There have been some news reports recently about the Houses of Parliament changing cutlery supplier, with their potentially being a move to source cutlery from foreign suppliers rather than from the UK, specifically Sheffield.
The 'Made in Sheffield' group have written to all Sheffield MPs asking them to lobby to prevent this change and support an important local industry in Sheffield.
In response, Nick Clegg has written to the Speaker of the House of Commons highlighting the proud history of Sheffield cutlery and urging him to consider Sheffield as a supplier as part of the tendering process.'
You can read Nick's full letter to the Speaker below:
I’m writing to you in response to a letter I received on behalf of concerned manufacturers in Sheffield. The letter, which I have attached for you, outlines how the House of Commons is intending to purchase new cutlery from companies based abroad rather than from those based in Sheffield.
I understand that no final decision has been reached as of yet, but that there is an ongoing process of changing the cutlery used within the House.
I do not want to in anyway interfere with the important work that you and colleagues from all sides of the House are doing to ensure the Houses of Parliament remain financially sustainable, but I would like to urge you to consider the benefits of using the world’s best cutlery, available right here on our doorstep.
As a constituency MP in Sheffield, I know how proud the city is of its manufacturing industry, and cutlery production has long been at the heart of that. History tells us that King Edward III famously left a ‘Sheffield Knife’ in his will in the 14th century, and Geoffrey Chaucer mentioned a ‘Sheffield Whittle’ in 'The Canterbury Tales'. These are just two examples in a long line that show the strong link between the city and the production of cutlery, a link which goes back centuries.
That proud tradition is still evident today, with local companies producing some of the best cutlery anywhere in the world. I am incredibly proud to represent a city that is a global leader in the industry and am keen to see the industry thrive.
I believe that wherever possible we should seek to support strong British industry and I believe that Sheffield cutlery absolutely qualifies as that.
I would urge you to consider all of those points when going through the procurement process.
I have also sent a copy of this letter to the Chair of the House of Commons Administration Committee and have copied it to my Liberal Democrat colleagues on the committee.
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam