FEARS have been voiced for the future of hallmarking by Sheffield MP David Blunkett.
He fears the system, which has been used for 700 years and identifies steel products made in the city, could become a victim of plans by the Government to axe ‘red tape’ on businesses in a bid to kick-start the economy.
Mr Blunkett, who represents Brightside and Hillsborough, has challenged Deputy Prime Minister and Hallam MP Nick Clegg to safeguard the historic protection given by hallmarking.
He said: “Most people won’t really have given much thought to the Government website which lists thousands of measures built up over the generations which will be abolished unless the public actually say they want them”
“All of this under the guise of doing away with so-called red tape, which, of course, all of us would instinctively support.
“Unfortunately, as with much else that this Government is doing, they don’t seem to have the first idea of what the implications will be in areas such as the historic protection provided by hallmarking, underpinned by the four Assay Offices, one of which is based in Sheffield.
“This provides a guarantee of quality and assurance and has been crucial to Sheffield over centuries in terms of an understanding that ‘Made in Sheffield’ really did mean the product was part of Sheffield’s offer to the world.”
He added: “I hope Nick Clegg will now begin to realise that measures such as hallmarking are nothing to do with bureaucracy and Government meddling, and everything to do with protecting ourselves from exploitation across the world and rejoicing in craftsmanship.”