By a Newsnet reporter
Sir Andrew Witty, the chief executive of Britain’s biggest drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has today given the lie to claims made by UK ministers of business uncertainty in Scotland, saying that the company remains confident in Scotland’s future. Sir Andrew added that the company’s investment in Scotland proves “actions speak louder than words”.
The company has announced a major new investment in Scotland, its plants in Irvine and Montrose will recieve an investment of £100m. The plant in Irvine will increase its production of antibiotics to keep pace with growing demand for the drugs in emerging markets. Part of the investment will go towards the development of respiratory medicines and vaccines in Montrose and increasing the firm’s move to sustainable green energy production. It is understood that the investment will create up to 200 new jobs at the company’s Scottish sites.
GlaxoSmithKline also announced the construction of a new plant at Ulverston in Cumbria as part of a £500m UK-wide investment programme.
First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed the investment plans, saying: “The Scottish Government and our enterprise agencies are doing all we can to secure new jobs and investment to Scotland. GlaxoSmithKline’s announcement to create new jobs at their Montrose and Irvine operations demonstrates this international company’s commitment to working in Scotland.
“The key aspect for Montrose is the moving of vaccine production to Angus and for Irvine it will mean they become the centre of excellence for the production of the most widely used antibiotic in the world. Both plants will have considerable investment in renewable energy, which will help secure their future.
“The quality and skills of the local workforces in Montrose and Irvine have played an important part in the company’s decision to expand their operations. This new investment reinforces Scotland’s global reputation for research excellence and the competitiveness of our business environment. It also highlights Scotland’s international profile in life sciences.
“Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International have worked closely with the company on their growth plans and I am delighted that this leading international pharmaceutical manufacturer firm is investing further in its Scottish manufacturing sites.”
Finance secretary John Swinney echoed the First Minister’s comments and added:
“Today’s very welcome announcements build on Scotland’s success in attracting inward investment.
“Ernst & Young’s UK attractiveness survey shows a 35 percent increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects in Scotland compared to 2010, with 69 projects creating over 4000 new jobs.
“Scotland is now attracting FDI jobs at levels not seen since the start of the global recession and is outperforming both the rest of the UK and the rest of Europe.
“This record of success is testament both to the skills of our workforce and to this Government’s commitment to build in Scotland the most competitive business environment anywhere in the UK.”
Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland on Thursday morning, Sir Andrew made it clear that the company’s decision to make a £100 million investment in its two sites at Montrose and Irvine was unaffected by the plans for an independence referendum in autumn 2014.
Sir Andrew said: “Obviously the very big investment we’re making in Montrose and Irvine signals our confidence in the future of Scotland. What we’ve done speaks louder than words.”
SNP MSP Margaret Burgess, whose constituency Cunninghame South covers the GSK Irvine site, said:
“I welcome today’s important investment by GSK in Scotland, and I also warmly welcome Sir Andrew Witty’s comments when he makes clear his company’s decision on where to invest signals their ‘confidence in the future of Scotland’.
“That is because all of the claims to the contrary regarding business investment and the independence referendum are nothing but blatant scaremongering by the anti-independence parties.
“It is extremely encouraging to see yet more investment in Scotland, not only in the Montrose site but also in Irvine.
“GlaxoSmithKline is another in a long line of companies investing in our country, including Taqa, Avaloq, FMC Technologies, Aker, Ineos and PetroChina, Dell, Gamesa, BNY Mellon, State Street, Amazon, Mitsubishi Powers Systems and Hewlett-Packard.”