An event hosted by the PM on 8 June, together with the British Fashion Council (BFC), unveiled the 10-year Fashion Industry Sustainable Change Programme, which Johnson said would “bring opportunities across the UK to meet the government’s Climate Action Plan of environmental and societal change.”

UKFT has been working closely with the British Fashion Council (BFC), Innovate UK and other stakeholders to attract wide-ranging government support for a new 10-year Fashion Industry Sustainable Change Programme, focused on creating a world-leading circular fashion and textiles eco-system in the UK.

Shortly after the event, The Guardian reported that Johnson had pledged GBP80m (US£97.5m) of government money for the scheme, saying that “the cheque is on its way.” 

The Fashion Industry Sustainable Change Programme aims to deliver investment in skills, innovation clusters and regional regeneration, alongside the creation of an industry-led Centre of Excellence. It will focus on supporting the industry to embrace new circular business models and help to create the world-leading recycling and sorting infrastructure that will truly bring about systemic change and opportunities for UK manufacturing. 

The UK Fashion and Textiles Association (UKFT) has been working closely with the British Fashion Council (BFC), Innovate UK and other stakeholders to attract wide-ranging government support for the Programme. Also closely involved are: UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the British Retail Consortium and Wrap (Textiles 2030).  

UKFT is also on the steering committee of the Institute of Positive Fashion, which is expected to lead the new Centre of Excellence.  

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Nigel Lugg OBE, chair of UKFT, says that this is a pivotal time for UK fashion and textiles. “In order to survive and grow, it is essential that the sector strengthens its sustainable competitiveness. It will mean a fundamental change and one that needs to be delivered at pace and will call for new skills and new jobs. 

“We are delighted that the UK government is recognising the importance of our sector and the opportunities that exist. We look forward to working with the industry to drive a change with far-reaching benefits for the whole UK fashion and textile supply chain.” 

Letter for Johnson

The announcement follows a letter sent to the PM from The Garment and Textile Workers Trust (G&TWT) at the end of last month, urging him to take action by creating the promised Single Labour Market Enforcement Body.

The letter from Kevin McKeever, chair of the Trust, came as the Trust published the findings of research undertaken by the Rights Lab at Nottingham University and The School of Law at De Montfort University Leicester. The report was commissioned by the G&TWT and funded by Boohoo Group as part of efforts to clean up its supply chain practices.

McKeever said: “This research is an important addition to the body of knowledge on labour exploitation in the garment and textile industry and significant in listening to the voices of workers themselves, alongside local government and civil society. It’s crystal clear that there’s only so much companies, individuals, trade unions and civil society can do to tackle labour exploitation in Leicester and beyond – it’s time for the government to step up and form – and fund – their long-promised single enforcement body.”