Staffordshire pottery companies and politicians are calling on the government to introduce new laws that would force manufacturers to label their products’ country of origin.
They argue that many shoppers want to buy British-made ceramics, and that such a label would therefore boost sales of home-produced wares and secure jobs in the Potteries.
The campaign is backed by Staffordshire MPs from all parties, including the Conservative MP for South Staffordshire Gavin Williamson, who recently secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons about country of origin marking.
“We cannot forget that Made in England and Made in Great Britain have value for consumers in this country, but probably more so around the globe,” said Williamson, who was once managing director of Aynsley China.
Stoke-on-Trent North Labour MP Joan Walley also argued in favour of product labelling.
“From the point of view of jobs, it is certainly in our interests to have Made in Britain markings,” she said. “Items of ceramic ware designed and manufactured in places with the best innovation need to have on their turn-it-over side an origin marking stating Made in the UK or Made in Britain, and ideally Made in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire as well.”
Prime Minister David Cameron spoke on a recent visit to Portmeirion’s Stoke on Trent factory about “the Potteries’ huge importance to the UK manufacturing sector”.
But while the EU has approved clearer marking, consumer minister Ed Davey insists that it should remain up to UK manufacturers themselves whether to label or not.