Securing the future of the Pfizer site
Pfizer has been an integral part of the East Kent community for 50 years. Its decision to close its pharmaceutical research and development work in Sandwich was a real body blow to the local area and the thousands of staff and contractors it employs.
Attracting new businesses onto the site and securing investment has been crucial in creating new employment opportunities for existing staff. Within 24 hours, an Economic Taskforce was formed by Government, the Prime Minister had given us his support, and the Science Minister had visited the site.
The site, now called Discovery Park, has been given Enterprise Zone status and is going from stength to stength with 60 companies and 1400 jobs on-site as of December 2013.
Sandys Welcomes Business Minister to Discovery Park
Minister pays testament to “one of the most successful enterprise zones in the country”
60 Companies and 1400 Jobs On-site
19th December 2013
Laura Sandys welcomed the Minister of State for Business and Energy, Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, to Discovery Park as he met with some of the 60 businesses now on-site.
Laura said: “It was great to be able to show the Minister around Discovery Park, an enterprise zone that in just over a year has attracted 55 very exciting companies from all over the world. We visited Augean’s waste recovery facility which provides incineration at high temperatures coupled with energy recovery before meeting with CleanTec, a growing manufacturer of ecological cleaning products supplying one of the country’s largest supermarkets.
“Since the site’s purchase 16 months ago, the new owners have attracted 600 more employees bringing the total to 1400 which is very good news indeed. The support we have secured has been absolutely invaluable in saving the site and literally hundreds of jobs so I was very pleased that the Minister had the opportunity to see its success firsthand. Discovery Park has achieved a huge amount in 2013 alone and I am certain that we will have lots more positive news to celebrate over the coming year.”
Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP commented: “Discovery Park is one of the largest business parks in Europe and of huge importance to the local economy. The Government has worked closely with the private sector and local representatives to help ensure its success for the future.
“The site is recovering strongly from the fragile position it faced in 2011 and is now one of the most successful enterprise zones in the country. I’m extremely encouraged that there are now 60 companies on site providing around 1,400 jobs. But the hard work isn’t yet done – the ambition is to create 3,000 jobs here by 2017.”
Sandys Welcomes News of 1000+ Jobs at Discovery Park
20th February 2013
Laura Sandys welcomed the news that there are now over 1000 people working on the Discovery Park site.
Laura attended a business breakfast organised by Thanet & East Kent Chamber Ltd. where Paul Barber, the new owner of the former Pfizer site, spoke to the group about developments at the site.
Speaking after the meeting, Laura said: “We were all left in shock when Pfizer announced that they would be pulling out of Sandwich completely. Now just two years on, we have not only secured Enterprise Zone status for the site but there is already real growth. Pfizer is also still present on the site and has even been recruiting recently. Paul Barber gave an engaging presentation at the Thanet & East Kent Chamber Ltd. meeting highlighting that there are over now 1000 jobs on the site. This is extremely positive news, not least in such a short timeframe.
“Even more exciting is the Discovery Park’s global ambition. With world class facilities available at the site, the Discovery Park offers an exceptional proposition. The site also now has its own UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) account manager to work with the site owners and local partners to help maximise the potential investment opportunities of the site. I think that there are some very exciting times to come.”
Laura with Chamber Chief Executive, David Foley, and Director of Discovery Park, Paul Barber.
Laura Sandys MP Welcomes Exciting New Start for Pfizer Site
2nd August 2012
This afternoon Pfizer have announced the sale of the Discovery Park in Sandwich to a specially created company named ‘Discovery Park Limited’. The new owners have a huge amount of experience in building outstanding business parks and will be able to attract world class businesses to the fantastic facilities in Sandwich.
Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet and Sandwich, said: “I am thrilled that Pfizer have sold the site at Sandwich. After hearing that the new owners have already had a number of enquiries from companies looking to move to Sandwich, I am very confident that many new jobs will be created. This is very exciting for the local community and should see the start of further investment into the area. Sandwich is a great place to do business and I am sure this will be a huge success.”
Pfizer site one year on: investment and building blocks for jobs and growth
6th March 2012
The Task Force set up to mitigate Pfizer’s proposed exit from the Sandwich site presented a report to Science Minister David Willetts MP on Tuesday 6 March detailing a series of massive successes achieved since the announcement on 1 February 2011.
Publication of the Task Force’s ‘One Year Report’ came as Kent County Council announced that a number of start-up companies had been offered ‘accelerator grants’ from a dedicated £200,000 fund to help with start-up costs associated with establishing a small business at the site, which is now being marketed as Discovery Park.
Headed by Kent County Council Leader, Paul Carter, the Pfizer Task Force has secured millions of pounds of investment funding, and developed the building blocks to grow business and offset the direct job losses at the site from Pfizer and other indirect jobs across East Kent.
Laura Sandys, Thanet South MP, said:
“It was a really dark day for my constituents when Pfizer announced their planned exit. But with the Prime Minister’s support, we were able to establish the Sandwich Task Force to galvanise all strands of Government. One year on, with the backing of Pfizer, local and national Government, we have secured Enterprise Zone status, £40million Regional Growth Fund, flood defence funding and immediate start-up grants for new businesses in East Kent.
“With hundreds of jobs now secure and discussions with a potential new buyer for the site in advanced stages, what seemed like a disastrous day a year ago looks much more promising. There is a lot more to do, but we are on track and have demonstrated that Thanet and Sandwich have an economic future worth investing in and a skills-base that is attractive to any employer.”
The Pfizer Task Force’s key achievements include:
- Retaining or creating 800 jobs at Discover Park – following Pfizer’s decision to retain a presence on the Sandwich site, plus new employment at Mylan, Peakdale and Unilabs.
- More than 12 start-up companies in development on site.
- Regional Growth Fund package – £35 million investment in direct support to business across East Kent. Linked with the East Kent Growth Strategy, the funding administered under ‘Expansion East Kent’ will unlock £300 million in private investment to create and maintain 5,000 jobs.
- Enterprise Zone designation – incentive package of business rate discounts and simplified planning.
- Flood defence package – £24 million investment (from Kent County Council, Pfizer and the Environment Agency) agreed to secure long-term future of the site.
- Immediate support for start up companies – accelerator grants of up to £20,000 and business support in place for new companies emerging from Pfizer.
- High Speed rail services – a £10 million scheme in place to improve rail services from Sandwich, significantly reducing journey times to/from London.
Sandys Welcomes Pfizer's Decision to Retain 650 Jobs in Sandwich
5th December 2011
Announcement Follows Enterprise Zone Status and New £40million Fund for Local Jobs
Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet and Sandwich, has welcomed Pfizer’s decision to retain around 650 jobs on the Sandwich site. The posts retained will be a combination of pharmaceutical sciences and other scientific and business functions.
Laura – who sits on the Sandwich Taskforce – said: “It is superb news for the staff, the site and the local community that 650 jobs are being retained in Sandwich. This figure is significantly better than the 350 jobs the company were initially planning on retaining and demonstrates quite how far we have come in recent months.
“Today’s decision follows a series of successful announcements in recent weeks. With Enterprise Zone status and a Regional Growth Fund worth £40 million, Thanet and Sandwich have become hugely attractive places to invest and set-up businesses. As well as an existing company on site expanding its operations, we are starting to see the formation of small spin-out research companies by Pfizer employees. With the recent close of the bidding deadline for the Discovery Park, I am hopeful that the hard work and extensive support by Government will pay off and new companies will take over the remainder of the site.”
Sandys at Regional Growth Fund launch: ‘We are now on the map!’
18th November 2011
'Raising the Game in East Kent'- my presentation at the launch of the Regional Growth Fund: http://tinyurl.com/6sr47z6
At the launch of the Regional Growth Fund, Laura Sandys said that it was now time to “be confident about what we are can achieve in East Kent for the local economy and attract jobs with the significant support of Government.
“The Government is investing £40million into jobs into the East Kent economy. Companies who are looking to take on new people can apply whether they are a micro company or a large operation. In addition, East Kent will also be profiled by UK Trade and Investment across the world, aiming to attract inward investment from other countries.
“With my fellow MPs I have long been making the case to the Government that East Kent was not thriving economically in the same way as the rest of the South East. And with so much to offer I believe that our economy should be doing better. Sometimes we do not realise that we have so many world class operations from a growing renewables sector, a life sciences, exceptional visitor attractions and leading world brands such as Hornby.
“The new fund will offer a £40 million programme of grant support for projects and programmes that leverage private sector investment and will help businesses expand their operations and create new jobs.”
The programme is currently being established with grants expected to become available in Spring 2012. Anyone interested in applying for a grant should register their interest at: Enquiries@locateinkent.com or call 01732 520 700. More information can also be found at: www.kent.gov.uk/businessgrants
Enterprise Zone for Discovery Park at Sandwich: Start of new economic regeneration for East Kent
17th August 2011
Today marks an important and significant step in regenerating the East Kent Economy following the departure of Pfizer announced this year. The Government’s designation of the Discovery Park - located between Sandwich and Ramsgate - as an Enterprise Zone is extremely good news for East Kent. Not only is this the first Government that has recognised that the South East has pockets of serious deprivation, it is also the only Government to give a vote of confidence to East Kent and to recognise it as an area with significant economic potential.
The presence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Minister for Science and Universities and the Minister of State for Communities and Local Government in Sandwich today is strong evidence of the Government’s commitment and belief that we have a dynamic future.
Enterprise Zone status will offer new start-ups business rate relief, it will provide a hub for high tech as well as a lower skilled workforce as it has a wide range of commercial buildings with different specialisations. With the size of the site equating to a small town, the opportunity to develop manufacturing as well as science-based businesses is unique in the South East.
This announcement today is not an immediate remedy to those who have lost or are losing their jobs at Pfizer but it offers a real opportunity that the area will be able to support their specialist skills and valued expertise into the future.
Having secured Enterprise Zone status and a deal to implement flood defences, East Kent can move towards diversifying its economy, attracting new businesses, and creating new jobs. I am thrilled that the community has been given the tools by Government to regenerate and start building a new economic base.
The Government and the Sandwich Taskforce, have worked tirelessly over the last six months. The decision to award the site Enterprise Zone status – one of only 21 in the country – shows that this Government takes a more nuanced approach to regional economies than the previous Regional Development Agency model. Enterprise Zones have brought prosperity to areas in the past and I am sure that East Kent will reap the rewards into the future.
The deal to implement flood defences in Sandwich constitutes an historic moment for the town. I am delighted that the constructive visit to Sandwich by the Flooding Minister, Richard Benyon MP, and the excellent work done by the Environment Agency means that the town will be flood free. After years of campaigning, the residents and businesses in the medieval town of Sandwich will be protected.
I have seen, first hand, central and local government working together at its best. We have negotiated as one team, participated towards a common goal.
For the first time in decades, the East Kent economy is seen as having potential and opportunity by national Government. Today’s measures will put us onto a more stable footing and will help drive forward East Kent’s economic growth.
- Sandwich site awarded Enterprise Zone Status;
- Flood defences for Sandwich through a public-private partnership;
- High-Speed train service for Sandwich from September;
- Seaside Towns Fund for voluntary and green organisations;
- Pfizer retained 350 jobs on the Sandwich site
On behalf of South Thanet and Sandwich, I would like to thank for their commitment and support: The Minister for Universities and Science, The Rt Hon. David Willetts MP; Officials at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; Paul Carter and staff at Kent County Council; and my fellow East Kent MPs – Roger Gale MP, Charlie Elphicke MP, Julian Brazier MP, Damian Collins MP and Hugh Robertson MP
Laura Sandys MP and Taskforce Help Secure 350 Jobs at Pfizer Site, Sandwich
26th June 2011
Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet and Sandwich, welcomed Pfizer’s decision to retain a research presence on the Sandwich site. This move will secure 350 jobs in pharmaceutical science.
Laura said: “This is one, of what I hope will be, several successes for the future of the site in Sandwich. The Taskforce’s hard work since the initial exit announcement has paid off - this news is certainly encouraging. The Taskforce has been leading the way in marketing East Kent as a centre for renewable, low carbon investment to both national and international companies. We are also working with several venture capital companies and higher education organisations to put in place a mixed economic regeneration package for East Kent. We are submitting an application for an Enterprise Zone and Regional Growth Funding and hope that financial support will be forthcoming from Government.
“However, it is clear East Kent still faces challenges and my thoughts are with those staff who have received their redundancy notices. I will continue to work with Pfizer and CBRE to market the site and also to identify potential investors. On Friday, the Minister for Arts and Culture, Ed Vaizey MP, is launching The Destination History Challenge – a project that brings together our cultural and historic local attractions in an effort to more effectively market Thanet. Tourists are a huge boost to our local economy – this year’s Golf Open will bring in over £18 million - and so extending the holiday season is an important part of regenerating Thanet.”
Pfizer has stated it hoped this retained presence will help attract new investors and occupants onto the site. The site is presently being marketed as a ‘Discovery Park’ through its brokers CBRE and in collaboration with UK Trade and Investment and Locate in Kent.
£40 million from Government to support East Kent jobs- brilliant news for East Kent!
31st October 2010
The Government today announced that East Kent has won its Regional Growth Fund Bid. The fund supports projects and programmes that leverage private sector investment and will help businesses expand their operations and create new jobs.
Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet and Sandwich said: “I am thrilled that we have been successful in our bid to gain £40 million to create local jobs. This is an amazing achievement for East Kent. While we know that East Kent is not paved with gold, years of misunderstanding under the last Labour Government has meant we have had to put a strong case forward highlighting the local economic challenges.
“This is a real boost for new and expanding companies which are located in East Kent or who would like to locate in East Kent.
“I see this as a crucial part of our economic regeneration supporting the Objective 2 area in East Kent (Thanet and the Sandwich Corridor) with 50% of the money and 50% being allocated to other parts of East Kent. We will now need to profile the area nationally and internationally to ensure that we are seen as a prime location for businesses.
“This bid is focused on supporting large and small companies that will generate jobs focused on new technologies and the life sciences with support for R&D. It will also help fund those companies that are looking for new plant and machinery that will result in new jobs and also infrastructure improvements when they can be shown to be directly linked to job creation.
“I am particularly pleased to see that there will be a particular focus on science, the renewable energy sector and tourism based around heritage and culture. These are the sectors of the future and we in Thanet and Sandwich must be a part of these emerging markets.
“For the first time in years we have a Government that understands East Kent. This significant sum illustrates the potential of East Kent to be a centre for business and jobs.
Science Minister: Great Potential Future for the Sandwich Facility
Laura Sandys MP with the Minister for Science and Head of the Pfizer Site in Sandwich.
In an adjournment debate led by Laura Sandys MP, the Minister for Science last night stated: “I see a great potential future for the Sandwich facility.” The Minister also said that he understood the need for the support that Laura had called for from Government and that the arguments being made were powerful.
Whilst Laura commended the Sandwich management team at Pfizer, she argued that given Pfizer has been in Sandwich for 60 years, their staff and the community need longer than just 90 days of consultation to readjust.
During the debate, Laura asked the Minister for Science to:
- Encourage Pfizer to defer redundancies to enable solutions for the site to develop;
- Back the establishment of a Life Science Centre in Sandwich;
- Offer economic incentives to support a Life Science Centre in its early years through special tax credits for R&D;
- Promote an Enterprise Zone on the site and stretching along the Manston corridor;
- Engage in cross-departmental discussions to improve East Kent’s transport links to make the site more accessible and attractive for investors.
The Science Minister addressed the need for Pfizer to defer redundancies: “I understand that going through the process in the tight time scale of 90 days is very demanding. That is one of the reasons why we in the Government have tried to keep ahead of events and move with all necessary speed. I will take up with Pfizer the points that my hon. Friend made about the need to give sufficient time for such options to be properly explored.”
The Science Minister, said: “If we put together our commitment to the local community, our willingness to focus on the specific issues that my hon. Friend the Member for South Thanet raised – transport, employment, redundancy arrangements and enterprise zones – and our commitment to life sciences as an important British strength where we can do better and must not settle for decline and contraction.”
Following the debate, Laura said: “There is a real understanding within government that East Kent can no longer be left at the end of the line. Following Pfizer’s decision to leave Sandwich, it is vital that concrete support is provided by government to secure investment and encourage new business start-ups on the site. To enable this, we need time. I am therefore pleased that the Minister will work with me to encourage Pfizer to defer redundancies to enable solutions to emerge.”
Sandys' Adjournment Debate: Pfizer 60 years in Sandwich, Yet only 90 days consultation
7th March, 2011
In her adjournment debate today, Laura Sandys MP will call for the Government to play a leading role in discussions with Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, which announced its withdrawal from Sandwich on 1st February, 2011.
Laura will argue that whilst Pfizer has been in Sandwich for 60 years, they have given their staff and the community just 90 days of consultation to readjust. While commending the Sandwich Management team at Pfizer, she will ask the Government to push Pfizer to defer redundancies to enable staff to explore the possibility of business start-ups, to allow for potential investors to come forward and to mitigate the impacts of closure on East Kent.
Laura will ask the Minister for Science, David Willetts MP, to:
- Back the establishment of a Life Science Centre on the current site at Sandwich – as a national resource not just for the local East Kent economy;
- Offer incentives to support a Life Science Centre in its early years through special tax credits for R&D that reach beyond the current criteria;
- Promote a Life Science Centre which would be at the heart of a wider Research, Technology and Innovation Zone covering the entirety of the site and along the corridor to Manston airport;
- Promote an Enterprise Zone which would attract the benefits outlined by the Chancellor in his speech in Cardiff. The zone would benefit from business incentives, tax breaks, investment stimulus and access to Enterprise funds;
- Engage in cross-departmental discussions to improve East Kent’s transport links. At present, it takes 2 hours by train to travel 70 miles from London. Per mile, Sandwich to London is the slowest rail route in the country. Improving transport links would make the site more accessible and more attractive for investors.
Select Committee to Examine Evidence on Pfizer’s Closure in East Kent
28th February 2011
Today, Pfizer will appear before the Science and Technology Select Committee during an oral evidence session which will examine the company’s decision to close its research and development facility in Sandwich.
Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet and Sandwich, and other East Kent MPs have submitted written evidence to the enquiry.
Laura said: “I really welcome the select committee’s concerns over the impact of Pfizer’s closure on East Kent and the wider pharmaceutical industry. The enquiry recognises not just the importance of the Pfizer site locally but also its national prominence. We have provided written evidence to the enquiry outlining our concerns over Pfizer’s handling of the announcement and today hope that the company shows its commitment to securing a future for the state of the art site and its world class staff.”
Today, the enquiry will receive evidence from the following speakers:
- Dr Richard Barker, Director General, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
- Royal Society of Chemistry
- Dr Olivier Brandicourt, President and General Manager of Pfizer’s Primary Care Business Unit
- Dr Rod MacKenzie, Senior Vice President and Head of Worldwide Research for PharmaTherapeutics Research and Development
- Dr Ruth McKernan, Senior Vice President and Site Head, Sandwich, and Chief Scientific Officer for Pfizer Regenerative Medicine
- Richard Blackburn, Managing Director, Pfizer UK.
This Wednesday, the enquiry will receive evidence from the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science
The oral evidence will be publically available on the Science and Technology Select Committee’s website from Tuesday 1st March.
Minister Assures Sandys That Pfizer Site Has An Active Future Ahead
20th February 2011
On Thursday in Parliament, Laura Sandys MP gained the assurance of the Minister for Science and Research, David Willetts MP, that the Pfizer site would have an “active” and “great future.”
Having asked the Minister what his vision was for the future of the site and all those it employed, Willetts confirmed that although the future closure posed a “very serious challenge” the Department was doing its “very best to tackle it.” He suggested that the site could potentially be developed and used by multiple small research businesses. This would enable the site to benefit from the new trend emerging in the pharmaceutical sector – outsourcing to smaller research and development companies.
Following the question, Laura said: “We are fortunate to have the support, commitment and resources from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Minister joined me at the Pfizer site in Sandwich for a meeting with staff and officials last week and is really pushing to ensure that we in East Kent remain a world renowned centre for research.”
“The Economic Taskforce - formed to secure investment and attract businesses to the site - met for the second time on Wednesday. Within the next 30 days, we have committed to produce a comprehensive report on all the possible options for the site. All the important steps have been taken and with the support of East Kent MPs, I am committed to ensuring that the jobs stay in the local area and that we maximise the huge potential of what is a state of the art site.”
Employees and Contractors from Pfizer
13th February 2011
Yesterday all the local MPs Roger Gale, Charlie Elphicke, Julian Brazier and myself met with staff and contractors in Sandwich. This was an extremely useful meeting, very good to be able to discuss with employees and contractors the issues that they face and to be able to update them on the work that is being done to secure their jobs into the future.
We will be holding a similar event in the next few weeks to ensure that staff and contractors know what is happening and can raise concerns that they have for their personal future or for the community as a whole. Please do pass this to anyone who is a Pfizer employee or who works on the site so that they can be in touch with us by email – email@example.com or see notices on www.telllaura.org.uk
What is crucial is that we have a united team working together to find a secure and sustainable future for the site and to retain this important employment in East Kent and with the determination of the local East Kent MPs and the support from government we are already taking some important steps to address these challenges.
We have been given the resources of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills with the personal attention of the Minister David Willetts and the Secretary of State Vince Cable, who have established a taskforce, chaired by Paul Carter, to secure investment for the site and stabilise local jobs and skills. As part of that Taskforce I am totally focused on ensuing that the jobs stay in East Kent, that the world class site is used to its potential and that other parts of the site are regenerated to ensure a long term future for research and other activities in East Kent.
Earlier in the week, the Minister for Science joined me for a meeting with Pfizer. The company knows that they have an important commitment to the community, to their staff and to the future of the site. But it is ultimately the quality of the staff that matter, the skills that we are so proud of, the role that each of our constituents play in the wider community and their families who attend our schools and use our high streets. I urge existing Pfizer staff to wait for some of these exciting new developments to come to fruition before dusting off their CVs. These last few long days have shown me that our staff and the site are of importance to more than just the local community – we have a national asset.
Local MPs To Hold Meeting for Pfizer Employees and Contractors
9th February, 2011
On Saturday 12th February, 1 – 3pm at The Guildhall, Sandwich, Laura Sandys MP, Roger Gale MP, Charlie Elphicke MP and Julian Brazier MP will hold a surgery session for Pfizer employees and contractors. All staff are most welcome to attend.
Staff will have an opportunity to raise issues confidentially with their constituency MP. This will be held on a first come first serve basis. All attendees will be required to show their Pfizer staff pass in order to gain admission.
Pfizer Closure – Next Steps
6th February, 2011
It is a very difficult period for all of us in East Kent not least those who are directly employed by Pfizer and the many contractors who work on the site.
As you may have heard in response to a question that I asked in Parliament, David Cameron has committed to put all his and the Government’s efforts into securing the future for the site and those who work there. The Secretary of State for Business and the Minister of State for Science are fully engaged in working on solutions and your local MPs are at the forefront of these efforts.
Starting tomorrow with the visit of David Willetts Minister of State for Science to the Pfizer site, there will be a series of meetings both in Sandwich and in London this week to take forward the several options that exist, and we will all be working with Pfizer, the staff and the local communities to ensure that all ideas and possibilities are examined.
Your local MPs - Roger Gale (North Thanet), Charlie Elphicke (Dover and Deal) and myself will be holding a meeting for employees and contractors on Saturday to discuss the issues that we all face. Please do email me if you are an employee or contractor on the site for further details – or pass this onto anyone you know who works at Pfizer.
While this has been a devastating blow to East Kent I have never seen such political commitment from the Prime Minister and throughout all parts of Government to address a company closure.
For my part as the Local Member of Parliament there is not a waking hour that I am not spending focused on securing a long term future for the thousands of local people who are reliant on the site.
Sandys Chairs Meeting to Plan for Re-Development of Pfizer Site
3rd February 2011
The Minister for Science and Research, David Willetts, and Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, yesterday committed to unite with local MPs and council leaders to attract investment to the Pfizer site in Sandwich.
Following the meeting, Laura said: “For our first steps, we could not have had a day that had more political will and impact. We raised the specific challenges of East Kent and highlighted the importance of ensuring the site is put to productive economic use. Top of the agenda will be ensuring that Pfizer’s valuable staff are given new employment opportunities.”
“The Minister has agreed to visit the site in Sandwich and will play a key role in working with Pfizer to attract new industries and businesses to the facility. Within 24 hours, a taskforce has already been set-up to develop an innovative proposition for the site and the many skills in the local area. We will put all our energies into securing investment. The Government is on our side – David Cameron confirmed this in Prime Ministers Questions and the Ministers reaffirmed this later today. This is not the end for the site in Sandwich.”
Cameron: Government Will Do All It Can for Sandwich
2nd February 2011
Today the Prime Minister assured Laura Sandys in Prime Ministers Question Time that the Government is going to do everything it can to support the site at Pfizer. Cameron has spoken to Pfizer personally and there are a range of plans and proposals that are being pursued to secure a future for the site and for the employees. The Prime Minister paid tribute to the “brilliant employees doing great work” and committed the Government to doing everything that it can to get new investment into Sandwich.
“While this is an uncertain time for us all in East Kent, I have been very impressed by the action that Ministers and the Prime minister has taken over the last 24 hours. There are a range of options that we need to consider and Pfizer itself is at the heart of working to identify a future of the site.”
“I have had commitments from the Minister of State, David Willets, that Ministers will promote this state of the art site in Sandwich and the Minister will be leading a Taskforce to help attract investment and encourage other companies to take advantage of the site.”
TV coverage can be found here.
Sandys Devastated by Pfizer’s Decision to Leave Sandwich
1st February 2011
Commenting on Pfizer’s announcement, Laura said today: “This is a body blow to East Kent. I am particularly concerned for all those employees at Sandwich Pfizer and small businesses that are associated with the company and will do all I can to support them through this difficult time. I am arranging a meeting with the senior team at Pfizer and have had commitment that they will play an active part in supporting the local community over the next 24 months.”
"Having spoken to the Business and Research and Development Minister David Willets and with Pfizer, I am pleased that we are establishing a taskforce with Ministers, Kent County Council and Pfizer to put together a dynamic transitional plan to attract new businesses to the Sandwich site. We have 24 months to put in place a programme of re-investment and to ensure that this prime location becomes the home of new businesses into the future. "
“We are committed to marketing the huge strategic benefits of the facility. It is a purpose built Research and Development facility with impressive buildings, superb surrounding infrastructure, and close proximity to Europe.
In addition we have some superb expertise and skills in Sandwich that are attractive to any investor considering taking advantage of the facility in Sandwich. With some of the highest calibre research scientists in the country positioned on the edge of England’s best preserved medieval town, I am hopeful that the facility will be put to productive economic use in the near future.”