A union leader has called for the British government to buy local textiles in a bid to help the country's shrinking industry.

Peter Booth, national organiser of manufacturing for the Transport and General Workers' Union, said the government should use its public procurement program in order to prop up the sector.

Booth made the comments at a Yorkshire seminar on the future of the textile industry.

"The government should continue its support for the UK textiles industry and make far better use of its own public procurement to ensure that the billions of taxpayers' money spent on textiles goods benefits UK- and ethically-manufactured production," he said.

"The textiles industry still employs a quarter of a million people, with a strong prevalence in the traditional textile regions.

"Exports in internationally competitive areas are more than £6.5 billion."