Nearly 350 Company Members and guests attended this year’s Feast hosted by the Master and Mistress Cutler, Mr James and Mrs Jo Tear. Dame Julie Kenny, the Senior Warden and next year’s Master Cutler, gave the keynote business speech. The Honourable Lee Rowley MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State was Guest Speaker and responded to her speech. Mr Steve Mercer spoke on behalf of the guests.
Other guests included the Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, all of the Mayors from the Region’s cities and towns, Regional MPs, business leaders from London and the Region and representatives of our Armed Services who the Company is proud to support.
Dame Julie Kenny spoke of South Yorkshire having some of the most innovative and thriving manufacturing businesses who are busy investing in green energy and digitalisation and preparing for transitioning to net zero; BUT they are facing problems with labour and skills shortages, spiraling energy costs and an uncertain business environment partly caused by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, rising prices and interest rates. She said it was time for the Government to set a ‘bold, new, brave vision’. The Government need to limit the tax burden on businesses and act to accelerate investment, help in tackling the spiraling energy costs and address the labour and skills shortages by, for example, introducing an employer training fund.
Dame Julie also spoke of UK manufacturing as a great and vibrant contributor to the UK’s economy and is the sector to back creating 2.5 million jobs, £183 billion of output, salaries 12% higher than the whole economy with an average of £35,000 pa and providing £31 billion of investment into the economy each year. She concluded by saying that we will see new industries springing up and, as manufacturers, will build a bigger and better economy which will be stronger, more productive and greener. Manufacturers do and will create wealth and the future is bright, with Government help.
The Honourable Lee Rowley MP responded outlining the Government’s understanding that it needs to and does invest in manufacturing, but also to help businesses improve productivity. He understands the strength of the Region’s manufacturing businesses and believes that the Government’s agenda to invest in regions outside of London and the South East will give the help and support required.
The Guard of Honour was provided by The 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and the Fanfare Trumpeters found by The South Yorkshire Police.
A truly auspicious occasion and an opportunity to highlight the strengths of manufacturing in the Region and the issues being faced.