In 1962 I left school to be an engineering apprentice at Firth Brown Ltd. As part of my training I worked in the heavy forging department.
The biggest press they had then was a Davy Loewy 6000 ton press, which was used for making large cranks and drive shafts for ships and other industries.
When Firth Browns closed down in 1982 the forging equipment and expertise of the workforce was transferred to what is now Sheffield Forgemasters.
Later in my career working for Davy McKee I was involved with a project to modernise their 8000 ton press and supply a state-of-the-art 200 ton forging manipulator.
I retired in 2012 having served 50 years in the Sheffield steel industry and am still a member of the Institute of Engineering designers.
So I feel I can say with confidence that Sajid Javid and Anna Soubry do not know what they are talking about when they claim Forgemasters can’t supply the forgings required for the Hinkley C project.
It is obvious that these Thatcherite ministers have no sense of patriotism when it comes to supporting the essential British industries that form the backbone of our independence as a nation.
When dealing with the nuclear industry safety and quality control of the equipment is essential.
Forgemasters may not be the cheapest, but you get what you pay for, and their reputation for quality is recognised worldwide.
Steel made in Sheffield by the few remaining Sheffield craftsmen, is still the best in the world.
A proportion of the forgings required for this project will need to be high quality stainless steel, so where else would you go than to its birthplace – Sheffield.
Harry Brearley should be turning in his grave.
So why, I ask myself, are we inviting Javid to speak at the Master Cutlers’ dinner.
This is just adding insult to injury, and why aren’t our local MPs speaking out more vehemently about this injustice.
Javid and Soubry have neither the experience nor qualifications to pass comment on Forgemasters’ technical capability which has to be the primary consideration for such an important project.
It would seem that Javid’s sole objective is to take labour relations and workers’ rights back to Dickensian standards rather than supporting our essential core industries.