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New Minister for Creative Industry – The Charismatic James Purnell



The LFF provided an overview of the various initiatives currently in work including the importance of networking the industry together by the use of communication channels such as www.fashioncapital.co.uk and the LFF magazine. Mr Purnell had the opportunity to also meet designers directly and discuss current threats to the industry and also the strengths of the designer sector in particular.

The general high street retail market is clearly having a difficult trading period and when the big boys of retailing, M&S, announce a reduction in profits by 19% then the scene is very much set…but what about the small independents the life blood for designers.

Last year 2.157 small independent busineses went out of business compared to just 300 in 2003. The total number of small independents in the UK now stands at 26,873 and the LFF quickly learnt that having a minister such as James Purnell at the helm of Creative Industries is the right man for the job!

The LFF will shortly be arranging a cross sector dialogue on behalf of Mr Purnell to ensure that designers, CMTs, manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers et al will have the chance to express their views on the current status of the Clothing and Textile industry and highlight ways forward to ensure sustainability.

For further information regardng Mr Purnell please read on.

James Purnell MP – Biography

James was selected for the seat of Stalybridge and Hyde in 2001, and went on to win the election with a majority of 8,859. 

James campaigned in 2001 on his ability to deliver for the people of Stalybridge & Hyde.  Ever since he was elected his key priority has been to act as their voice in Westminster on issues such as securing more funding for Tameside Local Council, getting local schools rebuilt or modernised as part of the Building Schools for the Future scheme and tackling anti-social behaviour.

As Labour Member of Parliament, he was a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee in the House of Commons 2001-03, and the Chair of the All Party Group on Private Equity and Venture Capital 2002-03.  In December 2004 James was promoted to the position of Assistant Government Whip.  Prior to this he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ruth Kelly MP in the Cabinet Office. 

James lists his interests as football, cinema and theatre.  He speaks fluent French.  He is also a member of Stalybridge Labour Club.  His special interest areas cover poverty, employment, the economy, pensions and education.

Prior to entering Parliament, James was a researcher to Rt Hon Tony Blair MP during his time as Shadow Employment Secretary, 1989-92.  After graduating, he went to Hydra Associates 1992-94, and then became a Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research 1994-95 on their media and communications project.  He published various works at this time.

He went on to become Head of Corporate Planning at the BBC from 1995-97.  He then returned to work for the Prime Minister Tony Blair as Special Adviser on culture, media, sport and the knowledge economy from 1997-2001.

Until recently, he was the Chair of Labour Friends of Israel.  He is a member of various other All Party groups ranging from Disability to Film.  He is also a member of Labour Friends of India and is the liaison between the UK and Bangladesh on behalf of the All Party Group on Third World Debt. 

He is a former school governor, and a board member of the Young Vic Theatre.

James Purnell MP was born in London on 2nd March 1970 to John and Janet Purnell.  He was educated in France, returning to study his A-levels at the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, and then going on to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford.

 Jenny Holloway

 Industry Advisor

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