Share |
The truths they don't want you to read....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Harris Tweed - an investment fund (!)

From the Gazette website
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has called for the establishment of a tweed investment fund to enable weavers to continue weaving at the traditionally quiet back-end of the year.

Mr MacNeil is writing to Enterprise Minister, Jim Mather MSP to look at bringing together various bodies, HIE, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Scottish Government to establish a fund to enable weavers to continue weaving all through the year.

"The most popular patterns could then be bought by the mills at the times of peak in demand; this would help level out the peaks and troughs within the weaving industry and keep weavers weaving

"I know work has already been done on this by the Harris Tweed Authority and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, thus, I am asking the Minister to use his Office to try and get a £350,000 investment fund, not a grant, underway.

"The beauty of such a fund is that it would always keep the value in either cash or tweed assets. This would then give weavers a livelihood over the next four months during this restructuring period and ensure that weavers are still present when the industry becomes busy again, as is expected in 2009," added Mr MacNeil.
As I understand it, the proposal this would subsidise the mills (and their wealthy investors) to buy tweed in order to keep weavers in work, irrespective of actual demand.

Far from keeping 'the value in either cash or tweed assets' you would actually end up with a situation where the fund had to guess next years best sellers and then persuade the mills to buy the stockpiled tweed the following year. Can you see any mill owner committing their own money to next year's patterns in advance of the trade shows?

And can't you just hear the mill owners sucking through their teeth, "Ooo, that pattern isn't popular this year. I'll only buy those tweeds at 50% off."

Wouldn't the time, money and effort be better spent in trying to ensure that the weavers are allowed to claim benefit during the quiet times?


Anonymous said...

The time money and effort should go into marketing and selling Tweed thus creating demand. I have only today had a squint at the HTA website which makes great bones about their new CEO and various other members. There is next to nothing about where you can purchase tweed in any shape or form or how they intend to promote it. Also nothing about the current crisis. There are links to things such as the BA website and Calmac which most people know about already. This is one of few great products of the island and yet it is almost invisible to visitors and tourists. To coin a Labour party soundbite...the industry needs to be 'modernised' and not have money thrown at it, willy-nilly.

Anonymous said...

How many sheep are there on harris & lewis, does anyone know (round thousands will do)?
Why doesn't the organisation also look at ways of increasing the wool production on the island thus reducing the amount imported to produce the tweed?
At the moment given that most of the wool used is imported it could be called Cal Mac or mainland tweed rather than harris (anyway under the Parma ruling sure harris tweed should only be produced on harris)?
Increasing the amount of wool will need more animals here so we need to develop our market for the beasts. Shetland do it with their lamb, Orkney with it's beef and lamb why can't we?

Anonymous said...

Does the HTA annual report include increase in production, new customers, any form of accountability to the weavers as it is a tax on their production that floats the fat cats in HTA.

Anonymous said...

Macneil has spent his entire 'working' life as a civil servant - why would you expect him to have any grasp of commercial realities?

His 'trickle-down' economic theories are those of Maggie Thatcher. I thought we had all agreed that they don't work.

It really is pathetically sad that he is arguing for the fat cats and not for the workers.

Anonymous said...

ANON 4.14
"(anyway under the Parma ruling sure harris tweed should only be produced on harris)?"

Course this is complicated by the fact that contrary to popular belief Harris is not in fact an island but rather a region of the same Island that Lewis is on. I _believe_ that the gaelic Na Hearadh refers to a districty type thang rather than an island.

I have no idea why everyone acts as though it is a separate island but it isn't.