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Cotton Spinning Returning to Tameside
Wednesday 2nd December 2015 @ 13:47 by Tom Greggan
Dukinfield News

A North West-based textiles company is investing £5.8m to bring cotton spinning back to its spiritual home in Greater Manchester.

More than 100 new jobs will be created by the project, which will regenerate a former Victorian cotton mill and use cutting-edge technology to produce luxury yarn for domestic and global markets.

English Fine Cottons is investing £4.8m of its own money in the project, £2m of which is a loan from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) through its investment fund. A further £1m has been awarded as a grant by the N Brown RGF6 Textile Growth Programme (TGP).

The TGP grant announced today, 02 December 2015, is the largest ever single award from the programme. It means the new venture’s launch and growth plan for the next three years are fully funded. The company has already placed orders for key equipment and begun recruiting staff with a view to re-starting cotton spinning in the UK mid-2016.

English Fine Cottons will base its new production facility in the refurbished Tower Mill in Dukinfield. The facility will be the UK’s only cotton-spinning company – reviving this iconic trade more than 30 years after the last cotton mills closed in the 1980s.

The new mill will spin some of the most luxurious yarn in the world, using the finest raw materials from Barbados, India, the USA and Egypt. The yarn will be used in collections for the high-end fashion market.

Andy Ogden, general manager of English Fine Cotton’s parent company Culimeta-Saveguard Ltd, said: “We are extremely proud to have won this major government grant today to help us make real our dream of bringing cotton spinning back to where it belongs – the North West of England.

“There is a strong demand across the world for luxury goods with the ‘Made in Britain’ stamp, and English Fine Cottons has the pedigree for the job. Our roots are in technical textile manufacturing and we are in the perfect location – able to draw on a local workforce with the necessary skills and expertise.”

Cllr Kieran Quinn is executive leader of Tameside Council and responsible for investment strategy and finance within the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA). He said: “The return of cotton spinning to Tameside is a matter of huge historical significance.

“For more than 100 years cotton was the key industry in the various towns making up the borough and indeed the North West of England. The Park Road area of Dukinfield, where Tower Mill is situated, is a corridor of former cotton mills and testament to the hold spinning once had on the region.

“While I applaud the work done at national and regional level to bring English Fine Cottons to Tameside, I would also like to praise the efforts of Tameside Council and Culimeta-Saveguard, both of which have invested a vast amount of time and resources.

“I believe this project shows how enterprising the people of Tameside are, and how effective a little northern grit and common sense can be in achieving successful solutions.”

The return of cotton spinning to Britain is part of a wider re-shoring trend in textile manufacturing, driven by a booming UK fashion industry. The TGP, which provides funding to textile manufacturing companies across England (excluding London), was set up to help UK companies take advantage of this opportunity.

Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “Greater Manchester has a long tradition of cotton spinning so I’m delighted that this project, backed by government money, is using cutting-edge technology to bring the textile industry into the 21st century and creating jobs. There is a global demand for premium fashion made in the UK and this new mill is all part of a textile revival boosting our manufacturing capabilities.”

The investment is the realisation of the opportunities highlighted by the Alliance Report, which earlier this year predicted the creation of up to 20,000 jobs by the UK textile sector by 2020 – worth £9bn to the UK economy.