PM urged to speak at Cutlers' Feast

Prime Minister Theresa May has been invited to speak at the Cutlers' Feast in Sheffield to ensure manufacturers are not forgotten in Brexit.

Monday, 10th October 2016, 2:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 2:40 pm
The new Master Cutler Richard Edwards. Picture: Andrew Roe

Master Cutler Richard Edwards said he feared a rapid ‘hard Brexit’ in which a clampdown on immigration took precedence over the long term needs of manufacturers.

Acceptance by the PM would show she was listening, he added.

Mr Edwards was installed as head of the 392-year-old Company of Cutlers last week - issuing the invitation was one of his first jobs.

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The annual Cutlers’ Feast in May is one of the most important business dinners in the country and regularly attracts top politicians.

Margaret Thatcher was speaker in 1983 and had to be smuggled in to avoid protesters.

Last year, the then Business Secretary Sajid Javid attended at the height of the steel crisis.

Mr Edwards said: “I would love Theresa May to come to the Cutlers’ Feast.

“She has a hard job. Brexit is going to lead to uncertainty which will have inevitable consequences on the economy.

“There are some wild ideas being discussed by Brexit ministers as they try to find their feet.

“My concern is that the hard case Brexiteers are getting her attention rather than the economists. Everyone is manoeuvring, it’s going to be a battle.”

Mr Edward, aged 53, said manufacturing was a “great, tangible asset” to the UK.

He added: “Manufacturing is the thing that reduces the current account deficit through exports and it is the best way to rebalance the economy.

“Manufacturers are having a good period now thanks to a reduction in the value of the pound.

“But that means importers’ costs are going to rise. We don’t want a slow puncture in the economy.”