Cutlery manufacturers in Sheffield are furious at plans to sell off House of Commons silver- and replace it with stainless steel tableware from Vietnam.
Commons catering chiefs claim it costs too much to maintain silver cutlery and insist a new £17,000 stainless steel set – made in Vietnam or Taiwan – will not ‘compromise class or elegance’.
A report accepted by the Commons Administration Committee says the move will save £50,000 in costs including sharpening, burnishing, repair and replacement over the next five years.
But any switch to stainless steel should be to cutlery that is Made in Sheffield, angry manufacturers say.
The Star wholeheartedly supports them - and today calls on local MPs, and all who support the city’s historic trade, to back their demands.
Chris Hudson, of world-renowned cutlery manufacturer Chimo Holdings in Sheffield, said: “I was amazed and saddened to hear this.
“There are still world-leading cutlery manufacturers in Sheffield, making tableware to suit every occasion and every budget.
“The city is renowned worldwide for its cutlery and the Made in Sheffield mark, to many people, actually means ‘the best cutlery you can buy’.
“We are lobbying all Sheffield MPs to reverse the decision for the Commons to buy cutlery from Vietnam and to instead buy the best, to buy cutlery Made In Sheffield.”
Charles Turner, chairman of the Made in Sheffield organisation, which represents 300 manufacturers, added: “To ignore the world’s best cutlers on its doorstep does not make sense. I am confident Sheffield can provide the highest standard of cutlery at the right price and UK Government should be championing UK manufacturing. Our MPs should insist on ‘Made in Sheffield’.”
Catering officials say it would cost £72,400 over five years to keep the silver. By contrast, a new stainless steel set will cost £17,000 to buy and £6,800 to replace items that go missing.
MPs on the committee have asked catering chiefs to look at buying cutlery made in the UK.