Ceramics leaders call on Government to “buy British” ahead of March Budget

CERAMIC industry trade association the British Ceramic Confederation has called for the Government to back UK manufacturers ahead of next week’s Budget.

The organisation, which represents more than 90 per cent of the UK ceramic industry’s manufacturing capacity, wants the Government to “use every opportunity to buy British” and to promote UK manufactured goods internationally.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Confederation’s 90 member companies directly employed more than 17,500 people and generated annual sales of £1.6bn (including more than £0.6bn of exports), with 57 per cent of exports going to the EU.

In their representation to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, the Confederation has called for a range of measures to help the ceramics sector recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and grow trade post- Brexit, as well as supporting the sector in the Government’s goal to decarbonise the UK economy by 2050.

These include:

* the extension of financial support to the supply chains of sectors badly affected by Covid

* more support for Brexit-related costs for exporters

* support on COVID-related industrial energy and carbon costs for energy-intensive consumers

* the extension or replacement of the Job Retention Scheme

* increased funding for trade missions and exhibitions

* financial support to develop and deploy new industrial decarbonisation technologies appropriate for ceramics

* to establish a National Manufacturing Skills Taskforce to redeploy skilled workers and retrain those who have been made redundant

Dr Andrew McDermott, Technical Director of the British Ceramic Confederation, said: “Next week’s budget comes at a critical time, with the sector facing the triple challenge of recovering from COVID-19, adapting to new trading arrangements with the EU and transitioning towards net-zero emissions while being internationally competitive.

“COVID-19 and the ensuing economic shock has had a sudden and dramatic impact on all ceramic businesses and supply chains, and exports have understandably taken a hit.

“We call on the Government to use every opportunity to buy British, re-launch the Great Britain and Northern Ireland international promotion campaign to generate jobs and growth, and encourage the use of UK manufactured goods.”

The 2021 Budget will take place on Wednesday, March 3.

ENDS

For further information please contact:

Hannah Hiles, Communications Manager, British Ceramic Confederation

M: 07535 084055 E-mail:  hannahh@ceramfed.co.uk

Free lecture to explore ceramics manufacturing processes

ACADEMICS and industrialists are invited to a free online event exploring development and innovation in the ceramics industry, one of the UK’s Foundation Industry sectors.

The Frank Scott Russell Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, March 3, will kick off the 2021 events programme from the Ceramics Innovation Network (CIN), which will bring together academics and industrialists to explore the development and innovation opportunities of sintering and firing in the ceramics industry.

The speakers are refractory specialist Jan Theron, of materials technology company Lucideon, who will give a lecture entitled From Toffee Bond to Ceramic Bond, and Professor Ian Reaney, who will provide an update on the Transforming Foundation Industries Network+ initiative.

Jon Flitney, Energy and Innovation Manager at the British Ceramic Confederation, said: “This is a great opportunity to learn more about this part of the manufacturing process and look towards future developments in the ceramics industry.”

CIN consists of the British Ceramic Confederation (BCC) and Lucideon, and is supported by the University of Surrey, the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and the Frank Scott Russell Memorial Fund.

Book your place here.

Financial help available for clay workers in need

WORKERS in the ceramics industry who are suffering financial difficulties can apply to a national organisation for assistance.

The Institute of Clayworkers Benevolent Fund, which is administered by the British Ceramic Confederation, is open to applications from employees, past and present, of UK-based companies engaged in the production of heavy clay and refractory goods (bricks, roof tiles, pipes and refractories).

Beneficiaries are typically people who have been unable to work for some time through ill health or accident, or whose employment has been terminated on medical grounds, and who may now be struggling financially. Examples of assistance given in recent years includes a contribution towards the purchase of a wheelchair for a disabled former worker, and a grant to an employee who was on long-term sick leave after a fall at work led to back problems.

Pensioners from within the industry and widows and widowers of former employees can also apply. However, ‘furlough status’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic does not fall within the remit, and applications made on this basis will not be eligible.

Fund administrator Helen Clarke, of the British Ceramic Confederation, said: “We are keen to hear from any potential candidates for assistance and we ask companies who may be aware of any eligible people in need to put them in touch with the Institute.”

The Institute also recognises long service and employees completing 40 years continuous service within the heavy clay and refractories industries are eligible to receive a silver medal.

For more information about the fund or long service awards, please contact Helen Clarke on 01782 572852 or HelenC@ceramfed.co.uk

New communications manager at British Ceramic Confederation

CERAMICS industry trade association the British Ceramic Confederation has appointed Hannah Hiles as its new communications manager.

The 41-year-old, from Newcastle, joins the Stoke-on-Trent-based national organisation after seven years as a freelance writer and proofreader. She has previously been a journalist at The Sentinel and Birmingham Mail, and media and communications manager at Keele University.

Chief executive Dr Laura Cohen MBE said: “We are delighted to welcome Hannah to the BCC team as we continue to represent and protect our members, and help them grow their businesses.”

Hannah added: “I’m looking forward to working with our members and stakeholders to help provide a single voice for ceramics manufacturing in the UK.”