The Master Cutler has added his voice to calls for manufacturing to become a cross-party issue and for strategies that go beyond a single term of Government.
Tony Pedder, OBE DL, wants to see an Office for Manufacturing Competitiveness which would help companies be globally competitive.
Speaking at the annual Forfeit Feast at the Cutlers’ Hall attended by the Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Fiona Wolff, he said: “This Government and indeed the opposition are now both talking about rebalancing and of course we welcome that. Provided it manifests itself in action and not just words.
“It is all about ensuring our manufacturers have an environment which enables them to be globally competitive. This is about tax, skills, red tape, infrastructure and above all, in my opinion, energy price and availability.
“I believe a cross-party commitment to introduce an Office for Manufacturing Competitiveness would be a major signal that would help ensure we really do have action and not just words. And action which goes beyond the term of office of a single Government.
“Lord Mayor, you and your colleagues have had the opportunity today to visit the Advanced Manufacturing Park here. And you have seen the sort of leading edge developments that are, we believe, representative of the translation into today’s terms of Sheffield’s manufacturing heritage. This is an example of what we have here in South Yorkshire as an inspiration, to companies who are currently here to be even more competitive and to attract others to locate here. This is why we believe this region, above all others can spearhead the rebirth of UK manufacturing. And, as a result benefit in terms of growth and jobs.
“But we need the City of London to work with us in that growth. Our companies will need financial and legal expertise to help them take up the challenge. This is not growth at the expense of the service sector. The growth we want is alongside a vibrant service sector, led by the City of London, so that we produce both a bigger and better balanced economy for UK.
“The vital rebalancing towards more of the UK’s economic wealth emanating from manufacturing and from the North must not in my view be at the expense of maintaining and indeed growing an even more vibrant south. We just need to grow that bit quicker up here!”
The Forfeit Feast has been held annually since 1814.vlieved the offices of Master Cutler and Mayor of London had a close aims.
He added: “You represent the City of London and hence predominantly the financial and related service sectors. The “City of London” is a great global brand and is one of the UK’s greatest assets. A very recent PWC survey of Cities of Opportunity, placed London at the top of its global index which tracks the development of the world’s leading cities. It outshone New York, Frankfurt, Singapore and all other major financial centres.
“In this role, I am a representative of the City Region of Sheffield and specifically the manufacturing sector. With its global reputation for manufacturing excellence, enshrined in the world-renowned “Made in Sheffield” brand, we see our city as the epicentre of the UK’s manufacturing industries.
“Lord Mayor, I feel our roles are therefore closely interlinked in that we both predominantly promote a sector and each of those sectors has a strong link to a city. And both with powerful brands.
“In the case of London, the economic failings which manifested themselves in 2008 seemed to cast a dark cloud over the financial sector and turn “The City” into a target for general criticism. Indeed there was some rank bad management and there were some bad practices, particularly at some leading financial companies. But for me, the failings were equally about bad management of economies by successive governments here and elsewhere.
“For us in the manufacturing sector, the bad UK economic management stretches back many decades. When I entered the world of manufacturing in the early ‘70s, manufacturing’s share of UK GDP was around 30 per cent. Today it’s around 11 per cent.
“Lord Mayor, this is not an outcome created by the City of London. It’s been created by successive Governments.”