Imports of stone in the second quarter of 2014 continued to increase, including crema marfil marble.

They were up 10% on the first quarter of the year and 7% on the same quarter last year, according to figures from HM Revenue & Customs.

For the first half of the year as a whole, imports were up 6% on the first half of 2013. It is estimated that about 300 stone companies in the UK were forced out of business – around 7.5% of the industry – many of them in the kitchen worktop market, a sector that was hit by the general fall in incomes and consumer confidence and the crash of housebuilding.