The British Furniture Confederation has published its latest strategic plan, intended to clarify the BFC’s role to identify ways that the industry can be supported over the next five years. The Confederation works with the Government on behalf of the industry.   

The plan, which you can read in full here, aims to fulfil the BFC’s mission statement of sustaining “a strong and influential dialogue with the Government, ensuring that its policies support a thriving UK furniture industry.” This it will do through raising the profile of the industry at a political level and developing a long-term strategy at a national and local level. Unnecessary red tape and potentially damaging legislation comes into the firing line, as do European companies who don’t comply with EU legislation. Funding, of course, is something it is looking to secure and there is a nod towards helping to facilitate research and development.

Specifically the strategy refers to a number of issues pertaining to the industry. Schemes such as FISP, which enhance the industry’s environmental credentials are praised, and manufacturers who choose a sustainable approach should be differentiated it says. The strategy also looks at protecting copyright and intellectual property, and highlights the importance of health and safety. With an eye on the long-term, the Confederation pushes for the school curriculum to be tailored in order to nurture talent and for the UK market to be maximised. Exporting British goods is also looked at.

The BFC has pointed out that the industry is larger than we often give it credit for. Official statistics show that over 8000 manufacturers produce £8.3 billion of goods, in the process employing 112,000 people. A further 18,800 self-employed individuals and 7,000 interior designers bolster these figures.  

As a starting point, four papers regarding exports, public procurement, loan guarantees and a proposal for setting up an advisory body have been put before the new All Party Parliamentary Furniture Group, chaired by MP for Stevenage, Stephen McPartland. The Furniture Industry Research Association has come out in support of the plan. You can read about their pledge of support here.