Mayor champions manufacturing in London

26 February 2013

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has hailed the huge opportunities for manufacturing in the capital during a visit to a small, independent clothes factory in Whitechapel.

Whilst traditional manufacturing has declined, London is still home to a diverse range of successful manufacturing industries from top name companies to small start-ups. East End Manufacturing Ltd, which has been in operation since October last year, employs ten people and is currently producing 500 garments a week, rising soon to 1,000.

The Mayor wants to promote the continued importance of manufacturing to the city’s economy in the 21st century by encouraging new growth within the sector including through increased exports - manufacturing currently employs around 100,000 Londoners. He has pledged to create 200,000 jobs from Greater London Authority activity over his term in addition to support for small businesses and a target of 250,000 apprenticeships in London over the same period.

The Mayor Boris Johnson said: ‘London was once the workshop of the world, fuelling the city’s prosperity in the 19th century. Whilst traditional industry has declined, manufacturing still plays an important role in our economy, employing over 100,000 people and with great potential to grow. I want to support dynamic entrepreneurs such as Barry Laden who are proving, in a globally competitive market, that there is a growing demand for goods made here in London.’

Barry Laden MBE, CEO of East End Manufacturing Ltd, has big ambitions for his company, and is keen to see it grow quickly from a small enterprise into a larger concern, whilst remaining committed to staying in London. Mr Laden is continuing a family tradition in fashion as his grandparents were factory workers and tailors in the East London in the early 20th century. He is a strong advocate of British made goods, including the return of clothes manufacturing to the East End of London, having already set up a retail store in Brick Lane.

Barry Laden MBE, said: ‘When my grandparents worked as factory workers and tailors in the East End in the early 20th Century, the area boomed - then the East End lost out to the Far East over many years. It's my belief that East End Manufacturing can be the start of bringing clothing manufacturing back to this part of London. I believe my business can grow into something big - designers small and large agree with me that manufacturing locally is key to supporting the economy and creating jobs in 2013 and beyond.’

The Mayor is supporting London’s small and medium businesses through the London Enterprise Panel which is seeking to improve access to finance and equity; support export opportunities; explore affordable workspace opportunities; and raise awareness of business support services and networks.