Cambridge: AstraZeneca Move

Pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca is going to create a new £330 million research and development centre in Cambridge as part of a large restructure.

The investment in Cambridge will mean around 1,600 jobs currently located at the firm's Alderley Park site in Cheshire will be relocated to the city.

Around 700 jobs at the company's eight sites across the country are also going to be cut under the plans.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of AstraZeneca, said: "The changes we are proposing represent an exciting and important opportunity to put science at the heart of everything we do because our long-term success depends on improving R&D productivity and achieving scientific leadership. 

This is a major investment in the future of this company that will enable us to accelerate innovation by improving collaboration, reducing complexity and speeding up decision-making. 

The strategic centres will also allow us to tap into important bioscience hotspots, providing more of our people with easy access to leading-edge academic and industry networks, scientific talent and valuable partnering opportunities.'' 

However the Unite Union is highly critical of the move and the impact it will have in the north west of the country.

Unite national officer Linda McCulloch said: "AstraZeneca's decision to relocate over a thousand jobs to Cambridge is a massive blow for the North West.

The company is creating a skills crisis for the local economy. 

After 40 years of success and hundreds of millions of pounds of investment, we are at a loss as to why AstraZeneca is now pulling out of Alderley Park. 

The region desperately needs this highly-skilled workforce - they make a huge contribution to the economy and to the community. 

Staff will be shell-shocked by this announcement. 

Skilled scientific jobs are in short supply and there are many families based around Alderley Park with deep roots in the community.

It is going to be a real struggle to relocate families hundreds of miles away to Cambridge."

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