Maggie Throup, Conservative MP for East Midlands constituency Erewash, has been appointed new chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Industry Group (APPFIG).
Maggie’s election follows the decision by Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, to step down from the APPFIG role, which he has held since 2010. Stephen will be concentrating on his recently acquired role as chairman of the Regulatory Reform Select Committee and membership of Liaison and Finance Select Committees. Said Stephen: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as chairman of the furniture All Party Group. I feel we have made real progress in making the sure the government is aware of the industry’s concerns – and its importance to the British economy. Although I’m stepping down from the chairmanship, I will continue to have a real interest in its progress.”
Maggie was elected to the Erewash seat in 2015 and held it with an increased majority in the 2017 General Election. With Long Eaton and Ilkeston in her constituency, Maggie already has knowledge of, and links, with the furniture industry – and lost no time after her election to chairman of the group to raise a question in the House, asking her ministerial colleagues in charge of the renovation of the Palace of Westminster to give due consideration to British furniture and furnishing providers.
Jonathan Hindle, chairman of the British Furniture Confederation (BFC), which works closely with the APPFIG, welcomed Maggie’s appointment and paid tribute to the support from Stephen McPartland over the past eight years: “Working with Stephen since I took over this role in 2016 has been a pleasure. Stephen is a hands-on operator who wants to see things happen when he gets behind them and he has enabled the industry, through the BFC, to get in front of ministers and civil servants and make their point of view heard.
“I’m equally delighted to welcome Maggie Throup to the role. Maggie has already attended a number of APPFIG and BFC functions. She has a number of furniture companies in her constituency and it’s clear that she intends to get stuck right in and do what she can to help forward the cause of the industry in government.”
Said Maggie Throup of her appointment: “I have seen for myself the fantastic furniture made in my constituency Erewash, known as the UK Centre of Quality Upholstery Manufacture, and which I know is echoed all over the country. The furniture and furnishings industry is a significant contributor to the British economy, with over 8,000 firms turning over more than £11 billion and employing more than 118,000 people. What’s more, furniture is something we all use, every day – and night – of our lives. It’s practical, aesthetic, it affects our emotions, our health and our wellbeing. It matters and it will be a pleasure to promote and to champion the concerns of the sector in Parliament.”
Picture attached – new APPFIG chairman Maggie Throup with BFC chairman Jonathan Hindle (left) and retiring APPFIG chairman Stephen McPartland, MP
1. UK furniture, bed and furnishings manufacturing is a substantial growth industry for the UK. Latest verified government figures from 2016 put total consumer expenditure on furniture and furnishings at £16.7 billion (a rise of 6% from 2015), supporting 327,000 jobs across 50,000 registered companies in the wider furniture and furnishings sector, including specialist retail but excluding general retail.
Manufacturing turnover for the sector rose 7.6% in 2016 for the eighth consecutive year, to £11.3 billion, emanating from 8,390 companies employing 118,000 individuals. Furniture manufacturing is one of the top three divisions driving manufacturing growth in the UK according to official statistics.
UK manufacturers have benefited from this rise in consumer demand, but it has also been fed by a rising tide of imports which reached £5.8 billion in 2016, a significant proportion of which arrived from China (£1.9 billion). However, export performance, albeit on a smaller scale, has also continued to improve, increasing by 13% from 2015 to 2016 to £1.13 billion.
Trade with the European Community continued to be the main source of export income and totalled £0.71 billion in 2016, an increase of 0.08 billion over the previous year, with France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Spain being the primary recipients. However, whilst exports to the EU are significant, the reality is that many of its countries are more reliant on the UK home market for their income, as illustrated by the £2.20 billion trade gap.1
2. The British Furniture Confederation is an executive body chaired by Jonathan Hindle and made up of representatives from the UK’s leading furniture, furnishings and bed trade associations:
- British Contract Furnishing Association (BCFA)
- British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM)
- Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA)
- Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association (LOFA)
- National Bed Federation (NBF)
- Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers (WCFM)
It also has affiliations with other trade associations including: the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF) and Anti-Copying In Design (ACID).
The British Furniture Confederation (BFC) maintains regular dialogue with Government and other influential stakeholders in an effort to ensure that its policies and initiatives support a thriving furniture, furnishings and bed sector. Many of its activities are done in partnership with the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Industry Group (APPFIG), chaired by Maggie Throup MP.
3. About Maggie Throup, MP
After obtaining an Honours degree in Biology from Manchester University, Maggie began her career at Calderdale Health Authority as a medical laboratory scientist, spending seven years in the role and gaining professional qualifications in Haematology. Remaining in the health sector, Maggie moved into medical diagnostics sales and marketing with a pharmaceutical company, before establishing her own marketing company.
Maggie first entered politics through her involvement with a community campaign to save an area of green belt from development and has since gone on to lead a number of similar campaigns.
In Parliament Maggie has become a passionate advocate for the wider use of diagnostic testing in order to reduce the amount of antibiotics that are wrongly prescribed, as well as establishing and Chairing the All Party Group on Obesity.
In January 2018 appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Ministers in the Department of Health and Social Care. She has previously served on the Commons Health Select Committee, and the Scottish Affairs Select Committee.
4. Statistics taken from FIRA’s Statistics Digest December 2017, a compilation of published statistics and market information which has been sourced primarily from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), HM Customs and Revenue, The Bank of England and the Communities.