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Friends in high places can give industry a lift

Peter Lucas

Ed Vaizey, the enthusiastic ‘Minister for Fashion’, had plenty of good things to say about the industry in general and the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) in particular during his Q&A session at the recent Drapers Fashion Summit.

Ed Vaizey, the enthusiastic ‘Minister for Fashion’, had plenty of good things to say about the industry in general and the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) in particular during his Q&A session at the recent Drapers Fashion Summit.

Interviewed by UKFT chief executive Eric Musgrave, Vaizey strongly made the point that he did not think the fashion sector made great demands on government. He pointed out that we do not get, for example, the tax incentives the British film industry has enjoyed in recent years.

He declared himself impressed at the can-do attitude of our sector, which he clearly understands very well.

Ed is particularly impressed with our export achievement. It is UKFT’s desire that more politicians at Westminster have such an understanding of our business, so it was with some satisfaction that last week we saw the formation of an all-party group for fashion and textiles.

The association has worked for several months to make this happen and we expect the backbenchers and peers who have expressed their support will become a vital conduit for the industry to have its views heard.

All-party groups, as the name suggests, cross political lines. We have been fortunate to have a Conservative high-flyer, Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe in Kent, agree to chair the group and he is working with UKFT’s lobbying company to bring in interested colleagues from all sides of parliament.

The coming year will be challenging for the country, for consumers, for retailers and for suppliers, so we believe it is more important than ever that effective lines of communication exist between the fashion sector and Westminster. Let’s make the most of our links; we have some useful champions working on our behalf.

Peter Lucas is chairman of the UK Fashion & Textile Association

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