Sheffield manufacturers meet minister over '˜crazy' new knife laws

Sheffield manufacturers have met a minister over controversial new knife laws which they described as '˜crazy'.

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 14:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 14:44 pm

The Government is considering banning firms from sending bladed items to residential addresses, as part of its new Offensive Weapons Bill, which is gong through parliament.

The proposed mail order restriction is designed to prevent potentially lethal implements falling into the wrong hands but cutlers in Sheffield say it would be a hammer blow to the industry. 

Alastair Fisher, of Taylors Eye Witness Works (right) the Sheffield kitchen knife manufacturer and distributor, with Sheffield Councils then deputy leader Coun Leigh Bramall.

More than 24,000 people signed a petition calling for the clause within the new bill outlining the contentious ban to be scrapped.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield spoke up for manufacturers in the city when the bill went before parliament in November, and he secured a meeting between them and Home Office minister Victoria Atkins, which took place on Tuesday.

Alastair Fisher, company director of Taylor's Eye Witness, said: 'The meeting took pace but we didn't get any conclusions. They accepted our points but are determined to put this crazy law through that will do so much damage to so many people.

'I am not wanting people to get too scared but it's going to make life very difficult for our customers and the growing number of them who shop online.'

Mr Blomfield tabled amendments which would introduce a '˜trusted traders' scheme for responsible knife makers, who he said already have safeguards in place and want those measures to become standard across the industry.

Speaking after the debate in November, Mr Blomfield said: 'Many of the smaller manufacturers already carry out robust age verification measures and agree with the objectives of the bill.

Ms Atkins rejected the '˜trusted traders' amendments, claiming during the debate that they would increase the red tape experienced by retailers.

'This is simply a matter of conducting checks, and then the grown-up who is buying their kitchen knife going to a post office and showing their ID to prove that they are in compliance with the law,' she added.

Taylor's Eye Witness has been making knives in Sheffield for 180 years and employs 60 people.