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 Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy