consultation re closed UK shoe factories

The request was successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I read on the British Fashion council web site that
"UK Trade and Investment has supported London Fashion Week since 2002 ... funding ... expertise to help bring key international retailers & press ... providing funding for market reports and the BFC designer showroom during Paris fashion week." "a series of events and initiatives [was]unveiled at No.10 Downing Street during London Fashion Week September 2008 ... the BFC Fashion Fund, the Fashion Industry Report ..."

I am concerned because BFC's industry links are now to importers of goods into the UK, while I understood that UK trade & investment hopes to promote jobs within the UK. So my questions are about the department's knowledge of the British Fashion Council, including its knowledge of letters from MPs to British Fashion Council. I assume that as a major funder, the department has access to this
information.

This are my questions:

What consultations has UK Trade and Investment had with

-Equity Shoes, Leicester

-Sanders & Sanders, Rushden

over an easily researched period - say five years?

What consultations has the British Fashion Council had with the same shoe factories over the same period?

What letters has UK Trade and Investement had from the MPs for Leicester or Rushden on the subject of UK shoe manufacturers?

What letters has the British Fashion Council received from the same MPs on the same subject?

Roughly how much has UK Trade and Investment paid British Fashion Council over the past ten years?

Defining terms:

My idea of an "easily researched period" is the amount of time letters are kept on cheaply-available files or email is archived.

By "consultation", I mean letters or phone calls from BFC to ask how these now-closed footwear factories could have fitted the criteria for promotion and subsidy, for example by suggesting fashionable designer-customers of theirs for show at London Fashion Week, or offering public relations support to prevent British shoe manufacturers being under-reported while London Fashion Week gets "an estimated £40m of press coverage"

By MP for Leicester I mean Patricia Hewett, MP for Leicester West since 1997, who has also been minister of trade for a time.

By MP for Rushden I mean Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough since May 2005, and Paul Stinchcombe, barrister and speech-writer, who was MP there from 1997-2005.

Yours faithfully,

John Robertson

FOI Requests, UK Trade and Investment

Dear Mr Robertson,

Thank you for your request for information which we have received in the
Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Your request has been
passed on to the appropriate official to deal with.

Best wishes,
Information Rights Unit
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills |
[1][email address] | Bay 210, 66-74 Victoria Street, London,
SW1E 6SW | [2]www.bis.gov.uk

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is building a
dynamic and competitive UK economy by creating the conditions for business
success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone
the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this we will foster
world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS -
Investing in our future

show quoted sections

Dear FOI Requests,

I'm overdue a response: please let me know if I can clarify the questions repeated below. If the delay is more than a week I'll request an internal review.

What consultations has UK Trade and Investment had with

-Equity Shoes, Leicester

-Sanders & Sanders, Rushden

over an easily researched period - say five years?

What consultations has the British Fashion Council had with the same shoe factories over the same period?

What letters has UK Trade and Investement had from the MPs for Leicester or Rushden on the subject of UK shoe manufacturers?

What letters has the British Fashion Council received from the same MPs on the same subject?

Roughly how much has UK Trade and Investment paid British Fashion Council over the past ten years?

Yours sincerely,

John Robertson

John Robertson left an annotation ()

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/in...
Similar question to London Development Agency about the Ethical Fashion Forum

John Robertson left an annotation ()

Dear Caroline Llewellyn,

Confirming today's phone call:

-there is nobody available to respond to this request

-someone will be found by Monday 30th of November

I should add that the legal deadline was 17th of November, and that the reason for the request is to make the process of government subsidy for parts of the fashion industry more open. Even during the period while answer was delayed, a wallet factory in Manchester has closed with a loss of jobs, and during the same period large amounts of subsidy have been spent, possibly on rival wallet factories that are not in the UK.

Yours sincerely,
John Robertson

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of UK Trade and Investment's handling of my FOI request 'consultation re closed UK shoe factories'.

History of my FOI request and correspondence:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/co...
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/co...

I think the request is important because the answer applies to currently open factories and UK Trade and Investment's effects on their viability, possibly for the worse.
regards
John Robertson

John Robertson left an annotation ()

OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT LINE FROM THE UKTI WEB SITE:
Clothing, Footwear & Fashion - Introduction

Over the last 10 years the UK fashion industry has met the challenge to evolve from a domestic manufacturing based industry into a design-led industry operating in a global marketplace. However, high end products continue to be made in the UK and 'Made in Britain' is still a strong sales point.

The UK also has a strong design talent, led by our excellent art colleges, which are famous throughout the world. Many UK design students go on to work in global fashion houses and retail chains which promotes both the UK fashion industry and the UK’s worldwide reputation abroad.

ALTERNATIVE LINE:
In extreme, this is to subsidise a company with multinational shareholders and staff that exports a jpeg of a trade mark to the far east.

Such a company does not provide jobs-which-lead-to-other-jobs, nor jobs for a wide range of taxpayers as a UK-based manufacturing operation does. For example Burberry is a favourite of London Fashion Week, but it is having a bad year telling Drapers Record that it hopes for more profit from "accessories". At the same time corporate gift manufacturer JJ Blackledge, was sold by receivers to a rival that does not want to continue production on the Manchester site. Clearly they didn't have any offers from Burberry that might have employed people in Manchester, and clearly none of the "estimated £40m of publicity" associated with London Fashion Week, which is subsidised by taxpayers like those employees in Manchester, came their way.

John Robertson left an annotation ()

Related:

British Fashion Council's "estethica" criteria published last week:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Applicants should adhere to one or more sustainable fashion principles such as fairtrade/ethical trading, recycling, manmade/bio fabrics.

Applicants can be based anywhere in the world.

Applicants should have a business and would normally be expected to have a minimum of two stockists.

The collection should consist of womenswear or accessories.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The criteria look looser than last year but still do not address the 30 year over valuation of sterling, the higher ethics-related costs of making things in a democratic welfare state, and under valuation of the currency in China. This is a problem recognised in the banking trade but not by fashionistas: weekly articles on http://faircurrency.org/blog/ show some banker or other talking about the subject.

In such a situation, anything made in the UK ought to be encouraged as the chances of equipping a factory to make something recycled or using a different fabric are low.

The criteria do not show a measurable link to helping UK or London taxpayers who need work, nor people in the same labour market, nor sustaining the manufacturing base in the UK. Except a negative link: promote Chinese fashion as "Ethical" and deny publicity and contacts to UK firms.

FOI Requests, UK Trade and Investment

BIS ref: IR/09/1531

Dear Mr Robertson,

Thank you for your request for an internal review which we have received
in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. We apologise for
the delay in acknowledging receipt of your email. Your request has been
passed on to the appropriate official at UK Trade and Industry to deal
with.

Best wishes,
Kay

Kay Wilson | Freedom of Information Advisor | Information Rights Unit |
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills | Bay 351, 66-74 Victoria
Street, London, SW1E 6SW | www.bis.gov.uk
The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is building a
dynamic and competitive UK economy by creating the conditions for
business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and
giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this
we will foster world-class universities and promote an open global
economy. BIS - Investing in our future

show quoted sections

Hullo,

When you read this on Monday it will be 40 days since the department's offer of internal review.

The next stage is for me to complain to the information commmissioner's office, which I will do at the end of the week unless your department completes an internal review.

regards

John Robertson

FOI Requests, UK Trade and Investment

Ref No: Freedom of Information request 09/1531 - consultation re: closed
UK shoe factories

27 January 2010

Dear Mr Robertson

Thank you for your e-mail in which you requested the following information
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

1. What consultation has UK Trade and Investment had with Equity Shoes,
Leicester
and Sanders & Sanders, Rushden over an easily researched period - say
five years?
2. What letters has UK Trade and Investment had from the MPs for
Leicester or Rushden on the subject of UK shoe manufacturers?
3. What consultations has the British Fashion Council had with the same
shoe factories over the same period?
4. What letters has the British Fashion Council received from the same
MPs on the same subject?
5. Roughly how much has UK Trade and Investment paid British Fashion
Council over the past ten years

In response to points 1 and 2:
Our records show that since December 2005 UK Trade & Investment provided
information and assistance about specific overseas markets on at least 15
occasions to Equity Shoes and 13 occasions to Sanders & Sanders.

We have completed a search of our electronic information management
systems and we do not have any record of UK Trade & Investment having
received letters from the MPs for Leicester or Rushden on the subject of
UK shoe manufacturers.

To points 3 and 4:
UK Trade & Investment does not have access to BFC information. You will
need to approach BFC directly on these questions.

To point 5:
Information before September 2005 is not held electronically. Therefore,
in terms of UK Trade & Investment funding to BFC; since September 2005, UK
Trade & Investment have paid British Fashion Council £215,555.

This funding is for the international buyers programme for London Fashion
week. The aim of the programme is to bring the most significant and
influential buyers and press to London Fashion week each season.

If you are unhappy with the result of your request for information, you
may request an internal review within two calendar months of the date of
this letter. If you wish to request an internal review, please contact
[1][email address]

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely

Caroline Llewellyn
Information Rights Unit

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills |
[2][email address] | Bay 351, 66-74 Victoria Street, London,
SW1E 6SW | [3]www.bis.gov.uk

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is building a
dynamic and competitive UK economy by creating the conditions for business
success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone
the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this we will foster
world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS -
Investing in our future

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.bis.gov.uk/

John Robertson left an annotation ()

1. What consultation has UK Trade and Investment had with Equity Shoes, Leicester and Sanders & Sanders, Rushden over an easily researched period - say five years?

Our records show that since December 2005 UK Trade & Investment provided information and assistance about specific overseas markets on at least 15 occasions to Equity Shoes and 13 occasions to Sanders & Sanders.

2. What letters has UK Trade and Investment had from the MPs for Leicester or Rushden on the subject of UK shoe manufacturers?

We have completed a search of our electronic information management systems and we do not have any record of UK Trade & Investment having received letters from the MPs for Leicester or Rushden on the subject of UK shoe manufacturers.

3. What consultations has the British Fashion Council had with the same shoe factories over the same period?

UK Trade & Investment does not have access to BFC information. You will need to approach BFC directly on these questions.

4. What letters has the British Fashion Council received from the same MPs on the same subject?

UK Trade & Investment does not have access to BFC information. You will need to approach BFC directly on these questions.

5. Roughly how much has UK Trade and Investment paid British Fashion Council over the past ten years (with a note asking for easily available information of information held electronically]

Information before September 2005 is not held electronically. Therefore, in terms of UK Trade & Investment funding to BFC; since September 2005, UK Trade & Investment have paid British Fashion Council £215,555. This funding is for the international buyers programme for London Fashion week. The aim of the programme is to bring the most significant and influential buyers and press to London Fashion week each season.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A similar request to London Development Agency for British Fashion Council's report covers the international programme too:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/lo...

"The LFW International Guest Programme, supported jointly by LDA and UKTI, saw 60 key, targeted international press and buyers assisted in their visits to LFW, through flight subsidies and accommodation. These visitors are given welcome packs and are accompanied through their stay as they visit the exhibition, catwalk shows and showrooms. Feedback on media coverage generated and orders placed is collected after their visits."

So the public sector is paying journalists and then adding-up the value of their column inches as a sign of success.

""The Season London Shone" wrote US Vogue's Sarah Mower. "Who'd have thought that London would shine at its brightest during a crisis. London's Designers squared up to the fall with an exceptional out-flowing of creativity and polish ... that made Fall 2009 this city's most dazzling performance for years."

We don't know how much press coverage was dictated by the funders, but they liked it: "Press coverage for LFW was very positive, with many picking up in particular on London's ability to consistently put on professional shows for both established and emerging designers in spite of the burden of the current economic crisis."

Unfortunately the coverage didn't do as good a job promoting Sanders and Sanders or Equity Shoes as it did promoting employment at British Fashion Council. London Fashion Week exhibitors don't have to mention their manufacturers at all. It's known that Terra Plana, the shoe company that exhibits at London Fashion Week, uses Chinese shoe factories so it is in direct competition to Sanders and Equity: the more of the market they get, the less jobs remain in the UK.

"£120k more than budgeted for 2008/9 was spent on LFW support as funding was allocated to support the International Guest Programme to cover reduced funding from UKTI." Nevertheless UKTI still paid £33,000 over two quarters or £550 each for 60 journalists and buyers from round the world to be escorted via expensive airlines and hotels which happen also to be London Fashion Week's private sector sponsors.

Buyers come second on the list after journalists and it's not very clear what they bought - or at least what they paid for: the Paris part of London Fashion Week quotes "early indications" of trade but not cheques cleared.

John Robertson left an annotation ()

FOI Requests, UK Trade and Investment

Ref No: IR/09/1531 - Request for internal review of Freedom of
Information (FOI) request 09/1531 - consultation re: closed UK shoe
factories

2 February 2010

Dear Mr Robertson

I apologise for the delay in responding to your FOI request 09/1531 and I
hope our response sent on 27 January 2010 went someway to answering your
queries.

You submitted a request for an internal review of FOI 09/1531 on 30
December 2009. In the light of our response to your original request,
could you please clarify if this request still stands?

Yours sincerely

Caroline Llewellyn
Information Rights Unit

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills |
[1][email address] | Bay 351, 66-74 Victoria Street, London,
SW1E 6SW | [2]www.bis.gov.uk

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is building a
dynamic and competitive UK economy by creating the conditions for business
success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone
the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this we will foster
world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS -
Investing in our future

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.bis.gov.uk/

Dear Caroline Llewellyn,
Just confirming the my request for internal review IR/09/1531 no longer stands; thank you very much for the reply
regards,
John Robertson

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