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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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Prime Minister David Cameron visits Ulverston

THE Prime Minister had a simple message for workers celebrating a factory expansion: “You are saving people’s lives”.

David Cameron visited the GlaxoSmithKline site in Ulverston just hours after the company announced that a £350m biopharmaceutical facility will be built at the site.

Mr Cameron said he was in South Cumbria to share in the celebrations after Glaxo revealed plans to invest in Ulverston.

He said: “It is tremendously exciting. This is a really big investment of up to half a billion pounds and a thousand jobs.

“It’s a boost which is being carried out due to a confidence in the workforce both here in Ulverston and also in Scotland.”

Mr Cameron, who travelled to Ulverston by car following a trip to Bradford, went on a tour of Glaxo’s site and spoke to apprentices about the work they carry out at the plant.

In a speech to workers, Mr Cameron said the investment would help Britain compete against other economies.

He said: “What strikes me about this is that it is about so much more than just one company.

“Because if you think about the challenges we face as a country, and indeed the challenges we face in the world, this announcement by GSK speaks to so many of those challenges.

“We have a massive challenge in Britain about how we can re-balance our economy.”

He praised the company for its graduate scheme, and said this would help Britain to increase manufacturing output.

He said: “We still have some huge battles to fight in our own country and also round the world in tackling the great killer diseases.

“This company has done extraordinary things in the fight against cancer and in helping people manage in very, very difficult conditions.

“The fact is you’re not only doing this in Britain, but creating drugs that are capable of helping our world.”

And the Prime Minister told the Evening Mail that South Cumbria needs to see more growth and jobs.

He said: “It is obviously of great benefit to an area of the country which I always enjoy visiting, and it is an area which needs growth and jobs.

“In this area there are some important employers such as BAE Systems and Sellafield, and it is great to see a company like GSK extend.”

Greig Rooney, site director for the Ulverston plant, said the performance of the site’s workers had been key to securing the investment.

He said: “I think for us in Ulverston, we have been on a journey.

“We had a peak of 2,000 jobs about 10 years ago, to where we are at now at 245 staff but throughout that time we have seen that this year we have made more products than we have ever made before in the plant’s 65-year history.”

He said that the highly-skilled staff, the quality of the products and the plant’s safety record had helped in bringing at least 350 jobs and £350m to the area. Mr Rooney added that planning for the new facility would begin in the next few weeks.

It is hoped that construction will begin at the site in 2015, with the work scheduled to take around six years due to high safety standards and the amount of training staff will require.

Richard Ellwood, utility manager, has been working at the plant for 41 years and said workers were delighted at the news.

He said: “It is fantastic because if you’d asked me three years ago about what the future of this site was, I would have said probably a 70 per cent chance of closure.

“That certainly isn’t the case now, it’s only going to grow in terms of the area.

“I heard the news this morning when I was on my own but coming in you could see a lot of smiles on a lot of faces.”

Have your say

Jobs for Ulverston must be welcome but will these posts be offered to the people losing their sheltered employment at Barrow Remploy when, or if, the factory is closed?

Posted by Margie Arts on 27 March 2012 at 12:31

I would'nt bother applying for any of these jobs because they are probably spoken for.

Posted by Jon Wakefield on 24 March 2012 at 13:09

View all 18 comments on this article

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