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UK cement industry: infrastructure investment and energy costs

World Cement,

MPA calls for energy cost help for UK cement industry

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has called on the UK Government to provide greater energy cost support for the cement industry. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published a report confirming that the cement sector in the UK is at a disadvantage to international competitors due to climate change policy and high energy costs. The MPA has stated that the UK cement industry is committed to addressing climate change and has cut its CO2 emissions by 57% since 1990. However, the MPA has expressed fears that unless the Government takes action to support the industry and compensate it for electricity costs, as it does with other energy intensive industries, then the UK cement sector will become a less attractive option than imported cement.

According to Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive of the MPA: “While accepting that there is a need to manage our response to climate change our members have been telling us for some time that they have been struggling with the cumulative burden of rising electricity costs and ‘green taxes’ designed to accomplish this. In turn we have conveyed these messages to Government in the strongest possible terms. Now its own commissioned work backs this up.”

Infrastructure investment boost

However, some positive news for the industry has come from the UK Government, which has announced a new Guarantees scheme to increase investment in infrastructure and provide a boost to UK exporters. The Guarantee scheme will aid infrastructure projects that have been delayed due to the current credit situation. It is estimated that around £40 billion worth of projects will be eligible for the scheme. All applicants are required to be ready to begin construction within a year of the Guarantee being awarded.

A temporary lending programme has also been introduced to help finance Public Private Partnership infrastructure projects that lack sufficient private investment. A further £6 billion worth of projects are thought to be eligible for this scheme. A refinancing facility will also provide long-term loans for overseas buyers of UK exports. This will aid a number of sectors, including hospital and sports infrastructure projects.

UK infrastructure partnership formed

Siemens Industry UK has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Morgan Sindall Group plc, a UK construction and regeneration group, to form a technology and infrastructure partnership. Siemens will advise Morgan Sindall on technical aspects of projects and a reciprocal trading agreement will be put in place between the two firms. The memorandum has come into immediate effect.

 “I am delighted that we have entered into a partnership with Morgan Sindall Group. This is a great example of two leading companies working together to create jobs, growth and investment. I am proud that our two businesses will work together to develop key UK infrastructure projects – it is a sign that we are optimistic about growth, and that we are more than confident to invest in the UK marketplace,” said Juergen Maier, Siemens Industry UK Managing Director.

Adapted from press release by Louise Fordham.

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