retailer Walmart to relocate large amounts of manufacturing back to the US, is pinpointed as one of the major manufacturing trends of the future.

The claims come in a report compiled by the London-based Government Office for Science, entitled 'The future of manufacturing: A new era of opportunity and challenge for the UK'.

The report explains that onshoring typically happens “in response to changing labour costs, higher transport costs, a need to be closer to the market, product quality concerns and advantages of co-locating R&D and production”.

But it says there is little robust evidence about the scale of the trend so far, although “some underlying trends” suggest it will become increasingly possible for the UK to compete with lower-cost locations in future.

Among the early examples of “onshoring” is the case of Laxtons Ltd, the spinning company which has returned production to Yorkshire, reducing the carbon footprint and lead times of the business, as well as increasing control over quality and raw materials.

The report also cites Marks & Spencer’s Best of British men’s wear and women’s wear collections, launched in October this year.

The range, it says, was part of a three-year deal with the British Fashion Council (BFC) to support domestic designers and craftspeople, as well as increasing the company’s sourcing from the UK.