Stoke & Staffordshire

'Made in England' stamping for ceramics proposed

Kiln at Middleport
Image caption Stoke-on-Trent has a long history of producing ceramics

Ceramics produced abroad that are being sold as British are undercutting the industry, an MP has said.

Ruth Smeeth, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, proposed mandatory country of origin stamps to protect products made in Stoke-on-Trent.

She told the House of Commons the area, known as the Potteries, has a reputation for ceramics which has been cultivated "over centuries".

A 'Made in England' stamp would be a "guarantee of craftsmanship" she said.

Image caption Ruth Smeeth MP said British ceramics are being undercut by cheaper foreign products

Ms Smeeth told MPs that stamping would help "create a level playing field" for locally produced ceramics that face competition from cheaper mass produced wares from abroad.

Stoke-on-Trent has a reputation as the ceramics heartland, with more than 2,000 ovens and kilns firing millions of pottery products during the Industrial Revolution.

The GMB union estimates the UK ceramics industry to be worth £3bn each year.

Image caption The Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke-on-Trent produces more than one million pieces of pottery each year

"The success of our ceramic industry is built on our reputation," Ms Smeeth said, "a reputation for quality that has been cultivated not over decades but over centuries."

"Consumers must have faith that the products on our shelves and those we export are truly what their labels claim they are," she said, calling on ministers to "make buy British more than just a slogan".

Her Ceramic (Country of Origin) Bill is listed for a second reading in Parliament on 26 October.

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