Thanet Councils response to the news set out below, I have spoken to KCC and have asked if they could let me have the reaction of Kent Council since this is a major blow to the region which they have in the form of a Statement from Paul Carter, Kent Council Leader
Thanet Council Pfizer Closure response
News of Pfizer’s decision to cease operations at its Sandwich site has come as a huge blow. Leader of the Council, Cllr Bob Bayford said “This news is an enormous setback for Thanet and the East Kent economy as a whole. Many of the staff who work there live in Thanet, so the unexpected closure of such an important contributor to the East Kent economy is especially worrying, particularly at a time when both the national and local economy face equally daunting challenges.
Thanet’s unemployment level is already the highest in the South East so this is going to hit us particularly hard, at a time when the economic recovery is still very fragile.
We will be seeking an urgent ministerial meeting with our local MPs to see what action the government can take to mitigate the job losses. We call on the government to intervene and provide tangible opportunities to attract business investment into East Kent to replace the jobs lost. We will be redoubling our efforts to attract businesses and investment into Thanet.
We will also be working closely with our neighbouring councils and with the county council to mitigate the impact of Pfizer’s closure on surrounding businesses and the local economy.”
KCC Leader Paul Carter's Statement
Statement from Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council.
“The closure of Pfizer at Sandwich is a major blow to East Kent. Many of Pfizer’s workforce live in the area and are among the most highly skilled workers in Kent. This will also have a massive impact on local people and the local economy that support Pfizer as a business.
“I have now been asked by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to lead a task force in partnership with Pfizer and the Local Enterprise Partnership to do everything we can to mitigate the impact of this decision and continue with our ambitious plans for East Kent.
“I will also be working closely with local MPs such as Laura Sandys, Charlie Elphicke and the leaders of Dover and Thanet District Councils to look at innovative solutions to minimise the impact on the communities of East Kent, as well as the broader Kent economy.”
Pfizers Press release in full
Pfizer Announces PROPOSALS TO EXIT Sandwich SITE AS PART OF acceleration of GLOBAL r&d strategy
Sandwich, UK 1st February 2011: Pfizer Inc. has today announced its intention to exit its research site at Sandwich in Kent. This decision is part of a global programme of changes announced today to accelerate Pfizer’s long term research and development (R&D) strategy to create a more focused and sustainable R&D engine for innovation. As part of this global strategy Pfizer is planning to exit certain therapeutic areas, including Allergy & Respiratory, which is based at Sandwich.
The number of Pfizer colleagues currently employed at our Sandwich site is approximately 2400. Over the next 18-24 months a majority of these positions will be redundant, but we hope to transfer several hundred positions to other Pfizer sites or to external partners, subject to employee consultation and other legal requirements.
Given the talented and strong workforce and the excellent facilities at Sandwich, Pfizer is working actively to find partnership opportunities which can utilise the facilities and buildings, in an effort to preserve jobs and activity on the site.
During this period, Pfizer’s priority is to support colleagues affected by this decision. Every effort will be made to mitigate the impact on Pfizer colleagues and the local community. The company will work closely with national and local agencies as this process moves forward.
A new Pain and Sensory Disorders Unit will be based in Cambridge, UK drawing on some assets from the Regenerative Medicines Unit.
In future there will be approximately 3,000 positions across Pfizer’s entire business in the UK.
Dr Ruth McKernan, Senior Vice President and Site Head at Sandwich said: “It is with a deep sense of sadness that we announce our proposal to exit our site in Sandwich, Kent. It has played an important role in the discovery and development of medicines and has brought many life-saving treatments to patients.
“Sandwich has an extremely talented workforce with a proud and rich history in science research and development. This decision is no reflection on the site, the workforce or the operating environment in the UK. We recognise that this is a difficult time for colleagues and the community and our priority now, and over the coming weeks and months, is to support our people through this process.
“It is hoped that we can retain this proud R&D heritage through strategic partnerships in the future.”