Pfizer Jobs Latest

8 February 2011, 13:24 | Updated: 16 February 2011, 15:24

The Science Minister says he's "absolutely committed" to working with Pfizer to help the thousands affected by the closure of its centre in Sandwich.

David Willets visited the site on Monday and told workers he'll "try to ensure a really valuable and prosperous future for all the activities" there.

Pfizer announced last week it was pulling out of the site, with the loss of 2,400 jobs.

At question time last Wednesday the Prime Minister said the Government ``will do everything it can'' following the move by the US firm to close its research and development (R&D) facility at Sandwich.

Mr Cameron denied the closure was ``because of some UK-based issue'', insisting it was due to Pfizer pulling out of whole areas of research.

Medical experts have branded the closure ``devastating'' for British science, coming as the latest in a series of UK R&D job cuts as the industry moves to slash costs.

The Royal Society of Chemistry said the science sector was witnessing the ``haemorrhaging of the lifeblood of the British pharmaceuticals industry''.

Shadow business secretary John Denham said the move was ``hugely worrying'' and trade union Unite reacted with dismay at the decision, which it said will see the withdrawal of Sandwich's biggest employer.

At Prime Minister's question time, Mr Cameron was pressed on the issue by Tory Laura Sandys, whose South Thanet constituency is home to the facility.

She asked: ``Will you assure me and my colleagues from east Kent that the Government will do everything it can to secure the site, secure the high-skilled employees and the local economy in east Kent?''

Mr Cameron said: ``It is depressing news, it is bad news, Pfizer's decision.''

He added: ``I spoke to them this morning. There is no doubt that the decision is being taken not because of some UK-based issue, but because the company has decided to exit some whole areas of endeavour like allergies and respiratory diseases.

``The company is keeping all the options open in terms of what should happen to the site, including getting partner organisations to continue to work there and to get other companies to come in.

``The fact is it is a state of the art site and it has brilliant employees doing great work there. The Government will do everything it can... to try and make sure that we make the best of what yes is a depressing piece of news.''

Hear the company statement