Page last updated at 10:34 GMT, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 11:34 UK

Call for new fund to help weavers

Winning Harris Tweed outfit at US fashion show
Harris Tweed was showcased at a fashion show in New York

A Western Isles MP has called for the establishment of a 350,000 tweed investment fund.

The money would be used to stabilise the traditional peaks and troughs in demand in the industry.

Nationalist Angus MacNeil said this would keep weavers working at the quieter tail-end of the year.

He is writing to Enterprise Minister Jim Mather asking him to bring together public bodies and the Scottish Government to create the fund.

Mr MacNeil said good work was already being done by the Harris Tweed Authority and the local council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, in promoting the product.

Mixed year

He said: "The story of Harris Tweed is a positive story and we are fortunate to have the industry in the islands.

"One thing is certain, the Harris Tweed brand is so well known and popular that in the islands we must work to help and support one of the jewels of Scotland."

The MP added: "I am asking the minister to use his office to try and get a 350,000 investment fund, not a grant, under way.

"The beauty of such a fund is that it would always keep the value in either cash or tweed assets."

The industry has had a mixed year, with concerns about jobs at the Kenneth Mackenzie mill in Stornoway - but Harris Tweed Textiles at Carloway doubling shifts to meet demand for the fabric.

Harris Tweed Textiles also sponsored a fashion show in New York, where designers were asked to re-invent Harris Tweed.

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14 Jun 08 |  Highlands and Islands
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09 Jun 08 |  Highlands and Islands
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02 May 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Job cuts at Harris Tweed company
30 Apr 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Mill boss in tweed campaign call
13 Jul 07 |  Highlands and Islands
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12 Jul 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Tweed order from Germany refused
06 Jul 07 |  Highlands and Islands


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