As his organisation celebrates the 50th anniversary of its foundation, the British Wool Marketing Board's acting chairman has allowed himself cautious optimism about the future for UK sourced wool. Despite the "difficult" conditions the Board has encountered, Frank Lagrish told just-style.com: "I think we can now look forward with confidence."

Over recent months the activities of the board have been subject to a stringent cost cutting programme. Savings of up to £l80,000 have been achieved by moving to more economic premises with headquarters and depot in Bradford, the city that has traditionally been the centre for the UK wool trade.

A further £50,000 has been released by reorganisation in Wales. And Mr Langrish now talks of the next phase of the board's strategy - streamlining its centres in the north of England.

"For the future we will be concentrating resources on our core task of collecting and handling the clip of UK growers. The board's new policy will be to ensure the full sale of each year's clip within l2 months of its production, and with a high proportion changing hands in the period from shearing to Christmas," he said.

By Sonia Roberts