A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Rakem's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Rakem is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
34 | RAKEM
Kieran, Kevin and Eugene
Our new 25,000-sq-ft
manufacturing site
The Rakem Group was founded in 1996 in Bolton,
Lancashire, by Francis Rafferty, who had worked for
Sachtleben Chemicals for over 20 years. Beginning as
Rakem, a chemical distribution company, their reputation grew
rapidly within the industry as a reliable, knowledgeable and
enthusiastic new company. Using their father’s experience,
the three brothers were able to aid the construction, coatings
and plastics industries with novel new products, primarily
titanium dioxide. By 1999, the company had outgrown their
Bolton offices and moved to Bury with a new warehouse of
From there the company blossomed, quickly turning into the Rakem Group,
which was comprised of five companies. Maker Industrial was the first sister
company to be formed, utilising our wide portfolio of raw materials; they began
by making pigment slurries for the paper industry followed by water-based paints
and construction materials. Operating as confidential Toll Manufacturers, they are
able to offer a variety of manufacturing and packing services.
Closely following Maker, Cemkem was formed, specialising in the manufacturing
and distribution of additives for the dry bagged mortar and cementitious
industries. Cemkem prides itself on being the home of the novel lithium
carbonate, Lithkem. With three companies now operating at full capacity, we
became the Rakem Group. In 2018, we will welcome two more companies:
Hydropak andEnvirokem.
»Managing directors: Kieran,
Kevin andEugene Rafferty
»Established in 1996
»Based in Bury, Lancashire
»Services: Chemical
manufacture anddistribution
»No. of employees: 35
»Family-run business
Can you imagine a world
without pigment?
Day to day, we use objects and have
no idea how they have been made, or
what they are made of. Many people
do not realise how common the
chemical titanium dioxide is in everyday
items. From sun cream to paracetamol
to paints and plastics – if it is white or
opaque, there is a very high chance
it contains titanium dioxide. Here at
Rakem we love titanium dioxide, our
number one selling pigment, where
it is used in the manufacturing of all
paints, plastics and inks made here in
the UK. Rakem have a wide range of
products that complement the use of
titanium dioxide in formulations. We
have used titanium dioxide to grow all
our current businesses, from the paints
produced in Maker to the by-product
being sold on to the construction
industry by Cemkem.
We are proud of our reputation as a
group of innovative companies. We
strive to always represent companies
offering novel products to help our
customers achieve the best quality
results, while also reducing costs and
improving efficiency.
Maker has rapidly expanded in two
years, now operating across two
sites, with over 40,000 square feet of
production space and two state-of-
the-art labs, constantly researching
ways to improve their products,
which are manufactured on behalf
of famous everyday brands. Using
the raw materials we sell, Maker has
an advantage in the market, as it
can work closely with the supplier,
ensuring it maintains confidence with
the customer through all stages of
the manufacturing and development
In 2017, Cemkem introduced
their novel alternative to lithium
carbonate – Lithkem. Based on
blends of organometallic and metal
salts, Lithkem and Lithkem+ react to
accelerate the hydration process of
both fast-set cements and Portland
cement. In a rapidly developing
industry, Cemkem strive to be forward
thinking and continue to manufacture
products which achieve high-
Damian Baxendale, director of
Cemkem Limited, comments: “Lithium
carbonate is a chemical admixture
that can be used to adjust and
accelerate the setting time of fast-
setting cementitious binder systems
such as high-alumina cements
(HAC) and calcium sulfoaluminate
(CSA) and alumina or CSA-Portland
“Common applications for fast-
setting cements include tile adhesives,
self-levelling floor compounds,
concrete repair compounds and
“Demand for lithium, the hottest
commodity on the planet, is poised
to continue on its upward trajectory,
becoming the world’s new gasoline
and earning the nickname ‘’white
petroleum” due to its use in lithium
batteries for electric cars.
Third generation Caitlin
The Rakem
Group are
proud that
they have the
reputation as
a group of
Highlighting best practice
36 | RAKEM
“The lithium demand for battery
production is expected to increase
significantly as demand for plug-
in hybrid electric and all-electric
“Due to the high demand and
restricted supply, lithium carbonate
prices have experienced significant
increases over the last few years and
this trend is expected to continue as
“Increasing lithium carbonate prices
have impacted directly on the dry
mortar producers and in reaction to
this Cemkem initiated a development
programme to look at developing a
lithium carbonate replacement as a
commercially viable alternative which
isn’t so directly linked to market
availability and pricing on lithium.”
In December 2017, we moved into our
purpose-built offices, with state-of-
the-art research and development labs
and a 25,000 square foot warehouse.
Remaining on the same industrial
estate in Bury, we are now planning
our third and fourth buildings, which
will allow Maker and Cemkem to
expand their manufacturing facilities.
Alongside manufacturing expansion,
we gained over 15 new employees
in 2017. We are proud to welcome
our first group of apprentices. This
expansion has covered all aspects
of the business, and we now have
apprentices in admin, sales, technology
and manufacturing. These apprentices
will shadow managers, while studying
at nearby Bury College over the next
two years.
Steve Bunker, our chairman,
comments: “The board strongly
believe in the value of training and
development and its investment in
apprentices across most disciplines in
the business reflects this. Government
support and drive in this area is
welcomed and gives us confidence
that our recruitment strategies are in
line with central policies for UK PLCs.
“The Rakem Group has continued to
expand its workforce with the addition
of two new development chemists
and a sales director joining the team
in Q1.”
Beyond the pigment
From a small company comprising
just five people to a team of 35
today, we have become a significant
employer in the community and
we feel it is important to give back
to our local town. In 2017, we
participated in the Bury Hospice
Corporate Challenge; starting with
£50, which we managed to turn into
over £30,000. Bury is a thriving town
with a big community spirit, and we
were honoured to sponsor the Pride
of Bury Awards and look forward to
continuing our support. We are also
avid football fans, and have chosen
to support three local teams including
Ramsbottom FC and Walshaw Junior
club, assisting with the purchase of
new kit and development of improved
training facilities.
expansion the
company has
gained over
15 new
employees in
Rakem staff at a charity
football match in aid of
Bury Hospice


This article was sponsored by Rakem. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister