Cemex in threat to quit town

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SPIRALLING costs and increased taxes running to millions of pounds could result in one of Rugby’s biggest employers leaving town.

Cemex, which employs around 170 staff at its plant in Lawford Road, said this week that a huge hike in energy costs and government ‘green’ taxes could result in it paying an additional £20 million per year.

Andy Spencer, sustainability director at the firm, said: “What we’re finding is that there are a number of measures that are starting to stack up against us which could affect our long-term production in the UK and would mean potentially moving our operations abroad.”

Mr Spencer said that if costs and taxes continue as forecast then Cemex could be at a ‘tipping point’ within the next few years.

He said: “For years UK taxes have been less competitive than other parts of Europe, energy prices are escalating rapidly and the economy is stacked against us.

“We really don’t want this to happen. We want to stay in the UK.”

Cemex, whose share prices has fallen drastically following the downturn in the economy, is now trying to work with the government to come up with a package of measures to help energy-intensive companies.

Mr Spencer said: “There is a genuine fear that if government don’t listen and if taxation measures go ahead then long term we will reach that tipping point.

“It does not mean that we will immediately pack up and move production abroad but if we’re on the wrong side of that tipping point we would have to reduce investment in the UK.

“That would not be good for the UK, Rugby or Warwickshire.”

Cemex said that if it was to move its operations overseas, then only the plant would close - still leaving the main head office in Rugby.

The company stressed its planned relocation of its Evreux Way offices will still go ahead and it is currently looking at locations ‘very close to the town centre’.

Roy Sandison, Rugby Green Party spokesman, dismissed the threat to leave the town as an empty one.

He said: “A big company like Cemex that makes millions of pounds should be able to pay taxes. “It’s a load of baloney.”