Brightside and Hillsborough MP David Blunkett has pledged support for a 280-year-old Sheffield company which he says is “a living example of enterprise and modernisation.”
Mr Blunkett was speaking during a visit to Hillsborough-based tool manufacturer Burgon & Ball.
The company started out in 1730 making agricultural tools and still sells agricultural products – ranging from sheep shears to asparagus knives – across the globe.
However, it is better known today as a leading manufacturer of top quality gardening products – endorsed by The Royal Horticultural Society –and accessories, developed in house and with renowned designer Sophie Conran.
Business is booming for the firm, which had an innovative composting tool shortlisted for the New Product Of The Year Award at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Thanks to its success in recent years, Burgon & Ball took on additional premises on Penistone Road and further storage facilities, but now it has run out of space and urgently needs to move to larger premises. At the same time, the company has had to fight household name store groups and leading hand tool companies that have copied its innovative designs and passed them off as their own.
Mr Blunkett pledged to help the business on both counts.
He has thrown his weight behind Burgon & Ball’s bid to secure Regional Growth Funding for its expansion plans.
He is also pressing Business Secretary Vince Cable and Business and Enterprise Minister Michael Fallon to back plans to make directors criminally liable if their companies copy another business’s registered designs.
Mr Blunkett said: “We should be very proud of this company which is at the heart of Sheffield’s history and at the forefront of our city’s future.
“Burgon and Ball tick all the boxes as a historic example of the innovation and craftsmanship of Sheffield, but also as a living example of enterprise and modernisation.
“What they need now is essential government help to expand the business, and in doing so to create worthwhile and interesting jobs that build the confidence and self esteem of the workforce.
“I will be pressing the Department of Business Innovation and Skills and the Royal Bank of Scotland, which is owned by the nation, to ensure that funding is available for their relocation within the immediate community and to facilitate the expansion that is crucial to their future development and job creation prospects.”
Burgon & Ball managing director Heather Culpan was impressed by Mr Blunkett’s understanding of her company’s situation.
“He was really on the ball and knew all about us when he came. We’re really grateful for his interest,” she said.