John Swinney in bid to preserve life science jobs

0
543


Finance Secretary John Swinney met with senior managers at Merck MSD in Newhouse today to explore options to protect and sustain employment in the area.

The meeting came in response to the pharmaceutical company’s proposals to phase out operations at its Newhouse site in Lanarkshire as part of a global restructuring programme, a move that could see most staff lose their jobs by the end of this year.


Finance Secretary John Swinney met with senior managers at Merck MSD in Newhouse today to explore options to protect and sustain employment in the area.

The meeting came in response to the pharmaceutical company’s proposals to phase out operations at its Newhouse site in Lanarkshire as part of a global restructuring programme, a move that could see most staff lose their jobs by the end of this year.

Mr Swinney said:
“The plans announced by MSD include the proposal that their site at Newhouse will close by the end of 2010. This is extremely disappointing and I am very concerned for MSD’s employees in Newhouse, their families and the wider community, for whom this will be an anxious time.

“I made absolutely clear at today’s meeting that the Scottish Government will do all we can to minimise the impact of this proposal and protect these local, highly skilled jobs.

“During the meeting I agreed the Scottish Government will work with MSD to develop options with a view to trying to secure an alternative sustainable future for the site and its highly skilled workforce.”

The Finance Secretary confirmed that the Scottish Government were committed to preserving the highly skilled jobs and were looking at options aimed at saving the site.  Mr Swinney also explained that Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise were now involved.

Mr Swinney added:
“The options we are exploring include supporting MSD management to develop a global marketing strategy to promote the Newhouse site capabilities to potentially interested third parties, particularly global pharmaceutical organisations.

“Officials at Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise have formed a project team with MSD management at Newhouse to take forward the development of these options as a matter of urgency.

“This is in line with the Scottish Government’s determined efforts to support Scotland’s key life sciences industry – and its global reputation for excellence – in whatever ways we can.

“For example we recently announced a £24 million investment in a bio-incubator, within the Edinburgh BioQuarter, to help build a world class centre for the life sciences. We are investing £15 million in the Scottish Academic Health Sciences Collaboration, creating a platform for excellence in clinical research and generating some 250 research jobs in Scotland. And we are supporting the growth of young life sciences companies in Scotland through various forms of financing. In the past year Scottish Enterprise’s equity investment schemes have invested £7.7 million in companies in the life science sector.

Mr Swinney also promised to offer personal help to people worried about possible redundancy and said:
“For anyone concerned about their job at MSD, if appropriate we will – through Skills Development Scotland – coordinate local response teams under the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative, to provide tailored help and support.”