Listening To Maiden Speeches

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08 Jun 2010

Over the last few weeks it has been fascinating to listen to the maiden speeches of new MPs from all parties and all parts of the country. Maiden speeches traditionally include general statements about the new Member of Parliament’s background and the constituency they now represent, as well as a tribute to previous incumbents of the particular seat. In my maiden speech back in July 1983 I paid tribute to the previous Rother Valley MP Peter Hardy and talked in some detail about the coal and steel industries that then dominated our area.

I was sat next to the new Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield when he made his maiden speech last week and in it he mentioned the key role that the University of Sheffield has played in the success of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham. In Paul’s speech he also called on the Government to act quickly to end uncertainty by confirming the £80 million loan for Sheffield Forgemasters.

The Labour Government made the decision to provide this loan to help position Sheffield Forgemasters as a world leader in ultra-heavy forgings for the civil nuclear market by enabling the purchase of a major new forging press. This was one of a series of investment decisions made in order to support advanced industrial projects that are crucial for the UK economy.

However, the Coalition Government have confirmed that they are reviewing all public expenditure decisions made from January 2010. This places a question mark over whether key investments, such as the one at Sheffield Forgemasters, will go ahead.