Business Secretary Greg Clark will be the principal speaker at the Cutlers’ Feast in Sheffield - one of the most important business dinners in the North.
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will attend the 381st Feast after accepting an invitation from Master Cutler Richard Edwards.
The exclusive, white-tie event is on Thursday May 18 at the opulent Cutlers’ Hall. It is organised by the 392-year-old Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire and attended by hundreds of senior figures from business and the Establishment including the church, army and legal profession.
Mr Edwards said it was an opportunity to showcase the region as a centre for high value, modern manufacturing using innovation and technology.
He added: “We are delighted that Greg Clerk has taken time out of his very busy schedule to join us for this important event.
“This is a particularly busy time both for the Government, businesses and politicians in the North of England.
“With the industrial strategy, Brexit and devolution, the manufacturing landscape in this part of the country is about to undergo an unprecedented change.
“An event such as the Cutlers’ Feast presents a golden opportunity for us to make our position clear as well as for the Government to put forward its vision for the future – a vision which affects us all.”
During the evening, the senior warden, Ken Cooke, who is expected to be elected as the next Master Cutler, will address the company and the secretary of state will respond to his speech.
Mr Clark’s appearance will be the second time in two years the business secretary has spoken at the Feast.
Last year, Sajid Javid appeared at the height of the steel crisis, which threatened the future of Tata Steel.
Mr Edwards, who was then junior warden, gave a speech in which he urged government to develop a ‘clear industrial strategy’.
His comments were at odds with Mr Javid who later insisted the government had a comprehensive industrial strategy.
Mr Javid was invited by the then Master Cutler Craig McKay, boss of precision engineering firm Evenort.
Mr McKay said it was a sign central government was interest in the North.
The Secretary of State for Business is “the most relevant person to us,” he added.
Margaret Thatcher appeared at the Cutlers’ Feast in 1983. She had to be smuggled in to avoid protesting miners who were on strike during a bitter year-long dispute.
Greg Clark’s appearance at the Cutlers’ Feast comes after a string of good news in Sheffield. McLaren and Boeing have announced plans to build factories in the region creating hundreds of jobs. It prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to write to The Star hailing a ‘new engineering revolution’.