Commons door wide open to city cutlers

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Cutlery manufacturers in Sheffield have been handed a golden opportunity to win a prestigious order from the House of Commons after a change in buying rules.

Catering Services is creating a separate order for cutlery as part of plans to re-tender ‘light equipment and tableware’, within the next six months.

It will be for ‘bespoke, badged, high quality stainless steel’ - requirements that play to the strengths of Sheffield manufacturers. And a new e-tendering portal will allow firms to sign up for procurement projects without being an approved supplier.

The announcement comes after Sheffield MPs protested at plans to replace House of Commons silver with stainless steel tableware from Vietnam.

In a letter from Sir Alan Haselhurst, chair of the Commons Administration Committee, to Nick Clegg, he states: ‘Catering Services currently uses wholesalers, but the new approach of creating a separate lot will hopefully attract interest from a wider range of manufacturers, including those across the UK. Any tender documents will make clear we are seeking high quality stainless steel.

‘Parliament’s new e-tendering portal also means that, no matter what the size of the company , there is an opportunity to participate in any of our published tenders.”

Earlier this month, Nick Clegg wrote to The Speaker and forwarded a letter from Sheffield manufacturers protesting at the plans.

He stated: ‘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 urge you to consider the benefits of using the world’s best cutlery, available right here on our doorstep.’