The new Master Cutler used his first speech to warn against the ‘dogma’ of politicians and newspaper proprietors who put immigration ahead of the economy on Brexit.
Richard Edwards was installed at the Cutlers’ Hall in a tradition dating back 392 years in front of members, freemen, friends and establishment figures including mayors and clergy from across South Yorkshire.
And he wasted no time in raising the problems facing manufacturers today.
He said: “My remit in my year in office is to keep raising issues including Brexit, the Northern Powerhouse, competitiveness in manufacturing and the steel industry, especially to the London-based political establishment.
“On Brexit, I am concerned some politicians want to put political ideals before economic stability, arguing we should leave the single market as a counter to controlling immigration at our borders.
“I urge that our economic prosperity is more important long term and manufacturers must not be disadvantaged because of dogma from a group of politicians, newspaper proprietors and journalists who have little concept of the long term nature of investing in manufacturing.
“The uncertainties after the referendum will be with us for some time. We need to keep our nerve and seek the best possible deal we can.”
The Company comprises a 33-strong governing body of ‘members’, 361 ‘freemen’ - senior manufacturing bosses - and 50 ‘friends’ - financial and business services firms.
It represents manufacturers, runs a growing work experience programme - Better Learners Better Workers - and every year raises six figures sums for local charities.
Mr Edwards, an engineer and manufacturer, is the 378th Master. He will spend his year on more than 300 appointments across the country and hosts the annual Cutlers’ Feast and Forfeit Feast. The role is self-financed and typically costs the Master £120,000.
Following an installation ceremony in the Old Banqueting Hall, top-hatted members walked to Sheffield Cathedral where they were met by Dean Peter Bradley. Following a service they returned to the Hall for lunch.