Sheffield cutlers welcome ‘trusted traders’ knife laws compromise
Cutlery firms in Sheffield have welcomed changes to new knife laws which they had warned threatened to decimate the industry.
The Offensive Weapons Bill, designed to reduce spiralling rates of knife crime in the UK, had included a blanket ban on bladed items being delivered to people’s homes.
But a ‘trusted traders’ exemption has been added after manufacturers and retailers in Sheffield warned the regulations as they stood would have put jobs at risk.
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield helped secure the amendment, which enables firms to continue delivering bladed products to residential addresses provided they have sufficient safeguards in place to prevent them ending up in the hands of minors.
He claimed the bill in its original form would have harmed firms without reducing knife crime, and he described the last-minute concession by the Home Office as a ‘big win for local businesses’.
“I am delighted to have worked with local knife manufacturers and parliamentary colleagues to have secured these changes to the bill and protect a great Sheffield industry,” he added.
“Clive Betts MP, Louise Haigh MP, Lord David Blunkett and Lord Roy Kennedy have all given me great backing as we fought the issue in the Commons and the Lords. I’m grateful to the ministers who’ve engaged with the issue too.”
James Goodwin, of Sheffield knife supplier Egginton Group, first raised his concerns with Mr Blomfield last June about the impact of the new laws on companies which increasingly rely on online sales.
He said responsible firms which already have adequate age verification measures in place should not be punished.
Mr Blomfield’s earlier amendment to the bill had been rejected, but after talks the Government agreed to table its own amendment which was passed by MPs yesterday.
Mr Goodwin said: “After months of parliamentary debates and meetings with Home Office ministers, it is great that we have secured a sensible compromise that will enable responsible businesses to continue trading online.”
Alastair Fisher, of Sheffield manufacturer Taylor's Eye Witness, had branded the new laws as they stood ‘bonkers’, and he welcomed the amendment.
“This will make a massive difference to a lot of our customers, especially with the future of retail being online,” he said.
“There remains a huge problem in society with the misuse of kitchen knives, which is something we're looking to work with other stakeholders to find effective ways to address.”