A COUNCIL leader is heading for talks with Glaxo bosses to find out how they plan to help Ulverston after the "economic blow" of 191 redundancies.

South Lakeland District Council leader Giles Archibald wants GSK to help restore Ulverston's "economic vitality" after last week’s bombshell announcement.

Speaking at a meeting of SLDC in Kendal on Wednesday, Mr Archibald revealed that GSK made several "commitments" to Ulverston at a meeting involving MPs and trade union representatives.

"GSK has made several offers to work with us in terms of skills training and various other ways they can help restore the economic vitality of the town. We are keen to pursue that with the company and Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership," said Mr Archibald (Lib Dem, Kendal Town) who will meet the company in November for further talks.

He said he had also received assurances that GSK had no plans to sell its oral antibiotics division at the North Lonsdale Road plant.

However, there is likely to be local scepticism about GSK’s long-term commitment to Ulverston after it pulled the rug in July 2017 on a long-hailed £350 million "bio-pharm" plant which had promised 250 top jobs.

Last week, GSK said it plans to axe its sterile injectibles unit - which will reduce its workforce down to around 150 in a town where it once employed thousands.

Mr Archibald added that company bosses are "committed" to a deal with SLDC to stump up £2 million towards a new leisure centre for Ulverston.

Ian Stewart (Lib Dem, Arnside and Milnthorpe) pointed out that the council’s finances could also take a hit as GSK was a "significant contributor" to business rates.

Mr Stewart asked: "Is there any indication if the downsizing of the plant will result in GSK doing what Sellafield did a few years ago, and go for a re-evaluation of their business rates? If so, has there been any estimate of what the financial implications are?

"When Sellafield asked for a re-evaluation, Copeland Borough Council had not made provision and faced a significant multi-million pound hit. I am sure that would not be the case here but there needs to be some thought about what the potential implications are for the council should GSK request to revalue the site."