LOCAL politicians have welcomed GSK’s announcement as an expression of the company’s confidence in the Montrose factory, its staff and the place it holds in its manufacturing network.
MP Mike Weir said: “This investment is of immense importance to the town of Montrose and the wider economy of Angus. Coming so soon after the announcement of a grant from the Scottish Government it shows that there is a bright future for such high end manufacturing in our local economy.
“GSK continues to be a major employer in Angus and I hope that the new investment will lead to new high value jobs within our local economy.”
While he expressed disappointment at the decision to locate the new biopharmaceutical factory in Cumbria instead of Montrose, Mr Weir added that the investment represents an assurance of the factory’s long-term future.
He said: “Everyone involved from the Scottish Government and Angus Council to local representatives made strenuous efforts to persuade the company that Montrose was the best site but it was always known that the size of the site was a problem and that appears to have been one of the deciding factors in favour of the Cumbria site.
“The company’s investment between Montrose and Irvine shows that it plans a long-term future for its Scottish operations. GSK joins a long line of international companies showing their faith in Scotland’s future with substantial investment.”
Angus North & Mearns MSP Nigel Don also said the creation of up to 60 jobs will be “a very significant boost” to the local economy.
He said: “The investment confirms that GSK’s roots in this area are strong and I have no doubt everyone in Montrose will welcome this vote of confidence in the workforce and the quality of life in this area.”
Local councillor David May, Angus Council’s economic development spokesman, also expressed disappointment that the new manufacturing facility will be built in Cumbria.
He said: “Although it is disappointing to hear that the biopharm project went to Cumbria, the very fact that Montrose was one of the four sites being considered for this is a reflection of the hard work and productivity by the staff there.
“It’s fantastic news to hear that GSK expect to increase their employee numbers in Montrose by 20 per cent in the years to come. So not only is there an assurance of existing staffing levels it also means more jobs coming to the town which is a real boost for other local businesses.
“I am aware that the Economic Development staff in Angus Council as well as Scottish Enterprise have all played their part in working with GSK in this.”
Angus Council finance convener Councillor Mark Salmond said the £50 million investment is “reassuring”.
He said: “Of course, it’s disappointing that the Montrose site did not win the big prize but it is very reassuring for the future of the Montrose factory that Glaxo have announced significant investment will be coming to the Montrose site for new products.
“This will secure the existing staffing levels and I have no doubt it will create extra jobs and boost the Montrose economy.”
As a former GSK employee, Councillor Paul Valentine said he was glad that the local factory is still in line for major investment.
He said: “I was employed there until September 2003 when it looked as if the site was to close within two years, and to see the re-emergence of the factory is testament to the work being done there and to the skill of the workforce that’s still being employed.
“I’m pleased to see that Montrose is still in the minds of the GSK board when it comes to major investment.”