Chatwins’ joint MD Trevor Mooney completed the 26.2 mile London Marathon in five hours, 18 minutes last weekend. He ran to raise funds for the charity Visually Impaired Children Taking Action (VICTA). His son Paul, also a Chatwins employee, had been due to run with him but had to withdraw from the race the previous week due to a knee injury. He plans to run next year.
Q. Tell me about the background of Cereform.A. Cereform is part of AB Mauri, the yeast and bakery ingredients division of Associated British Foods. The company dates back to 1982, when Associated British Foods set up AB Ingredients. It merged with Kingsgate Food Ingredients in 2001 and later that year we acquired Kerry SPP, which also made us the owner of the UK’s only soya mill. The newly combined company was named Cereform – abbreviating the term ‘cereal formulations’. Q. Forming the company must have caused quite a bit of upheaval?A. It’s been hard work but we have an excellent team, headed by five directors, and it is about working together well. There has been a lot of activity on projects, such as getting the computer systems and people from three disciplines to work together. It’s alright throwing people into teams, but it takes a lot of settling down and the product range has to be rationalised. You suddenly find you have three versions of the same product. Q. What are Cereform’s strengths and weaknesses? A. We cover most product sectors of the market but believe we are particularly strong in bread conditioners, as well as confectionery, although people don’t realise quite how strong we are in that sector. I don’t think there’s anything we are missing. The critical mass we now have works to our advantage. We have recently expanded our research and development work. It’s what we are about really. If I sum up our business, it’s about having confidential relationships with customers and helping them to take advantage of opportunities. As long as they want to come to us to help them, we will always prosper. One of our huge advantages is that we can call on specific Associated British Foods companies for help to develop products, such as very advanced conditioning systems. Q. What are your plans for the Cereform range?A. We supply 774 products, including different pack sizes. That is more than we would like. We are looking at rationalising the product range through our product optimisation team. We have a target to reduce the range down to 500 in the next six months. We have a lot of seasonal products and a lot of duplication. If we can reduce them without affecting customer choice, it will be beneficial to the business. We have got rid of 130 lines in the last 12 months. Q. Where do you think the opportunities lie for your company?A. We see opportunities in the bread sector. We have proved we are very strong with the technology we can offer. We like to think we understand what our industrial customers require. We don’t try to be a bit of everything. We have been very specialised in where we focus our activity and we have been very successful in supplying the plant bakery market. We supply all the plant bakers apart from two. Forecasted turnover is about £54m for the year to September, 2006. It has continued to grow since the conception of the business. Year on year growth is 4%.Q. What are the main product trends in the UK?A. We have an active new product development department and it is working on key areas such as low glycaemic index (GI), non-hydrogenated fat, low fat and low salt. With lowering the salt content of bread, you get two problems. The functional attributes that salt brings to the product are affected, as so is the flavour. We want to get as low a salt content as possible, but not to the detriment of the product. We tend to find a lot of our products, particularly on the bread side, are already low-GI. But we haven’t had them assessed and we are not planning to launch a GI-branded product. On hydrogenated fats we have provided an alternative for those who are looking for it. We are not imposing anything on anyone. Q. What does the future hold for bakery ingredients manufacturers?A. The market is extremely competitive and customers quite rightly are demanding. Cereform wants to grow in the UK and in Europe. We will go for key industrial targets. Hopefully, our NPD and the fact we target limited sectors means we are ideally placed to satisfy these markets. I think there will be further consolidation in the bakery ingredients world. Some of our competitors are doing better than others, shall we say. Q. How did you end up working for Cereform?A. I started with Rank Hovis in 1976, straight from school. I just wrote to the company saying ‘give me a job’. I then went on to the management trainee programme. I was initially destined for distribution management but I went on to do sales. In those days in an organisation such as Rank there were hundreds of steps between me and the sales director. I slowly went up the ladder and left as general sales manager. I looked after the craft end of the business for England and Wales. I left to become sales and marketing director for Edme in 1998. Following this I was asked to come over and take this role in 2002 when Cereform was formed. Q. What are your main interests outside work?A. I live with my partner Mariesa and her daughter in Yorkshire. I also have two boys – the oldest is 21 and is in his last year at Northumberland University doing law. Hopefully he will be able to keep me in the style I’ve become accustomed to! My younger son who is 14 is still at school. I don’t really have a great deal of time at the moment, but I have done all sorts of stupid things in the past like falling off horses and driving four-wheel-drive vehicles up and down hills. I am a bit of a petrolhead – I’m interested in anything to do with cars. I have a Mercedes with very fancy wheels and lowered suspension. I don’t let anyone else drive it in case they scratch the wheels. I have to admit I am subjected to quite a bit of Mickey-taking about my car. Living just outside Hull is hardly ideal for working in Northampton. But I’ve always lived in that area and I prefer to commute. That’s what I keep telling myself when I get up at half past five in the morning. I am predominantly office based, but I would prefer to get out more. I love the buzz of being with customers; that’s how you find out what’s going on in the business.
It’s amazing that this all started with a business plan and a warehouse in near Rotherham,” says Maple Leaf Bakery’s managing director, Peter Maycock.Eight years on, the speciality breads company has a £90m turnover and 1,000 employees. The roll call of its businesses includes New York Bagels, the French Croissant Company (FCC), which is the UK’s largest croissant producer, speciality breads supplier Avance, the former Harvestime bakery in Walsall, a pretzel foodservice bakery in Southend and another speciality bakery in Cumbria. And most of these were bought up in a bold series of acquisitions in the last 12 months.Turnover has quadrupled since the end of 2005, Maycock reveals. It doubled in March 2006, when Maple Leaf bought the Harvestime bakery in Walsall. And it doubled again in December, when it bought up Harvestime’s former sister companies, London-based FCC and Kent-based Avance, which supplies Pizza Express, among other customers.But what is behind this new force in the UK bakery market and what can we expect from it next? Well check out Maple Leaf’s pedigree. The company was set up in 1997 as the European launchpad for Canadian food giant Maple Leaf Foods.Maycock says that Maple Leaf is only interested in buying major players – number one or two in the market – and it also wants to be involved with great brands. “We want to operate at lowest cost – not cheapest, but most efficient,” he adds.As an illustration, he says the UK Maple Leaf business might one day have developed to include plant bread in the long term. But for now, there are no suitable targets for acquisition, he says: “That’s very unlikely, with British Bakeries having just been sold and Allied Bakeries and Warburtons unlikely to come up for sale.”Maycock, a former British Bakeries employee, joined Maple Leaf in the UK in 1997 and was charged with putting together the original plans for Maple Leaf’s European bakery launch. He says he concluded rapidly that speciality bread and morning goods were the big areas of growth and opportunity in the UK.Lift-off came after extensive market analysis, when Maycock noticed that Tesco was importing its in-store bagels from North America. So in 1998, with the support of Tesco, he set up an own-label production site in Swinton, near Rotherham, helped by a government grant. Maycock comments: “We started with Tesco, were fortunate enough to add Marks & Spencer in 2000 and, in 2001, we bought the New York Bagel Company and its great New York Bagel brand. At this point, we began trading with all other retailers including Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Somerfield and the Co-op and decided to put our efforts into building the bagel category.”In 2005, the company invested £12m on a new bakery line at the Swinton site, which is now the largest bagel bakery in the world, capable of producing 72,000 bagels an hour on its two production lines. Between July 2005 and July 2006, New York Plain Bagels were the second-biggest seller in the ’bakery occasions’ category, with value up by 43.2% (Warburtons Bakery Preview 2006). Bagel turnover is now running at between £24-25 million a year and Maple Leaf claims it has around an 80% share of the UK bagel market. “The site is at around 60% capacity unless there is a promotion on,” says Maycock. “That gives us space for two to four years’ growth.”Own-label accounts for about 45% of turnover and branded product for 30%. “We do all of the supermarkets because our ’boiled’ bagel has proved to be the consumer-preferred bagel type in the UK, in common with North America. UK bagel sales are growing between 15-20% year-on-year.” he says.The company recently ran a national TV advertising campaign and will spend £3m on more advertising next year, with another campaign under way this month and two more bursts later on. It has also seen very significant growth in its premium in-store bakery bagels, driven by fantastic growth at Sainsbury’s, Maycock says.With its bagel ambitions on target, Maple Leaf began to look at other opportunities. It made its move in March 2006, buying the assets of Harvestime’s Walsall site from administration.Maple Leaf was a late entrant into an administration process. It had considered
Winner: Genius Gluten Free Loaf, United Central Bakeries, Bathgate, EdinburghIt was the incredibly strong consumer emotions attached to Genius bread which made it a winner for the judges. Described by commercial director Paddy Cronin as “the first fresh gluten-free bread”, the 400g unsliced loaf can be used as ordinary bread; consumer feedback revealed real joy in the ability to eat a freshly-cut sandwich, rather than having to toast a pre-sliced alternative.Genius was developed by United in conjunction with chef Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, whom the judges called “a true innovator”. The loaf uses potato starch and cornflour and its gluten is replaced with egg proteins. On sale in a national multiple, it is due to roll out later this year.United Central Bakeries is part of the Finsbury Food Group and produces both conventional bakery and gluten- and wheat-free products for the major multiples and foodservice. It has 120 employees and a £10m turnover.Finalist: TascasLa Pizza Company, Midhurst, West SussexLa Pizza Company has been supplying authentic Italian-recipe pizza bases, dough balls and garlic bread to the foodservice industry for 14 years. Now with 26 staff and a £2.5m annual turnover, the company has added speciality breads such as focaccia to its products.Its new Tasca is a soft bread pocket for sandwich fillings, available in red onion, Caesar, plain and wholemeal varieties. The product is baked individually in circular pans, then folded over to a half-moon shape; it is treated before, during and after proving to ensure it never cracks down its seam and that it always peels apart. Chris Dickinson, operations and NPD director, describes it as providing consumers with a “very different spin” on an ordinary sandwich. “It is convenient but unusual, easy to handle but also has great cachet,” he says.Finalist: Hot RapRapid Action Packaging, Mortlake, LondonFirst-time entrant Rapid produces packaging solutions for the food-to-go industry, including flexible food wrap, cartons, paper and film. Its products are generally for cold food, such as baguettes, wraps and sandwiches, but the increasing popularity of ’grab-and-go’ hot food led the company to develop its Hot Rap solution.”The problem has always been glue melting in hot cabinets,” explains sales executive Benn Ely, “but the Hot Rap is a combination of a flexible wrap and ’pop up’ corrugated pack, which negates this.”The Hot Rap has been taken up by one multiple to pack its breakfast bap. Ely says it is particularly suited to baps, sausage rolls, savoury slices and pasties. “It’s a new product for a rapidly growing sector and it has few competitors it sells itself.”
Surely, ’always leave room for dessert’ is one of life’s truest lessons. It’s certainly one that the pudding brands manufacturers will be hoping buyers keep front of mind as they sharpen their pencils, with an eye to revving up under-performing own-label puddings possibly at the expense of the brands.”Certain supermarkets have been taking stock of their own category and organising themselves to potentially streamline next year; 2010 will be a lot tougher for brands like ours,” says Roberta Herd, assistant brand manager at Farmhouse Fare, which supplies both branded and own-label pudding pro-ducts. “We’re looking to retain our position as a quality brand, and also to look again at foodservice options.”The traditional pudding market in which it operates accounting for about a fifth of total chilled desserts sales has dipped in the last year, with promotions hitting value perception. “There has been a lot of work on deals, especially twin-packs, with a focus on promotion for the last year,” she continues. “This is driving down price and expenditure. That’s why traditional puddings are tracking slightly behind in value on last year. But Farmhouse Fare has seen really good growth about 56% in the last quarter (Nielsen, week ending 3 October 2009).” This is on the back of a new 10-strong range going into 52 more upmarket Tesco stores, as well as healthy promotional activity.News of the renewed focus on own-label comes with the latest figures from TNS, showing retailer own-labels faring worse than the brands (see overleaf). But the biggest winner after a year in recession has been the frozen desserts category. Manufacturers supplying foodservice also report gains for frozen products, though this is offset by the struggling hotel and restaurant sector, with the latter seeing a 25% rise in insolvencies in the last nine months compared to last year (PriceWaterhouseCoopers). “There is definitely a trend back to frozen due to reduced wastage,” says Angus Allan, MD of Indulgence Patisserie, which supplies a number of chilled and frozen private-label products. “But if there is such a trend in foodservice (towards supplying frozen products), they are overwhelmed by the reduced number of people eating out. My gut feeling is this will last until after the election. Retail is very buoyant, foodservice is flat, but the coffee shop sector is doing fine.”Clean-label declaration continues to be a priority, which has benefited the frozen sector. “The retailers always go after the chilled, but immediately you have a life and a wastage problem,” says Doug Chapman, MD of frozen supplier Speciality Desserts, which focuses on developing bespoke desserts to fit a brand concept in the hotel, pub and restaurant markets. “With frozen, you’ve got more flexibility. Certainly in our marketplace it’s about zero wastage.”Frozen moves upmarketWhile people become more conscious of wastage, there is also a shift away from the snootiness that saw frozen as inferior. “Caterers just need to look into high-quality, pre-prepared frozen alternatives to premium-priced, chilled options; while there may be a reluctance to accept it, sceptics will be genuinely surprised at the serious product development and premiumisation over recent years,” says Emily Frank, brand manager for Alveston Kitchens, Heinz Foodservice’s recently rebranded frozen desserts range.Meanwhile, manufacturers are having to tiptoe around risk-averse consumers. “What we’ve found from customer feedback is that they don’t want new and different desserts, as this would be too risky for them,” she says. “So our focus is on finding new twists on traditional favourites, looking at new formats, flavours and portion sizes.””Product-wise, it’s all a bit retro at the moment,” agrees Allan of Indulgence Patis-serie. There was a definite drop-off in new product development during 2009, but that appears to be returning, “mainly in the core rather than premium ranges”, he observes.But Herd of Farmhouse Fare thinks that, while NPD is creeping back, value compromises may hamper uptake. “Elsewhere this winter, we’ve seen own-label innovation geared towards restaurant-style fancy foods, such as make-your-own-cheesecake, possets, patisseries and tarts,” she says. “Time will tell, but I’m not confident the quality is there for it to work. As a brand, we stick to what we know and do best, which is luxury traditional nursery-style puddings, such as lemon, syrup, gingerbread and rice puddings.”Meanwhile, the puddings sector is having to reassert its premium values. “We have seen a growth in multi-saves ie, two for £10 and even two for ones,” says Chapman of Speciality Desserts. “As a result, it is now almost an expectation from the consumer, so the industry will find it difficult to move away from this as the economy recovers. We are starting to see a development where consumers are becoming bored of these ’safe’ choices and are looking for better quality and something a little different new ideas and concepts to excite, not just pre-cut gateaux from an ageing portfolio of dated desserts.”Some suppliers are reinforcing their value point of difference in foodservice with brand credentials. “We are driven by innovation and we’re finding that especially in the current climate there has to be a genuine point of difference for people to actually buy a dessert,” says Paul Stewart, marketing director of Aulds Delicious Desserts, which supplies frozen foodservice desserts through wholesalers, from independents up to 3663 and Brakes Group, as well as coffee shops including Caffè Nero. As such, Aulds has launched six new desserts, including a Rhubarb and Custard dessert using Courvoisier. “Spirit flavouring is something we’ve dabbled with before, but this is the first time we’ve gone with a major brand, and it has gone really well; as well as enhancing the flavour of the product, Courvoisier is adding value to the caterer’s menu and allows them to put a premium on the product.”Even so, with hotels and restaurants struggling, suppliers are finding new channels of growth. “We’ve recently seen a slight decline in the market, driven by the tough time the hotel channel is having, but we’ve seen growth coming from some channels, notably the health and welfare channel,” says Alveston’s Frank. “In 2010, when the economy starts to turn around and the fortune of hotels returns, we’ll see a direct effect on the frozen desserts market. Our consumer research showed us that, although dessert sales are declining slightly, two-thirds of consumers claim the current economic climate has not affected their dessert eating habits at all.”Meanwhile, buyers are turning away from expensive imports towards home-grown products. UK puddings and desserts manufacturers like Indulgence are benefiting from the weak pound. Allan says: “If you are a desserts manufacturer in the Eurozone, it’s increasingly hard to supply to the UK, because your pricing is uncompetitive. We’ve been asked to replace French, Italian and German manufacturers recently.”
Twitter WhatsApp (Photo/Kim Closson) OGDEN DUNES, Ind. — An Indiana town along Lake Michigan has approved spending $150,000 for expert input and emergency repairs to protect homes from sliding into the water.To entirely rebuild the seawall, it would take up to $10 million.In the meantime, officials and homeowners in the town about 25 miles southeast of Chicago are scrambling for a short-term relief.Residents of Ogden Dunes have already filed a federal lawsuit over its battle with shoreline erosion. Google+ Twitter Facebook WhatsApp Ogden Dunes to spend $150K for Lake Michigan erosion repairs By Associated Press – March 16, 2020 0 225 Facebook IndianaNews Pinterest Google+ Previous articleLawmakers OK bill cementing landmark Lake Michigan rulingNext articleLerner Theatre reschedules The Price is Right Live for August Associated PressNews from the Associated Press and its network of reporters and publications. Pinterest
WhatsApp Google+ Twitter Facebook WhatsApp Pinterest (Photo supplied/Emporium Restaurant) A downtown South Bend restaurant says they’re closing for “the forseeable future” thanks to the issues faced by the coronavirus.On their Facebook page, the Emporium restaurant said they were forced to make the difficult decision, and were “profoundly grateful” for the dedication of their staff.They also thanked the South Bend community for their patronage over the years. By Jon Zimney – May 11, 2020 0 281 Twitter IndianaLocalNews Pinterest Google+ Emporium Restaurant closed for “forseeable future” Facebook Previous articleIndiana Dept. of Revenue extends return dates againNext articleFather, son killed in crash in Michigan City Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney.
Pinterest Facebook Indiana to remain at Stage 4.5 in Back On Track plan through Sep. 25 WhatsApp Twitter Google+ CoronavirusIndianaLocalNews WhatsApp By Jon Zimney – August 27, 2020 19 2692 Twitter Pinterest Google+ Previous articleSt. Joseph County Parks offering free guided hikes this fallNext articleNew Food Pantry Map provides 40+ locations for St. Joseph County residents Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney. Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced the state will remain in Stage 4.5 of the Back On Track Indiana plan until Sep. 25.Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.Gov. Holcomb has used data to drive decisions since the state’s first case of the novel coronavirus in early March and he continues to do so. The state continues to monitor and respond to these four guiding principles:The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide has decreased for 14 daysThe state retains its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilatorsThe state retains its ability to test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic as well as health care workers, first responders, and frontline employeesHealth officials have systems in place to contact all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and expand contact tracingThe Indiana State Department of Health is updating its color-coded county positivity map to evaluate each county based on three metrics.The tracker will score counties as blue, yellow, orange or red, more easily allowing local officials to determine the best course of action. A current map is available here. The map will go live on the dashboard next week and be updated weekly.Scoring does not trigger a state requirement of any action, but provides local information and recommendations based on:Number of new cases in the past week per 100,000 residentsPercent positivity as determined by the number of positive tests divided by the total number of tests administeredThe change in percent positivity from the previous weekThe new system is designed to help local and school officials understand and respond to the level of community spread in their county. The map will be available on the ISDH coronavirus dashboard.Details and guidance will be updated at BackOnTrack.in.gov.The Governor also signed an executive order extending the public health emergency an additional 30 days.The executive order can be found here: https://www.in.gov/gov/2384.htmIndiana’s mask order and capacity limits on bars and restaurants will continue at least another month.Governor Holcomb says infection rates and hospitalizations have leveled off after surging through July and early August, but he says those numbers need to be not just flat but headed down. He says he understands Hoosiers’ frustration with the continuing restrictions, but says, “We have to deal with reality. He says flareups in different counties show how quickly the coronavirus takes advantage of opportunities, and how effective masks and other precautions are in bringing it under control.The highest positivity averages in the state are in southwest Indiana. Daviess County, which had never had more than six cases in a day, has had 147 in the last two weeks in an outbreak which state health commissioner Kris Box says began in a church and spread to local businesses. Neighboring Martin County has the state’s highest positivity average, just two weeks after the sparsely populated county went 10 days without any new cases.The percentage of virus tests statewide coming back positive climbed through July and early August before beginning to come down again the last two weeks, two weeks after the mask order took effect. Box says health officials in counties struggling to control new outbreaks have reported their residents have been resistant to the mask mandate.Through September 26, restaurants will remain limited to three-quarters capacity, and bars and entertainment venues will be capped at half capacity, the same limits which have been in place since mid-June.Holcomb says there’s no single statistic that will determine when it’s time to lift restrictions, though Box says she’d like to see positivity rates fall below five-percent — the statewide average is five-point-two-percent. But for the first time, the state is giving guidance to school districts in deciding whether it’s safe to stay open. It’s created a 0-to-3 scale based on a combination of the number of cases, the positivity rate and how that rate is changing.Box says the weekly COVID scores are a response to requests from local officials. While scores of 1 or higher include recommendations for limiting or closing school activities, Box says they’re only steps to consider, not requirements.Along with wearing masks, washing hands, and staying home if you’re sick, Box says bringing the virus under control needs a higher response rate to state and local contact tracers. She says the state will launch an ad campaign to stress the importance of answering those calls and texts. Facebook
Who can apply?To be eligible applicants must: Contact [email protected] for advice or to discuss your application. Cardiff, Wales, 5 February Ipswich, East Anglia, 5 February Birmingham, West Midlands, 6 February Brighton, South East, 7 February Plymouth, South West, 8 February Find out how Innovate UK supports diversity and inclusion. The Prince’s Trust and Innovate UK are seeking young people between 18 and 30 with business ideas that could be turned into reality.Ideas can come from anywhereThe competition – part of the ideas mean business campaign – will help young adults to make their ideas a success, no matter where they come from.Business ideas could be spotting a solution to a problem or a different way of doing things.They could involve: There will be 2 batches of events: The first events are: You must attend an event in order to apply. We will be able to reimburse costs. If you are not able to attend but still want to apply contact [email protected] to discuss. an allowance to cover time spent working on the idea coaching and mentoring from an innovation champion a funding pot for activities or resources, such as travelling to meet customers and partners, training courses, equipment, office space and IT People currently receiving support from the Prince’s Trust’s in-person Enterprise programme are also eligible to apply.How to registerApplicants will need to register with The Prince’s Trust, where they will then be able to sign up to attend one of a series of regional events. These events will help young people to develop their ideas and give more information about the application process. ideas mean businessWhat support is on offer?Support is available to young innovators who can commit 15 hours a week to developing their idea.This award will include: About the campaignLast year, YouGov research – commissioned by The Prince’s Trust and Innovate UK – found that 82% of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds found the business sector difficult to access. 4 in 5 would not know where to get advice about setting up a business.However, more than half said they would like to run their own company and 39% had ideas for products and services they could sell.Ideas mean business launched to address these issues and support and empower young people into innovation. It is part of Innovate UK’s diversity and inclusion commitment. Read the report. Newcastle, North East, 26 February Belfast, Northern Ireland, 26 February York, Yorkshire and the Humber, 27 February Manchester, North West, 1 March Glasgow, Scotland, 2 March Nottingham, East Midlands, 2 March Find out more about the programme and apply. changing something for the better in a local community a new way of using technology to fix an everyday problem a new way to tackle an environmental issue be a UK resident that has the right to work in the UK, or is applying for the right to do so be unemployed or working less than 35 hours a week not be studying or studying less than 14 hours a week be aged between 18 and 30 If you attend one of these events you will need to submit your application by 1 March 2018.The second batch of events will be: Delegates to these events must apply by 22 March 2018.
Read more about the UK government response to the use of a nerve agent in Salisbury. Mr Chair, Director General, when I spoke to this Council yesterday I asked your permission to address this Council Session again to update on developments concerning the use of chemical weapons in Salisbury, and the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal with a ‘Novichok’: a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia. Based on this capability, combined with Russia’s record of conducting state sponsored assassinations – including against former intelligence officers who they regard as legitimate targets – the UK government concluded that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for this reckless and despicable act.We have engaged bilaterally with the Russian Federation. On 12 March my Foreign Secretary summoned the Russian Ambassador to London and sought explanations from his government within 24 hours. As my Prime Minister has said, we offered the Russian government the opportunity to provide an explanation. We explained to Russia that if it had somehow lost control of its stock, it needed to immediately provide full disclosure of the programme, and account for this loss. But their response has demonstrated complete disdain for the gravity of these events.Russia has provided no explanation; and no meaningful response.No explanation as to how this agent came to be used in the United Kingdom; no explanation as to why Russia has an undeclared chemical weapons programme contravening its obligations under the chemical weapons convention.Instead they have treated the first ever aggressive use of a nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt and defiance.As my Prime Minister said in the United Kingdom’s Parliament this afternoon, there can be no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr Skripal and his daughter – and for threatening the lives of other British citizens in Salisbury, including Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. This represents an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the United Kingdom.It also represents a violation of the fundamental prohibition on the use of chemical weapons contained in Article 1 of the Chemical Weapons Convention.Russia’s attempt to hide behind a false interpretation of Articles in the Chemical Weapons Convention should fool no one. We asked for clarification on a matter of urgent national security for the United Kingdom, concerning a serious violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Russia has provided none. Instead of engaging on the substantive concern, Russia has sought to mire us and this Executive Council in procedural argument. Article 9 does not oblige states which are the victims of chemical weapons to refrain from seeking rapid response to their immediate and urgent concerns. Not only that, as you have all heard in this room yesterday, the Russians have stated that they regard the premise of our question – the findings of our investigation to date – as based on lies.We have also been scrupulous in briefing the OPCW Technical Secretariat. On 8 March we notified the Technical Secretariat of the incident. My Foreign Secretary called the Director General on 12 March to update him on the facts of the case. I have briefed the Director General, most recently today, and my Prime Minister is writing to him with a further update. We have welcomed the offers of assistance from the Director General and the Technical Secretariat. And, as my Prime Minister said in the UK Parliament earlier today, we are working with the police to enable the OPCW to independently verify our analysis. This horrendous incident is now the subject of a UK criminal investigation, and we have legal obligations as a result to ensure that we share our information only in accordance with the law.Russia will complain that we have not shared any samples. There are no provisions in the Convention that require the UK to share its samples collected as part of a criminal investigation with Russia in this type of scenario.Mr Chair, British citizens have been endangered. It was an indiscriminate, brazen and reckless act against the United Kingdom, which put the lives of British citizens at risk. There is a real urgency to resolve this situation.Given what Russia said in this Council yesterday – that our case was founded on lies and dirty information – it is clear that Russia does not plan to address our substantive concerns.Mr Chair, nobody can doubt our commitment to the CWC, particularly at a time when there has been a use of chemical weapons on our territory against our citizens. We will continue to work with the Technical Secretariat, and will keep this Council informed of developments.