Dudley MP Ian Austin has slammed the Government for deciding to award the contract to manufacture twenty British honours to a French firm.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Austin called on David Cameron to ensure that contracts to make British medals were awarded to British firms like those in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
French company Arthus Bertrand is set to start producing a number of British medals including the CBE medal awarded to Commanders of the Order of the British Empire. The firm’s sales director, Jean Charles Rocher, even said that it is "very proud to be the first foreign company to be able to supply medals to the English market" and plans to be producing medals by the end of 2016.
Traditionally medals have been produced by British firms from across the country.
Ian Austin said:
“People in the Midlands are furious to learn that the Government have awarded a contract to make British medals to some French company.
“Imagine opening your Distinguished Service Order or your CBE to find “Fabriqué en France” on it.
“I have visited Midlands medal manufacturers in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, and they are the best in the world.
“The Prime Minister should go back to Downing Street, call in the Cabinet Office Minister and get this scandal sorted out.”
David Cameron replied:
“The only point I would make is that I am sure that all those in the Royal Mint in Wales would want to contest that claim and argue that they make the final medals in the United Kingdom. I am sure the competition between them and Birmingham is intense. I will certainly take away what the hon. Gentleman says.
“I was not aware of the issue, but where we can make something in Britain, we should make it in Britain.”