Authorities urged to back Axminster Carpets rescue plan

PUBLISHED: 08:02 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:41 11 February 2020

Josh Dutfield and his late father Simon pictured in front of a  portrait of the late Harry Dutfield who founded the Axminster Carpets factory.

Josh Dutfield and his late father Simon pictured in front of a portrait of the late Harry Dutfield who founded the Axminster Carpets factory.

Archant

Civic leaders across East Devon are calling for people to support plans to rescue Axminster Carpets.

Liz PoleLiz Pole

The company, which employs around 100 people, last week announced that it has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

Liz Pole, Labour's spokesperson for Tiverton and Honiton constituency, described the likely loss of more skilled jobs on top of last year's redundancies as 'a blow'.

She said: "Our local economy is already under significant strain due to the government's culture of economic uncertainty, cuts to local authorities' budgets, poor digital connectivity and unaffordable housing.

"We call on MPs, Devon County Council, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and East Devon District Council to undertake a review of the situation with a view to supporting a rescue plan, understanding the impact of the closure on the local economy and providing fair funding for business and local authorities in the South West."

Cllr Ian HallCllr Ian Hall

Axminster Conservative county councillor Ian Hall said: "Axminster Carpets has been synonymous with the town since 1755 and the company has an unrivalled reputation for quality craftmanship.

"Discussions over the future of the business are at a delicate stage and everyone within the local community will hope that it leads to a positive outcome in the coming days.

"As a local resident, councillor and former Axminster Carpets employee, my thoughts are with the 89 employees and their families during this uncertain time."

It is not the first time that jobs have been threatened at Axminster Carpets. Last year the company called for voluntary redundancies, saying it needed to streamline operations because of uncertainty over the affects of Brexit.

In 2013, nearly three quarters of the 400 jobs at the plant were lost as part of a dramatic rescue deal for the business.

Axminster Carpets was founded by Thomas Whitty in 1755 and original Axminster carpets can be found in Chatsworth House and Brighton Pavilion. However there was a gap in production following a fire that destroyed the factory.

The decision was made to relaunch carpet manufacturing in the town in 1937. Harry Dutfield and his family successfully ran the business for many years. The firm was awarded a royal warrant in 2012.


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